Toni Morrison’s 1981 novel Tar Baby can be seen as a fictional examination of questions raised by the changes brought about in African American communities and their consciousness by the Civil Rights Movements. Like most Morrison novels, Tar Baby deploys folklore and vernacular language to foreground her concerns with identity, oppression and subversion. The novel constitutes of dialogues that are both interracial, challenging the White American’s ordering of the world as well as intra-racial where the confrontation is between a privileged black middle class materialism and the vernacular discourse of the folk community. The novel begins with a dedication that reads: The ‘ancient properties’ here is an important phrase because it alludes to
The apartheid according to Merriam Webster was a racial segregation; specifically: a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa. In the novel Cry, The Beloved Country, we see the apartheid in an early stage. We see prejudice thinking in Johannesburg when Kumalo arrives. We see the miserable lives black people have compared to the comfortable lives white people have. “And some cry for the cutting up of South Africa without delay into separate areas, where white can live without black, and black without white, where black can farm their own land and mine their own minerals and administer their own land” (Paton 109).
In the short story “Battle Royal”, written by Ralph Ellison, the author addresses social issues facing black individuals concerning the inability to advance against the racial hierarchy. The author depicts the struggles of the unnamed black narrator’s efforts in advancing in a world that predominately favors the works of white individuals. Throughout the composition, the author’s use of vivid imagery and metaphoric reflections of the battle royal, recreates the disillusion of the realities of racism and how it ultimately affects the black consciousness. In contrast “Meaning of a Word”, written by Gloria Naylor details the definition of power and the different meanings that the usage of the racial slur “nigger” may have within different racial communities. She expresses that in some instances the word may be used as an appellation within the black community that expresses a sense of empowerment and freedom.
The black man only becomes aware of his blackness when in contact with the white world. In this essay, I will attempt to bring forward this issue of race and becoming aware of it. Drawing from my personal experience, I will discuss the ways in which that experience relates to Fanon’s representation of race. The writer, more often than not, makes reference to critics and other influential figures to support his views and his arguments. I will present this essay in the same manner in which Fanon presents his book, linking my personal experience to Fanon’s and some other important historical and cultural figures’ views.
If identity is equal to body, as Cynthia Dobbs argues in “Tony Morison’s Beloved: Bodies Returned, Modernism Revisited”, and whites equate blackness to body, as Sima Farshid, professor of English at university of Karaj Azad, claims, then whites thought blacks to be despicable, worthless, intelligently incapable, and sexual proactive. Therefore, and thirdly, the psychological consequences of these white ideals depleted black sense of self-worth and ultimately their identity. Hence, Blacks (embodied in Beloved) were forced to repress trauma erected from white dominant culture which caused them a lack in self-indemnity. The characters in Beloved, particularly, Sethe, Paul D, and Beloved learn what it meant to be black by challenging previous notations that they belonged not to themselves but to the
“[…] the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second sight in this American world – a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world” (Du Bois 8). W.E.B Du Bois an African-American sociologist, writer and activist, describes in detail the moment he realised that his blackness was a problem in modern society. In his essay Of Our Spiritual Strivings Du Bois formulates the concept of the veil, describing the problematic African American’s experience of having to look at “one’s self through the eyes of another, [and] of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” (8), which resultantly “yields him no true self-consciousness” (8). Thus a twoness emerges, “two souls, two
In Ralph Ellison’s short story “Battle Royal”, the unnamed narrator had to deal with the oblique acts of racism that constantly affects the social class and individual identity of the oppressed African Americans during that time. It is easy to see that due to the color of his skin, this bright youth is brutally sabotaged by the white-dominated society in which he lives in. As a master of poetic devices, Ellison incorporates numerous symbols and archetypes into this short story, providing a unique perspective on the narrative and supporting concept of invisibility and identity. Though I do believe that the main point of this entire story can be wrapped around the concept of racial inequality, which is expressed by the actions of how this boy
He becomes “the eternal victim of an essence, of an appearance for which he is not responsible” (Fanon 23). Not only is a black man victim of such stereotypes, but the white man must be weary of him if he has knowledge of great writers and philosophers such as Montesquieu who suddenly belongs to the French culture only. Thus, the narrator suggests that instead of the black man gaining knowledge, the latter should be taught not to be caught in those perception of
The discrimination that continues to be the African American experience has brought forth in Morrison one of the most significant voices of her race and age. One does not have to be black to realize that slavery was a holocaust, or to empathize with the suffering of the generations who were worn down, physically and mentally. Reaction to the injustice and abuse inflicted upon the members of black race, can be nothing but loathing and horror. And reaction to their valour can be nothing but respect. In this commentary, I propose to show that, in her novel Beloved, Morrison makes the reader become aware of the psychological damage done to the African American people by the brutal inhumanity that constituted American slavery.
The biggest controversy over human interaction is that between whites and blacks. There is an unknown feeling that is forever lasting, that causes tension between white people and black people. History is the creation of this feeling even in a time of freedom and peace. The article Implicit and Explicit Prejudice and Interracial Interaction is a strategically designed study based on the examination of interracial interaction. The authors examined implicit racial associations and explicit racial attitudes while relating them to different behaviors and impressions in the interaction between whites and blacks.