A recurring theme in, The Color Purple is the structural nature of racism and sexism. Celie is a victim of both of those oppressive practices. She is repeatedly abused by her stepfather and her husband. There is little she can do because she is both black and female and the nature of society is structured against her so she just accepts her role, at least in the beginning.
Another example of the structural racism is with Sofia and the mayor. At first the mayor’s wife asks Sofia to be their maid to which Sofia replies, “Hell no”. The mayor then slaps Sofia for her response and to defend herself Sofia strikes back, for which she is imprisoned. Sofia was trying to go against the grain of society and not just accept her place and for this she finds herself in prison because she is a black woman. After Sofia is arrested, Squeak, who is half white and half black, tries to get Sofia out of prison. For her attempt she is raped by the warden. This is just another example of the nature of sexism and racism.
Lessons learned in The Color Purple are very applicable to the service I do. Baltimore, being a predominantly black city, faces racism constantly. It is important to know about the nature of racism when doing service in Baltimore. It allows for a deeper understanding of the community. There are systems and institutions in place that allow racism and even perpetuate it. I believe that an integral part of service and not just the service itself but the learning about the issues facing the communities because it only after realizing the systems in place that a change can truly be made.