Ethnocentricity In The Jes Grew

641 Words3 Pages
s the impossibility of a single meaning, and instead, invokes an acceptance of plurality. In the jazz reading of the text, Reed refuses the linear narrative of influence or tradition. Rather, he chips away at the conventions of unity and coherence from the sphere of narrative and identity formulation. Much like the fluidity of jazz, the Jes Grew, Reed’s metaphor for this fluid energy, lives within his rewrite of black cultural history. In the early pages of the novel, the narrator criticizes those who wish to seek and “…interpret the world by using a single loa” and implies that any rigid definition of black essence would be “…like filling a milk bottle with an ocean” (Reed 24). The black experience, as Reed argues, is a fluid one, and therefore, cannot be contained within a single definition or narrative structure. He discusses the “epidemic” that is black culture, embodied in the Jes Grew. This metaphor is Reed’s hilarious reversal of “high” and…show more content…
The real danger of ethnocentricity is in its tendency to ignore differences among members of an ethnic group and paint them as homogeneous. Hinckle Von Vampton, one of the leaders in the movement to squander the Jes Grew, laments that all African American writers don’t write in the same manor. Mayor Young refutes this by saying, “Is it necessary for us to write the same way? I am not Wallace Thurman, Thurman is not Fauset and Fauset is not Claude McKay, McKay isn’t Horne. We all have our unique styles…”(Reed 102). This statement criticizes the stereotyping of black writers and artists. In addition, it comments upon what Reed finds to be problematic: the tendency to enforce rigid standards on writers. The Atonists then, the individuals who love order and repression of natural instincts, become the embodiment of Reed’s
Open Document