The opening line of Langston Hughes’ short essay The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, is by far the most the most painful line Hughes used. “One of the most promising of the young Negro poets said to me once, "I want to be a poet--not a Negro poet," meaning, I believe, "I want to write like a white poet"; meaning subconsciously, "I would like to be a white poet"; meaning behind that, "I would like to be white." (pg 1192) This line shows the reader how desperate Hughes was to have racism stop and to have African Americans appreciate their own color and race. In 1926 and till until President Obama was elected, I felt African Americans were almost always considered as the “other.”
Hughes wants to show that African Americans always felt that being themselves was never good enough. They were told “don’t be like nigger” and always looked at “how well a white man does things” (1193) Hughes is crying for the help of his own people. He wants African Americans to know they “are beautiful.” (1196) He ultimately wants African Americans to gain enough respect for themselves that to be “free with in ourselves.” (1196)
In Hughes’ introduction, he states “the best work will please neither the black not the white audience. He believes that such problems are best solved by indifference to all audience- by cultivation an art that is true to itself.” (1191) An artists work should be looked at not by what color the skin of the artist is, but by the meaning and the quality of the work. He goes on to state that “we younger Negro artists who create now intent to express our individual dark-skinned selves without the fear or shame.” (1191) Langston Hughes’ is “ashamed for the black poet who says “I want to be a poet, not a Negro poet” (1196)
"2Pac Changes" YouTube. 13 Apr 2009. Web. 11 May. 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8Y9-JlSRXw&feature=BFa&list=FLgnzwjj16RAA&index=4
Hughes, Langston. "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain". ed. Leitch, Vincent B. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed.
"Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance" YouTube. 17 Jul. 2008. 11 May 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehprXnIP7X0&feature=BFa&list=FLgnzwjj16RAA&index=1