The society depicted in “Nervous Condition” under white minority rule. In the society, there are multi-layered ranks of people.
First of all, the society seems to be racially segregated. The segregation appears to be visible. For example, “missionaries were living in white houses and in the pale painted houses” (63). Thus, the white and the black lived in a different world. Under the segregation, white minority has dominant power and rules Black majority. Tambu’s mother said “being black was a burden because it made you poor” (16). The black in the society believes that being black makes inequality in wealth. The white enjoys their dominance in its economy and makes the system that the black always become worse off.
Under the segregation and racial discrimination, gender inequality within the Black is also visible. Within the Black, men have comparative advantage. The Black women seem to have double burden of race and gender. Tambu suffered from gender inequality in patriarchy society. Education toward girls is considered to be less valuable than men. This idea hurt Tambu’s identity and her pride. Tambu describes her aunt as “good woman and a good wife and took pride in this identity, into a dreadful panic” (138). Thus, good wife seems to be considered to be good woman. In the other words, the women’s values are based on how good wives they are. Tambu suffered from this stereotypical gender role. Under this situation that she felt injustice, she felt hatred against her brother.
She suffered from injustices in society, which are racial and gender inequality. There are multi-layered injustices in the society. Under the racial discrimination, black women play subsidiary roles. This book, “Nervous Condition” depicts the multi-layer of ranking and injustices.