November 26, 2012

Race and Literature

Henry Louis Gates Jr approaches the situation of race within literature and the study of it in the introduction Writing "Race" and the Difference It Makes. He likens any literature other than mainstream literature written be western white people as being "other." In this particular essay, "otherness" refers to sub groups of people other than white and specifically African American. Gates specifically talks about the lack of an existence of "other" literature. Gates claims that race is still an important factor today and has not changed much in post colonial America. An important claim that Gates makes is that "race, in these usages, pretends to be an objective term of classifications, when in fact it is a dangerous trope" (Gates 5).

Essentially, the claim that Gates is trying to make is that race is still an existent factor is today's shaping of society both culturally and economically. Gates also states that "the extreme 'otherness' of the black African continues to surface as a matter of controversy even in such humanitarian and cosmopolitan institutions as the Roman Catholic Church" (Gates 5).  The main thing to do to analyze this, as Gates would say, is to "isolate the signifying black difference through which to theorize about the so-called discourse of the Other" (Gates 15).

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