November 26, 2012

The 'Race' to literary equality

Gate composed a very interesting piece about race and literature. To begin with I could have argued that race was a dying critique had I read this a few months ago but in the wake of such a controversial election I was shown how divided many people are on such an issue. I could have easily thought thy race and literature could be judged on one plane but its evident that today these divisions need to still be in place just as they were when we read the speech written by a white wan and then spoken by a black women which change the entire meaning and rhetoric of those words. Who says what completely reflects on what is being said. The divide between when people of different races speak on the same topics is one that is not going away any time soon, whether between blacks and whites or between middle-easterners as we have seen still have plenty of issues to resolve before them.

2 comments:

Karlyn Mckell said...

I agree that the election opened my eyes to a division I didn't realize was as divided. While I may not have expected it to be a complete dying critique I definitely think that I underestimated how powerful race could be in defining a text. Race genres come hand in hand with assumptions on intent. Race genres tie the author to a specific culture, whether or not this is the culture they intended to speak for. While I think many authors like this classification, I feel like a lot of them don't. I think it all depends on what the author is trying to accomplish with his text. If he is trying to be objective, I think he would not appreciate being tied to any specific race-- a great example of this would be our President, who, although proud of his race and his roots, has to reach a much larger audience, and must therefore make himself available to any race. I'm sure him and his speech writing team carefully crafted his speeches to do just that-- and even then, his race was never fully ignored throughout his campaign and first presidency

James Lannon said...

I think Gates was speaking of race less as a physical category, and more as a tool for literary divide. Gates was saying that the dominant culture's (race) literature was seen as the "normal" or "standard" upon which we judge all literature, and that in respect to that all literature of a different culture (race) is made to be "other". We have ideas associate with whiteness and blackness, using terms like cracker and nigger as trope. Unfortunately with the repetition of race as tropes comes with it a sense of legitimacy (despite being accurate or not). So I was wondering if you thought it was possible to approach a text unbiasedly, or if you believe that these tropes have been reinforced into our way of thinking so much that we are unable to identify with any "other" text?

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