Theodore Taylor's novel, The Cay, touches on several themes, including those of friendship and racism as you mentioned in your question. Phillip learns to overcome his own racist outlook through the friendship he develops with Timothy, the West Indian sailor who saves his life on several occasions. Phillip has inherited his racist outlook from his mother, a native of Virginia. However, through Timothy's good deeds, loving companionship and fatherly advice, Phillip--though blind--comes to see that color does not always matter. Timothy, too, is able to look past the young boy's condescending manner, realizing that his immaturity is the impetus behind his feelings. In the end, Phillip comes to love Timothy, and when he returns to his home, he finds that he wants to spend more time with the local native populace in the hope of better understanding them--and perhaps to meet some of Timothy's old acquaintances. The novel also gives a glimpse into West Indian life during World War II, a subject neglected in modern literature.