Was e.e cummings a racist or anti-semitic?

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Self-Portrait, Oil Painting. Cummings in the 1950s. Courtesy of Nancy T. Andrews

During his entire lifetime, e.e. cummings, had accomplished being an poet, author, painter, and playwriter. He also had been honored with numerous awards pertaining to his work. e.e. cummings’s poems touched on themes of war, nature, love, and death. Despite his status as an accomplished poet, he received criticisms due to the fact that many of e. e. cummings’s poems were very controversial because they focused on issues such as sex, stereotyping and prejudice. Many critics condemned him for two of his poems that contained the words “nigger” and “kike” Single words like “nigger”, “kike” were and still are today tough words in which e.e. cumming unmistakably chose to include in his works of poetry at the time of writing them. Despite being forewarned by others, he seemed to believe that he was justified to include the insulting and degrading words into his poems. He did not seem to care what others thought of his writing when it came to his poetry. Today, many people wonder if e. e. cummings was a racist or antiti-semitic? http://www.poemhunter.com/edward-estlin-cummings/biography/

Here are a few poems that are in question to e.e. cummings being a racist and anti-Semitic:

one day a nigger
caught in his hand
a little star no bigger
than not to understand
“i’ll never let you go
until you’ve made me white”
so she did and now
stars shine at night.

a kike is the most dangerous
machine as yet invented
by even yankee ingenu
ity(out of a jew a few
dead dollars and some twisted laws)
it comes both prigged and canted

theys sO alive
(who is

Not jes
not Jes alive But
So alive(they

born alive)
some folks aint born
somes born dead an
somes born alive(but










-e.e. Cummings

Over the years I have read many poems by e. e. cummings, either as a class assignment or a class project. The poem, “a kike is the most dangerous” by e.e. cummings, is a poem that I never knew that existed until I started searching for information on one of the best known American poets of the twenty century. This poem in fact appeared in his collection called Xaiped, which was published in 1950, and at this time in history words like ““nigger” and kike” were commonly used by people, including e.e. cummings. I am trying to figure out the meaning of these  three poems, by e.e. cummings. I’ve read them over and over, but I’m still stuck on the words “nigger” and “kike”. I even had to look up the word “kike” and it means a racial slur for a Jewish person. I really just do not get it, maybe, I have the whole thing wrong, perhaps e.e. cumming was really trying to make a point about people in his era and their prejudice in his poetry, as he claims. Maybe, this poem was unintentional racism. However, many critics are not buying it.

Today, even Paula Dean has admitted that she has used the word “nigger.” One has to wonder with Paula Deen’s comment, if she by today’s standard is a racist. However, she has gone on to appeal to the public after being fired by the Food Network Channel, that she is not a racist by any means. To me when Paula Deen intentionally admitted to the world that she has used the  word “nigger” in the past, she was going to have major problems, especially since a majority of  the  African American community has supported her. This is a hard pill to swallow. I wish her luck on trying to get African American to support her again.



Was The Movie Precious Helpful or Harmful to Viewers ?

In 2009, the movie called “Precious” came out at the box office; I and several of my coworkers were in a long awaited line to see the movie that everyone was raving about. Oscar’s nominations were being mention pertaining to this phenomenal movie based upon the novel “PUSH”. It was written by the author Sapphire and directed by Lee Daniels. I have read the book several times over the years before watching the movie its self. And each time that I have read it I would end up crying all over the place. Somehow with the movie, I did not find myself crying at all, this time, I found myself like the director Lee Daniel, dealing with the demons of my past through this movie. Lee Daniel is quoted as saying: “It brought back a feeling I had when I was 11 years old and living in the projects in Philly. I answered the door one day, and a neighbor of ours, a light-skinned black girl who was about five years old, was standing there naked and bleeding. She’d been beaten with an electrical cord. I looked in my mom’s eyes, and it was the first time I ever saw fear in her eyes. When I read Sapphire’s book, those memories came back, and I felt I have to deal with this.” Lee Daniels also mentioned that the only way that he could escape the abuse that he had endured as a child was to escape to an fantasy world, which is why he added the fantasy scene in the movie in which every time Precious is being abused she fantasizes about being a movie star or having a relationship with a cute man. This part was not in the book, how was added to the movie. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/11/02/lee-daniels-brutal-truth.html
I must confess that I ‘m a book fanatic. I really enjoy reading a book before a movie or film comes out based upon a particular book. I’m glad that this give me enough time to see who are the main characters in the book, what is the style and finally the plot of the book. As I was doing my widespread research for this blog, I ran across a website in which the author Sapphire explained why her books character name “Push” had been changed for the movie to be called Precious. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120176695

As I was comparing the differences between novel character Push and the movie character Precious, I thought that the book version was more gritty and visual than the movie version. They both described a 16 year old over weighted illiterate teenager from Harlem, New York. (Push) Careece (Precious) Jones played by (Gabourey Sidibe) who lives in a low income housing unit with her over weighted jealous mother Mary (Mo’Nique) who is very mentally unstable. In addition, her mother Mary is sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally, abusive to her only child Precious. Precious also has to endure being raped repeatedly and impregnated twice by her biological father, while her mother stands by and watches. By all standers in today’s world this act would be labeled as incest. The book goes further into detail of her mother’s sexual abuse, in which one night while PUSH was asleep her mother enters her bedroom and starts to engage in sexual relations by finger her. The movie did not show the sexual promiscuous part between mother and daughter, only between father and daughter. Perhaps if they would have out the sexual act between mother and daughter it might traumatize individuals that have been sexual assaulted by their mothers or other female caregivers. Here are a few clips of the movie Precious.

As I watched the movie from beginning to end, I wonder, why didn’t anyone know about the incest that both parents were inflicting upon Precious? Perhaps it was a family secret in which the father, mother and grandmother are the only ones that know the truth, yet the family chooses to allow it to continue, that is until the father dies of AIDS. The movie Precious give you a look at life and what most young African American who cannot read or write woman have to go through on a daily basis. They face poverty, homelessness, abuse, unemployment and so on. One would have to wonder what kept her from ending her life.
The movie contains many positive messages. The most important message for the audience to see and hear is the fact that Precious overcame her very traumatic experience with strength and grit in face of her tremendous adversity of a cruel life that she is left to deal with. Yes, she had help along the way with characters such as her alternative school teacher Miss Rain, who gets precious who has now contracted HIV from her father, to realize that because somebody cared about me enough is what changed things for me.

Another message that comes out loud and clear is that adults who were sexually assaulted as children are survivors and not victims. Furthermore, he or she is no longer bound by the past of incest, sexual assault, rape, and family’s lies and secrets. They now have victory in Jesus name.

The two well-known producers of this film are Tyler Perry and Oprah Whitney have let the world know that they were victims of childhood sexual assault, both emotional and mental abuse, they too can relate to “Precious” however, they choose later on in life as adult to expose their perpetrators. They are not alone; celebrities such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Queen Latifah, Donnie McClurkin are writing books and speaking in public about the person responsible of robbing their innocence as child, now as adults they are fighting back. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/boxing–sugar-ray-leonard-poster-child-fight-against-child-sex-abuse.html

This movie because of its traumatic controversy is what I would consider to be raw reality. I grew up in Chicago. The city life is that of crime, homelessness, unemployable, uneducated, men, women, and children. Living in a big city, one would also witness underage young women and men prostituting themselves to support their drug habit. There are too many gangs and drug dealers to count on the streets of major cities around the United States. People are often seen running for their lives as someone decides to spray the whole area with a fire arm, killing innocent people in the process. More than ever mental ill individuals can be seen sleeping under cardboard boxes in broad daylight. If one were to look around you could also see a rate of young teenage girls getting pregnant as young as twelve years old. These is what I have saw and seen all my life. I too like Precious had experienced a lot in my life time; it was not to break me, but to make me the person that you see today.

Is it wrong for female teachers to become involved with younger male students?


A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE was written by Tennessee Williams. I have watched this play several times throughout the years. I loved the character Blanche Dubois, a former English teacher from Laurel, Mississippi, whom seemingly likes younger men to the point that she had an affair with one of her male student and was fired from her job. In one scene of the play, a young man stops by the Kowaskis’s to collect money for the newspapers that they receive. However, Blanche informs him that she doesn’t have any money to give him as she closes her coin purse. Then she suddenly asks the young man a question while hitting on him and proceeds to give him a kiss. After the kiss the young man departs the apartment. At this point of the movie, I was wondering, why did Blanch like younger men? In Blanche’s case, I think she likes younger men because she wanted to remain young, for long as possible. Perhaps her deceased husband was a young man also—the play never revealed her husband’s age.

In today’s world the question that comes to my mind is it wrong for female teachers to become involved with younger male students? I thought about it more, and in today’s society Blanche is not the only teacher that likes younger men and has become involved with male students. Over recent years, female school teachers have come under fire for getting involved with their younger male students. There are laws that say it is wrong, mainly when these young men are under the age of eighteen. One such memorable case is that of former school teacher Mary Kay Letourneau who had an affair with her 13 year old student Vili Fualaau. I have enclosed a website that talks about her ordeal of having become involved with this male student. http://www.biography.com/people/mary-kay-letourneau-9542379

After Mary Kay was release from prison, she had a child by Vili Fualaau and then later on they got married. http://www.biography.com/people/vili-fualaau-578410

As I was doing my research for my blog, I had discovered that there are 50 former female teachers that have been involved in sex scandals with their former male students. http://www.zimbio.com/The+50+Most+Infamous+Female+Teacher+Sex+Scandals/articles/oorQ5-LphQF/6+Nicole+Long

One has to wonder what could have driven these older women to become involved with a these younger male students. As I read many of the teacher stories, it became obvious that some of them had come from a broken homes, as a child, while others were in a bad marriages and some said that they prefer younger men than older men. Why would these women risk everything that they have and wind up in prison with a charge of child rape? Why would they risk being labeled a child molester and placed on a sex offender list for the rest of their lives? While others have been sentenced to years on probation, lose their job, family, home, income and their dignity. This is exactly what happened to Blanche Dubois; however, the laws were different back then as opposed to today’s law. In my research I also found video clips that alluded to these facts about female teachers.