What is ironic about Troy's job as a garbage truck driver in Fences?

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In 1985, August Wilson wrote the play Fences, which centers around an African American man named Troy who struggles to provide for his family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Troy was a great baseball player in the Negro Leagues, but he was never able to break the color barrier to make it into Major League Baseball. Troy works as a trash collector. Troy fights for workplace equality and eventually becomes the city’s first African American garbage truck driver. In order to accept this promotion, Troy lies about having a valid driver’s license, which is vital for the position.

There are a number of aspects of irony associated with this. First, from the perspective of being “qualified” for a job, Troy is both a victim and a beneficiary. The color barrier in Major League Baseball was used as a racist and segregationist tactic to keep African Americans out of the most desirable and most lucrative professional league. Troy was qualified for a spot in Major League Baseball in terms of talent, but...

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