November 26, 2012


"Current language use signifies the difference between cultures and their possession of power, spelling out the distance between subordinate and superordinate, between bondsman and lord in terms of their race." (6)  I believe this quote is worth looking in to in terms of Gates definition of race.  Gates identifies race with tropes, believing race to be a category from which literary works can be understood and judged by.  I believe that though this subject may make some uncomfortable to talk about, it is a factor that remains and must be acknowledged.  Gates talks about "otherness" and how those not in the dominant culture (race) are made out to be "others" who are different or "less than".  Through establishing tropes by using terms such as cracker or nigger these concepts or superiority and otherness are reinforced.

When I read a text I am on the look out for concepts I identify with, and am sure that despite the race (not as a physical characteristic but as a literary category) there can still be something I can relate to.  So I suppose my question is, is Gates saying that you need to be a part of a specific culture (race) to fully appreciate or identify with a text, or is it possible to extinguish these concepts of race as tropes and otherness and read a text unbiasedly?

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