How is the poem "We Wear the Mask" still relevant today?

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The answer to the question is that while Paul Laurence Dunbar's moving lyric poem reflects the conditions of Jim Crow (1877-1950s) under which Dunbar and others of his race were forced to live, its message is by no means outdated. Sadly, there is still racial bias, a bias that at times often extends to other races and social groups. There is religious bias and social bias, as well. Indeed, the message of this poem, especially that in the first stanza, extends beyond color and time as it expresses the need that many feel for social dissembling.

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While Paul Laurence Dunbar's moving lyric poem reflects the conditions of Jim Crow (1877-1950s) under which Dunbar and others of his race were forced to live, its message is by no means outdated. Sadly, there is still racial bias, a bias that at times often extends to other races and social groups. There is religious bias and social bias, as well. Indeed, the message of this poem, especially that in the first stanza, extends beyond color and time as it expresses the need that many feel for social dissembling. 

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

This first verse, therefore, can apply to the different social disguises that people must wear. Often people who do not share the same religious beliefs, political beliefs, or personal beliefs are met with anger, hatred, job-threatening situations, or sometimes even life-threatening situations. So, these people must pretend that they adhere to the conventional wisdom of those around them, or they may suffer adverse consequences. 

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