In Toni Morrison’s “Black matter(s)” I was intrigued by the role of “whiteness” in being “American”. Morrison talks about how unlike other nationalities, the word American comes with certain connotations about race. Morrison claims that with the implications of race within our culture, American means white. Non-white Americans need to use hyphens and other words to group themselves, meaning they are usually left out of the conversation about being American. With how polarized our political culture has become, I think this idea is truer now than ever. With Donald Trump in office, public discourse has lost significance and now there is more focus on finding differences between peoples. There is a necessity for establishing differences to elevate some while putting others down. When Trump claims “Make American Great Again”, what version of the United States is he talking about? The pre-civil War United States, where slavery was the basis of our economy? Or maybe the Jim Crow era with segregated schools, restaurants, and buses? The United States is built on the back of slavery, and we will forever be dealing with the consequences. Because of this, I don’t think the United States will ever be “great” as there is too big of a racial disparity in this country. I am hopeful, however, that our generation will bring positive change to this country and that race will be a much less dividing issue.
Questions for Locke, Marx, and Morrison:
Do you think people fear freedom? Is it possible for all humans to be free or is there a necessity for the oppressor and the oppressed?
What is knowledge and who can be knowledgeable? How is knowledge obtained?
When laboring for a person in a position of power, does the worker inherently lose their freedom? If not, at what point is freedom lost? Can freedom be gained back after being initially lost?