On page 12 Gates asks, "Can writing, with the very difference it makes and marks, mask the blackness of the blackface that addresses the text of Western letters, in a voice that speaks English through an idiom which contains the irreducible element of cultural difference that will always separate the white voice from the black? When I read this particular passage I thought about the novel, The Help, by Kathyrn Stockett. Is it really possible for a white author to write the experiences of black maids in the 1960s when she herself never experienced the kind of racism she writes about in her book? This coupled with Gates title, "Writing Race and the Difference It Makes" is also relevant.
Did Stockett essentially write her own interpretation of race? If you don't know there there was a scandal about this book, as Stockett was sued by her own nanny and maid Abilene Cooper, for using Cooper's life as a background for her story. You can read a short version of the story here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2033369/Her-family-hired-maid-12-years-stole-life-Disney-movie.html. I feel like Stockett's novel is exploitative and paints a feel-good varnish over racism in the 1960s and shouldn't be promoted as such a wonderful book that everyone should read. After all I feel it's pretty evident that Stockett is promoting the stereotype of the Mammy figure in Aibileen's character.