What Role Does The Book The Rise Of The Colored Empires Play In The Great Gatsby?

Updated 30 September, 2023
The book “The Rise of the Colored Empires” represents the ideology of the dominant class in The Great Gatsby. In the beginning of the novel Tom Buchanan talks about the book, which he is concerned about submerging of white race. He states: “It is up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things.” This shows Tom’s racist views.
Detailed answer:

The American Dream is a common ideal in much of the United States’ mythos. It’s the belief that anyone, regardless of their social standing, has the opportunity for prosperity and respect, as well as upward social mobility. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, is the perfect example of this concept being shattered due to classism, one of the largest social problems plaguing the world today.
To the casual eye, it may seem like the rich are unified by their money but they are in fact distinguished into two. There are “old money” characters, such as Tom Buchanan, whose family has had money for generations and therefore spends an increasing amount of leisure time and “new money” characters, like Gatsby, who are judged by where and how their money was acquired. But within those with old money holds social attitudes laced with racism and classism. This allows them to uphold their long held status and enforce their superiority over people. Such as when Tom discusses “The Rise of the Colored Empires,” a book that heavily praises white superiority. “Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be — will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.” Throughout the novel, Tom develops a deep disdain for Gatsby, whether that be claiming he’s a bootlegger and/or investigating into his newly found wealth. He reaches his breaking point when he reveals Gatsby’s business with stolen securities, which in turn loses Daisy’s respect. “He might have despised himself, for [Gatsby] had certainly taken her under false pretenses . . . he had deliberately given Daisy a sense of security; he let her believe that he was a person from the same stratum as herself — that he was fully able to take care of her. As a matter of fact, he had no such facilities — he had no comfortable family standing behind him, and he was liable at the whim of an impersonal government to be blown anywhere about the world.” The Buchanans believe that with this concept of old money, you also inherit qualities like refinement, sensibility, and taste and thus the system of social stratification is created.

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