The Sellout

by

Paul Beatty

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The Black Justice Character Analysis

The black Justice on the Supreme Court is never named, but only identified by his race. He is horrified by the idea of the narrator keeping a slave because he believes in progress and “the system.” However, the Justice himself is hypocritical, because he has gained an enormous amount of money and power through presiding over a legal system that discriminates against black people.

The Black Justice Quotes in The Sellout

The The Sellout quotes below are all either spoken by The Black Justice or refer to The Black Justice . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Progress vs. Regress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of The Sellout published in 2015.
Prologue Quotes

He's demanding to know how it is that in this day and age a black man can violate the hallowed principles of the Thirteenth Amendment by owning a slave. How could I willfully ignore the Fourteenth Amendment and argue that sometimes segregation brings people together. Like all people who believe in the system, he wants answers. He wants to believe that Shakespeare wrote all those books, that Lincoln fought the Civil War to free the slaves and the United States fought World War II to rescue the Jews and keep the world safe for democracy, that Jesus and the double feature are coming back. But I'm no Panglossian American. And when I did what I did, I wasn't thinking about inalienable rights, the proud history of our people. I did what worked, and since when did a little slavery and segregation ever hurt anybody, and if so, so fucking be it.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Black Justice
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Black Justice Character Timeline in The Sellout

The timeline below shows where the character The Black Justice appears in The Sellout. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Progress vs. Regress Theme Icon
Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Stereotypes and Absurdity Theme Icon
Criminality, Authority, and the Law Theme Icon
The Supreme Court justices enter, and Hampton drags the narrator to his feet. The black Justice is “absentmindedly” wearing a $50,000 Rolex watch. The narrator feels that at this point he... (full context)
Progress vs. Regress Theme Icon
Blackness, Origins, and Home Theme Icon
Stereotypes and Absurdity Theme Icon
Criminality, Authority, and the Law Theme Icon
The black Justice “believes in the system” and therefore is horrified. The Justice wants to believe in progress,... (full context)