Is Karl Linder racist? What is his message and what are its possible effects?
Not only is Karl Linder a racist, but he has often been compared to the devil. He seems like a kindly, almost cowardly man, yet his ideas go to the very heart of how people should treat each other. He wants to buy out the Youngers simply because they are black and should live with people of "their own kind". He knows nothing else about the Youngers except for the color of their skin. He assumes the worst, that if the Youngers move into his neighborhood, property values will plummet. He also thinks he is being fair and practical and can't image why the Youngers are so upset at his offer. But his offer implies that Blacks are not as good as Whites and therefore should be separated from the rest of the population. That's why Mama and the rest of Walter's family are so upset when Walter even considers taking Linder's money. To them, they would be selling out their heritage and admitting Linder is right. That's why Mama makes Travis stay and watch his father take Linder's money and it's also why Walter rejects the money in the end. He cannot bear to teach his own son to accept Linder's presuppositions. So, in the end, Linder's offer is rejected and Mama says of Walter, "He come into his manhood today."