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Big Black Good Man by Richard Wright

            In Richard Wright's short story "Big Black Good Man," the main character, Olaf, describes his worldly life experiences and his acceptance of all cultures. When Jim, the big, black sailor, enters the story, it initiated Olaf's unexpected thoughts and feelings towards him, causing contradictions between what Olaf thinks and reality. The passage foretells the contradictions and irony that persist throughout the story, revealing Olaf's narrow-minded prejudice and racism, despite his claims to be otherwise.
             Olaf claims to have "traveled all over the world" and interacted with diverse people throughout his travels (Wright, 184). He insists that he is neither prejudice nor racist and open to all cultures. However, Olaf's description of Jim as a "black man" that is inhuman, and that he is "too big, too black, too loud, too direct and probably too violent" show his true attitude towards black men (Wright, 185). These are stereotypical comments about black people, contradicting his claim to be neither racist nor prejudice. He is categorizing Jim, and judging him simply by his size and the color of his skin.
             To Olaf, Jim is a "huge black thing" who didn't seem human, an "animalistic apparition he compares to objects" and often referred to as "it" (West, 344). On multiple occasions, Olaf refers to Jim as a "black giant," a "black bastard" and a "black beast," which are all inhuman, negative creatures (Wright, 188). Referring to someone as "it" instead of his name suggests they are of insignificance and it is a degrading remark. It strips the person's right to their individuality and as a human being. Olaf's use of these negative references to Jim, illustrates Olaf's derogatory attitude towards the black race, even though he considers himself as worldly and accepting of diverse cultures.

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