December 2, 2012

The depth of race

I found Gates' reading very interesting in that I was slightly unaware of the depth of the idea of race in the sense of intelligence. The line, "We black people tried to write ourselves out of slavery, a slavery even more profound than mere physical bondage" (12) really hit home with the content of the reading. Whites did not think of blacks as just a different race but as potentially a different species that was perhaps destined for slavery: "Blacks were 'reasonable' and hence 'men,' if-- and only if-- they demonstrated mastery of the 'arts and sciences.' the eighteenth century's formula for writing" (pg 8).

I was not personally aware of the extent of which race meant difference. Gates' article shed light on the separation between races and identities, as well brought in the question of race as a problem of identification. Races can be blurred, blended, ambiguous, and cannot always be categorized right away. Race is also relative to class and culture. The piece mentioned how different societies saw different races, whether it be the pope or a slave owner in the New World, there are different ways to identify and relate races to certain people.

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