In A Raisin in the Sun, why does Mrs. Johnson say that the Youngers are proud?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Mrs. Johnson is a black neighbour of the Youngers who comes and visits them in Act II scene 2, after the Youngers have announced their intentions of moving into a white neighbourhood. She brings news of a black family who was bombed out of a white neighbourhood. However, she calls the Younger's proud after what Mama says about her son, Walter, and how he was not meant to be a servant to another man. It is clear that Mrs. Johnson feels the Youngers are trying to leave their community, and she interprets this as pride:

You sure one proud-acting bunch of coloured folks. Well--I always thinks like Booker T. Washington said that time--"Education has spoiled many a good plow hand"--

For Mrs. Johnson, the Youngers' desire to move on in the world is interpreted as a sign that they feel they are better than other blacks and don't want to associate with them any more. Hansberry here very astutely draws attention to the ways in which African Americans wanting to buy houses in white neighbourhoods not only faced opposition from whites, but also from their own friends and neighbours in their black communities.


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