November 26, 2012

Racial Screens

I believe that Race, as it is presented in "Writimg Race and the Difference It Makes", is an interesting element to examine in literature. I think it ties in a lot of literary tools we have learned about in class, such as genre, terministic screens and author function.

Throughout history, Especially western culture, it is obvious why race mattered, even if it is just a metaphorical idea rather than an actual thing. Because, as a society, we have for the most part played up the role of the author, it is no surprise that the race of this author made a difference. After all, every race has not always been equal in America. Had we all listened to Barthes and paid no heed to the author, instead letting him "die" at the beginning of the text, race would make no difference. But, as I analyzed when we originally read Barthes, I don't think that all authors would want themselves divorced from their text. Some authors, like the example discussed in this article, with an African American poet wanting to be seen just as a poet, would agree with Barthes. But authors who want to speak for their race or for their culture want this identification.

The problem, I suppose, with this identification is that it has created race genres. Even though many books of many subjects were all written for different purposes, they are grouped into one, such as the"African American Literature" genre. And to tie in terministic screens, only authors who saw their work in this genre would want to be included. The poet who wanted to be seen just as a poet, however, would probably be angered by this categorization. He would rather be played in the poetry section of the library, because the screen in which he wrote his poetry wasn't "African American", but rather something else entirely.

I can also see how it would be hard to ignore race from a cultural standpoint. As literature is a reflection on culture, and many races identify with a specific culture, sometimes it is important to  know background to understand all the language used in a piece of writing. But I guess arguably this could be called culture instead of race.

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