Safi El-Gamal Unit 1 Assignment 3

Morrison’s Black Matter

In Morrison’s Black Matter, she writes of the “African presence” and its influence in early America.  The consequences of racism have often been discussed in regard to African Americans, which led me to become especially captivated by her investigation into how racism affected the minds of “the master.”  She argues that racism is inevitable in any social landscape, and that in the case of America, white literature required black savagery or “Africanistic personas” to construct a very real “whiteness.”  This racism also allowed many to suffocate surrounding identities and reach a kind of unity that erased any sort of class, wealth or other division by only recognizing race.  Morrison concludes that this whiteness has implicitly turned into the façade of “Americanness” which has allowed certain linguistic formation to evade giving African Americans a voice.  I thought this was especially relevant to the writings of John Locke and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak as they examined the roles of authority figures in society and the ultimate control they perpetrate on those deemed “subordinate” in comparison. 

Questions for Morrison, Locke and Spivak:

  1. How does complete authority over another influence one’s mind and actions?
  2. Is racism inevitable in any social landscape? Or just discrimination?
  3. How are we supposed to address issues of racism if its discussion is evaded so much in society?

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