I believe that to a certain extent they were trying to live the way the whites did. I think living the way that whites lived made them happy, but there was still something missing. Willie Harris is just another example of millions of people that “cheat” their way through life. It’s sad to say that it’s hard to live an honest life, that’s where your character is really shown. If someone dropped a wallet full of cash on the floor, I think 75% of the people watching would just take the money. That’s a way to cheat your way through life. Through scams, forgeries, cons, etc. Perhaps Walter would’ve been happier if he had “cheated” but with his personality, the guilt would eat him alive, as he knew it would be ethically and morally incorrect. Naive people learn that not all people should be trusted the hard way. Unfortunately for Walter’s family they were born in a time where there still was a lot of discrimination.