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Sir deals with an internal conflict relating to his race for most of the book before...

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qu950827 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 5, 2013 at 4:46 PM via web

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Sir deals with an internal conflict relating to his race for most of the book before finally challenging the limitations placed on him by society.  Does he ever evolve into a character who challenges society’s notions about race in a non-violent way?  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM (Answer #1)

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The original question had to be edited.  I think that Braithwaite does not advocate anything outside of independence in thought and action out of self- confidence in order to challenge preconceived notions about society.  One of the epiphanies that Braithwaite experiences is that his students wish to be seen as "real people," as opposed to the caricatured notions of juveniles through which other adults see them.  For Braithwaite, their struggles for validation of voice are similar to his own struggle for racial acceptance.  He stresses to them that they can change the world through advocacy of thought and reflection, and not through violence.  Part of the reason that he does not challenge society's notions about race in a  violent way is because he would be contradicting the lessons he seeks to teach to his students.  The manner of change is not a violent one.  While he might have been provoked at different points, Braithwaite understands that there has to be a transparency in both message and messenger.  He recognizes that his credibility with a message to his students is dependent on his credibility with them.  In this, Braithwaite does not advocate violence because it would go against the fundamental message of change and empowerment that he is seeking to impart in his students.

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