What lesson did Richard's mother teach him when he bought groceries in Black Boy?

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Richard’s mother teaches him through experience how to stand up for himself. She sends him out to buy groceries, but he is accosted by a gang of boys who beat him and steal his money. Upon returning home for refuge, Richard expects his mother to be sympathetic, or at least to shelter him. Instead, she demands that he get over his fear and return to the store. Her instructions to just ignore the boys backfires, and Richard is beaten and robbed a second time.

Now, his mother is determined to teach him to fight. She gives him more money and a stick. “Don’t you come into this house until you’ve gotten those groceries,” she warns Richard. He knows if he returns home empty-handed again, she will beat him. He also knows the boys are waiting for him. Richard decides that it is better to try to defend himself and perhaps have some control over what happens to him. He is “so full of fear that I could scarcely breathe,” but he faces the bullies. He fights them off with the stick, and...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 657 words.)

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