Racism and stereo types were a big part in The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian by: Sherman Alexie. A book, about an American-Indian boy living on a reservation where he doesn’t totally fit in, because of his physical condition. This boy Junior, decided to switch schools outside the reservation, where he now didn’t fit in because of his race. Junior experiences racism throughout the novel, but especially mostly at Rearden. Junior switched schools, from the school on the reservation to, Rearden. Rearden was a white school 22 miles away from the reservation.
There are many examples of racism Junior experienced in The Absolute True Diary Of A Part Time Indian. Starting off where Junior even enters to school, and people stared shocked. The only other Indian in, or associated with Rearden was their school mascot.
Even stating his name Junior, smirks and laughter filled the classroom. On page 60 the text states:
“They both laughed. Word spread around the room and pretty soon everybody was laughing. They were laughing at my name. I had no idea junior was a weird name. It’s a common name on my rez, on any rez. You walk into a trading post on any rez in the United States and shout, “Hey Junior!” and seventeen guys will turn around. And three women”
The students even observed the way he spoke. Junior saying on page 60
“And yes, I had that stutter and a lisp, but I also had a sing song reservation accent that made everything sound like a bad poem.”
Sadly racism in Rearden doesn’t end for Junior. As he puts it, “a few Rearden boys, the big jocks, who paid special attention to him.” On page 63 there is even a picture of Junior being bullied by these larger boys. Soon after name calling wasn’t enough, and they even decided to use racial slurs and insults.
The students were not the only ones who were racist. The geology teacher, Mr. Dodge was mad and angered at Junior’s shy and modest correction that petrified wood was not wood. Mr. Dodge accused him of lying, and was disrespectful about the reservation. Yet when a smart white kid named Gordy, confirms that Junior is correct he is praised. Mr. Dodge is not the only adult who shows racism in this book, there is also Penelope’s father. Penelope’s father says on page 109,
“she is only dating you because she knows it will piss me off.”
Later he even makes a racist comment on Junior’s skin tone.
Racism was undoubtedly a common theme all throughout The Absolute True Diary Of A Part Time Indian by: Sherman Alexie especially in the scenes located at Rearden. Reading about Junior’s experience can be beneficial to anyone. It teaches you about some racist things, American-Indians have to deal with. How unfair it is to them, and how we need to start to change.