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Race and Racism in Literature
Description Issues of race and racism permeate American society and are of central concern to students and teachers. The chapters in this reference explore how these issues have been addressed in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Native Son, The House on Mango Street, Ceremony, and other major novels widely read by high school students. The works discussed reflect racial issues from a range of cultural perspectives.
Each chapter is devoted to a particular novel and provides a plot summary, an overview of the work's historical background, a literary analysis, and suggestions for further reading. Issues of race and racism have long permeated American society and continue to be among the most important social concerns today. This volume explores how racial issues have been treated in a dozen major novels widely read by high school students and undergraduates.
The works discussed are from different historical periods and reflect a range of cultural perspectives, including African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Italian American, Jewish American, and Jewish-Arab experiences. The volume begins with an introductory essay on race and racism in literature. Each chapter includes a plot summary, an overview of the work's historical background, a discussion of overt and subtle racism in the novel, and suggestions for further reading. Product details Format Hardback pages Dimensions Bestsellers in Literary Studies: General.
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Race and Racism in Literature
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Song Of Solomon Toni Morrison. Other books in this series. Race and Racism in Literature Jr. Literature and the Environment George Hart. Review quote "Worthwhile additions for schools with an integrated curriculum. Wilson introduces the volume by distinguishing between overt and institutional racism. The focus on selected novels allows for not just plot summaries and critical commentary, but for a review of the book's history and analysis of how racism is portrayed It can end up with extremism: that is racism.
Racism begat race. Racism is about the Other. Racism is not irrational in that sense: it is not illogical to fear the Other. Race, however, is a different matter.
I disagree. When the National Socialists came to power in the s, that coincided with a time when technology was changing. The new technology was film: the talkies. The Germans, and particularly Goebbels, were very adept at turning that into propaganda, and they made sure that Jews looked different — hooked nosed, swarthy grotesques. You can see racial stereotypes in cartoons in North America at the same time, of Irish people depicted as black, literally as black, as if they came from Africa. The classification put white Europeans at the top of the hierarchy.
The philosophers and scientists, most of whom had never met a black person, perpetuated myths about this hierarchy. Why did you choose that? Popper is a very personal choice. I saw him lecture at the London School of Economics. I was a working class boy who was given the chance of going to university in the early eighties and attended the LSE. I had a sense of being different. I had a sense of self that my grandfather helped instill — he was old school Labour, and a communist.
He thought that you should make something of yourself in the world, to take what you have and make an impact. My father was German, raised in Nazi Germany, so I have a very clear sense of the wrongs that were committed in Nazi Germany. Karl Popper was a grand figure of philosophy at the LSE then. So there were very personal reasons I had for going to hear him lecture. But when I went to the lecture, I realised I was the only person of colour in that packed lecture theatre. He talked about the enemies of the open society.
It struck me that one of the enemies of the open society was exclusion. That context meant that I really wanted to delve into the questions Popper was asking, especially the question: Who is democracy for? Popper thought it was mostly about keeping the demagogues and dictators out, not about getting the democrats in. His book helped me to think in a different way about society. It gave me a strategy of looking for an alternative narrative, of testing the dominant position.
It gave me a kind of epiphany and helped shape a method of seeking the alternative narrative. Why did you choose this particular classic text? Franz Fanon was born and raised in Martinique, part of the French empire. It is essentially a European island. Fanon was a man of colour raised in a culture where blackness was a stain.
Blackness was regarded as useless to the state, useless to commerce, useless to education. And he fought against that. Fanon was not just a thinker, he was an activist, a doer. He later moved to Algeria. He wanted to bring about change, not just think about it. I read this book first in French, when I was an undergraduate studying in France. I was so taken by this book, with its beautiful use of language. Then, when I delved into the meaning of the book, I realised that essentially he was saying that black people are re-burdened by skin colour in a white-dominated society.
They learn to live as white people, but underneath they are really black people. He was railing against that.