Experience and Meaning Reflection on Grace Paley’s “Traveling”

In recent history we have we have learned about many cases and situations regarding segregation, a result of the social construct of racism. Displayed in Grace Paley’s memoir “Traveling,” we as readers get to share her experience when she encounters segregation for the first time. Being that Paley was unfamiliar the ways in which segregation was implemented across state lines, her ignorance automatically makes her a stranger of sorts. Her status as a stranger whether she knew it at the time or not, provided her the ability to resist the injustices of segregation. An example of this was when Paley offered her seat to a tired mother holding her baby who happened to be black and when she refused to accept her offer she offered to hold her baby. Paley’s ability to see past the color of the woman’s skin was a rare concept at during the time. By simply seeing the woman as a tired mother, even in the face of the many disapproving white people surrounding her; spoke volumes to her character as a human being. Due to be unfamiliarity with segregation the other white viewed her actions as those of a person of unbelievable ignorance. However, in actuality her actions allowed for the display of the notion that all of us are human, and that color does not make us different from one another but our habits make us able to each other.

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