Refusing to Tone it Down
So will my page be colored that I write? (26)
Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you. (34-35)
In chapter 11 of Roberts, we're told that the author's tone often shows his/her attitude towards the reader. The examples Roberts gives are basically if a writer mentions a certain event, he's clearly expecting that his reader will know about the occurrence. However, the type of attitude displayed in this poem is really what I had in mind when Roberts mentioned tone in relation to an author's feelings towards his/her readers.
The blunt honesty and sharp sarcasm create a nice blend for this poem, because even though Hughes is adhereing to the assignment and being true, he still makes his point with a couple pointed remarks (such as those quoted above). Hughes' tone betrays wry frustration with racial situations, and a fierce belief in the unity of Americans: Even if he "[doesn't] often want to be a part of [his instructor]," he states that they learn from each other.