I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Chapter 29
The new pieced-together family-Daddy Clidell, Mother, Bailey and Maya-lives in a large house and takes many boarders. They board everyone from prostitutes to elderly couples. Maya is prepared to ignore Daddy Clidell, but she finds he is a kind and strong person, qualities she admires. He does not complain, and he treats everyone well. Plus, she looks like him. He takes her to meet many of his criminal friends. They are so nice to her, and so clearly only cheat rich racist white people, that she cannot think of their crimes as wrong. They all have colorful names-Red Leg, Just Black, etc.-and tell hilarious stories. They use the fact that some white people think that all black people are idiots to cheat them by pretending to be idiots. One con man tells an elaborate story about how they sold some public land to a white man, just because the man was so ready to believe that the con artists were stupid because they were black. He thought he was getting an amazing deal from a couple of "niggers" who didn't know how valuable their property was. They were able to take forty thousand dollars from the man. Maya reflects that black people often think, "We are the victims of the world's most comprehensive robbery. Life demands a balance. It's all right if we do a little robbing now." Chapter 29, pg. 219 She knows that black people are able to live easily in two different cultures: the formal, public, and mostly white world, where they go to school and obey the rules, and their own culture, where they speak in slang and play by their own rules.