November 26, 2012

Race Writing

I'm not gonna lie, originally I was confused, in the sense that I thought of... a foot race or a car race when race came up in the title. It was only until I started reading that I found out it meant ethnicity.

Now that that little cute story is out of the way, what exactly is Gates trying to explore as far as writing about ethnicity is concerned? Well, he seems to think that it is a "fiction." The vibe I'm getting is the sense that there is no race, but rather we are a collective of human being who just happen to come from different places and therefore be different colors.

What does he think of tradition?

He argues that "Race is the ultimate trope of difference because it is so very arbitrary in its application." (5). He seems to see  race as some sort of... terministic screen. This, I simply cannot agree with. It just doesn't make sense. It gives me a sense of ignorance just thinking that certain races do not exude certain ways of thinking or being. I understand that there are similar factors. Obviously the prior reading of Persepolis worked not because she was Iranian or that she had to constantly change schools or that she was self-banished, but rather because she dealt with the problem of growing up, something that all humans do. That doesn't change the fact that she underwent a revolution that only those in the country at the time have fully witnessed.

I can give way to an idea that this can work however. What comes to mind is Star Trek and it's futurist ideals. I think about how the show portrayed a future they wanted and how it has been working out, such as cell phones or skyping. The show also portrays a future where every race of human were seen as clear equals. At the same time though, I feel as if the show didn't go too far in that sense, like the alien race of Klingons still embodied this evil ideal. There were outliers, such as Worf, but the fact remained that the Klingons had a widespread ideal. It couldn't be denied. So is it really a terministic screen? It's tough to believe. It's almost as if looking at it the other way (A way that isn't characterized by race) is actually the terministic screen.

1 comment:

Angela M said...

I may be wrong here, and correct me if I am, but I don't think he was saying that certain races do not exude certain ways of thinking of being. I think the use of race as a Terministic Screen here would be more of the idea that it's the historical and economic contexts that put these screens on race and that through these contexts certain groups aren't "seen" as able but it doesn't mean they aren't. If that makes sense. On pages 13-15 he talks a little about this and says we "must also understand how certain forms of difference and the languages we employ to define those supposed differences not only reinforce each other but tend to create and maintain each other" (Pg. 15)

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