Kate Chopin’s short story “Desiree’s Baby” is a demonstration of the influence of racism in the lives of people in the 19th century and the contemporary world. At the beginning of the story, she makes an introduction with beautiful images and events while attracting the audience’s attention using fairy tales. However, in the subsequent segments of the story, the fairy tale becomes horrific and scary to the audience. This is evident in Armand’s drastic change of behavior towards Desiree. Armand owns a big plantation and employs Negroes to work in the same. This alongside other scenes reveal a negative side of human relations. Chopin’s story is set in the 1800s before the Civil War in America. Thus, the era in which the story is set depicts a time when slavery was legal, and racism was at its best. This was a time when black people were treated harshly. According to the author, Armand’s mother was considered to be a descendant of the cursed black race and that the brand of slavery cursed her at the time. Armand’s relationship with the black race originates from his mother, and this caused him suffering, pain, and embarrassment.
Kate Chopin’s story is relevant in the present day in various ways. In the story, Armand frustrates slaves on his plantation because of their race (Chopin). He views them as being lesser human and inferior to him. This form of treatment is seen today in various parts of the world. For instance, in some Asian countries, blacks are mistreated and discriminated because of their skin color. They are subjected to odd jobs as Armand did with the Negros in Chopin’s story. The same is seen today’s football world where discrimination is common among footballers and fans with those of black descent being subjected to verbal and physical abuse. Although the era of slavery is long gone and nobody cannot violate another’s rights by frustrating or mistreating them because of their race, racism is still prevalent in some countries in the Middle East that prohibit interracial marriages.
The perceived superiority over black people or those with a mixed racial heritage that Armand portrays in the story is evident today. A perfect example is former President Barack Obama’s situation during his presidential campaigns. A majority of those who voted against him did so mainly because of his race. They viewed him as less superior and one incapable of ruling over whites. Similarly, Armand considered the Negros as less superior and treated them harshly while working for him in the plantation mainly because of their racial background.
In the story, Desiree was aware that her relationship with Armand would not be fruitful as they would have raised n mixed-race children. It is believed that this would be shameful to Armand and his family. Thus, Desiree sought to leave and asked, “can I go Armand?” She confirmed whether it was possible for her to leave when she asked, “Do you want me to go?” Armand’s response to the questions was “Yes, I want you to go” (Chopin). This implies that Armand knew the predicament that awaited him if he would have proceeded to have children with Desiree. This is relevant to contemporary society where interracial marriage is done with reservation. In the U.S., the majority such as whites have the notion that people of color are less superior; a prospect that affects interracial marriages.
Chopin, B. Kate. “Desiree’s Baby.” (1894).