A Raisin in the Sun

Building upon the many themes within the classic play.

Themes of racism and prejudice within A Raisin in the Sun

Within the story there are countless themes pertaining to classism, poverty, stereotypes, women's rights, education and critiquing of society in general, but one of the most prominent and obvious is the themes of prejudice within the story.
One of the main prejudice oriented themes presented within "A Raisin in the Sun" is the idea that most of the main characters could be far more successful and happy if society hadn't oppressed them for the color of their skin or gender. This factor effects several characters individually but then effects the entirety of the main cast when they're asked to move out of their all white neighborhood. Although this theme is very prevalent in the play it is also an extremely common theme in our mainstream media, most notably music
The previously stated theme has many representations within our media but few are as strange as the song listed below. "Chocolate Rain" by artist Tay Zonday became an internet sensation due to the singers odd voice but the lyrics clearly depict how racial oppression is ignored in our society because we fool ourselves into believing it doesn't exist. In "A Raisin in the Sun" racism happens on many accounts but it's never acknowledged as racist by anyone who isn't a minority just as this song depicts.
Tay Zonday - Chocolate rain LYRICS
Another example from the 80s is "People are Strange" by The Doors. This song talks about how people judge you when you're a minority in society.
the doors people are strange lyrics
The last example of music displaying this theme is "All my Best Friends are Metalheads" by Less Than Jake. This song shows how many people are judged for their appearance or even taste in music by people too paranoid about themselves to get to know anyone.
All My Best Friends Are Metalheads w/ lyrics
Another part of "A Raisin in the Sun" that was very prominent was how it seemed the society made prevalent within it would pick apart any minority or anybody who was different just so they could bring them down. Whether it be about race, gender or age, any difference they had would be used against them. As common as this message is within our culture's music it's predictable that it would be prominent within our other media forms as well. There are countless examples within movies, books, comics and even videogames.

A classic piece of literature often read in public schools, "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee is a prime example of media using a theme surrounding how people oppress anyone who is different. The story surrounds themes of oppression pertaining to race, gender and upbringing.

Another example of this theme within modern media is Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. This story takes the idea that minorities are bad to the extreme by depicting a dystopian world where everyone's capabilities are restricted in order to keep everyone at the same level. Anyone beautiful wears a mask, anyone strong is forced to carry heavy bags, and anyone smart is subject to constant loud noises in order to limit their thoughts. The message within this is how our society demonizes individuality and differences among people.
Discrimination and prejudice have been things that many famous minds have considered to be one of the most primitive things still prevalent within our society. The idea that we judge anyone for being different or for something as shallow as their appearance has been clearly shown to do nothing but keep our society from progressing socially.

"Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible."

-Maya Angelou

"Prejudice is a chain, it can hold you. If you prejudice, you can't move, you keep prejudice for years. Never get nowhere with that."

-Bob Marley

"Prejudice is the child of ignorance."

-William Hazlitt
Although many people view problems such as racism and prejudice as a past issue that is no longer important or applicable it's still a very common and serious issue. The best way to see how it's still an issue is by looking in the news.


In short "A Raisin in the Sun" contains many themes surrounding the idea of racism and prejudice that are still important and applicable today and effect our books, news, quotes and even our news. Our music shows that stereotypes are still keeping people from living their full potential, our literature and media reflect our society's hatred of individuality, famous quotes from some of our greatest minds show this is holding us back, and our news shows us that it's still issue to this day.