My personal response to the play is I loved reading it and the more I thought about families (not just black families) when I read through it again. The oldest son in the play was trusted to deposit the money from the check (to buy a better home), but he turned out to be unable to follow through with his responsibility. That's sad. Also, in the play it was brought home to me that the neighbor was willing to pay the family NOT to move into his neighborhood. It still is that way today. White folks fear that black folks will bring loud parties into their neighborhood, and that black folks won't take good care of their property and it will devalue the neighborhood. That's not fair to assume such a thing about blacks, but unfortunately, a lot of white people still believe those things. That's why the play is still pertinent to the social climate in America today.
A cannot precisely imagine what a Caucasian male in his 50s would think about Raisin in the Sun, but I can guess. Let's say he's not a racist at all and that a family that believed in fairness and justice raised him. And in my mind he believes that diversity is what makes America what it is today. This man was aware of the Civil Rights Movement, and in fact had albums by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, folk music from back in the day. He saw the dogs that were turned loose on black demonstrators by Sheriff Bull Conner and Sheriff Jim Clark (Selma Alabama) on the TV news.
Okay, what would he say, how would he react, to seeing a Raisin in the Sun, if he were to see it today on Broadway? I can imagine he would enjoy it a lot, but he would probably think to himself, there aren't that many black folks who have to live in squalor like that anymore. Thank God, he would say to himself, life has gotten better for most black families. There is now a huge black middle class, he would think, after watching the play, and blacks send their kids to colleges, they buy homes (and are able to get mortgages easily), they drive decent cars, they have high speed Internet and digital cable TV and are a lot like all the rest of the middle class.
I think that he would think about life for blacks, though, and probably wonder how many people have to live with cockroaches around in families where mom is the head of the household because dad left or he died. He would remember the television news coverage of how sheriff Jim Clark behaved in Selma on March 7, 1965. That was the day when sheriff Clark, his vicious dogs, and other officers on horseback just went into a crowd of black demonstrators (who were peacefully marching to protest no voting rights and other Jim Crow laws in place in Alabama). They beat women, boys, girls, older men, with their nightsticks and the TV showed the whole ugly situation. This was the Selma to Montgomery march let by Rev. Martin Luther King.
Anyway, I think that this man's memory - of how cruel and brutal life was back in the 1960s when the Civil Rights Movement was just getting some momentum - would lead him to believe that life is a lot better now for blacks. And he would be right, because no sheriff can behave like that and get away with it anymore. But what this Caucasian man in his 50s may not know, after watching a Raisin in the Sun, is that hundreds of thousands of black families struggle every day to survive. The mom may have three or four kids; the boys in the family may be involved in gangs because they don't have a dad in the house; and mom may have two jobs because she only makes the minimum wage and can't buy enough food on just one job. There are a lot of people (black people and Latinos too) who just barely make it from paycheck to paycheck. So don't be fooled, I would say to that man, because even though life is a lot better than it was in 1959,…