'Consider it a badge of office. Prize it. Keep it developing as you are and some day it will be filled with important papers that will help shape the destiny of your people.' p31
Throughout the book the author describes a number of people who he believes refuse to acknowledge his presence or even his existence as a person because he is black.
'When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination-indeed everything except me.'
This can be seen firstly when he meets Mr Norton, a millionaire founder of the state college for Negros. The character is not a racist in the blatant way that other white people in the south were at the time, but seems unable to see the boy as anything but a statistic in his own 'destiny'.
'That has been my lifes work, not my banking or my reserches, but my first hand organising of human life'. P38
Perhaps the closest view to what Ellison wants to say can