Intersection of Gender and Race

Racism and Gender Inequality in American Society

Racism and gender inequality are some of the controversial issues that the American society has failed deal with. These problems are a result of the reality that American society includes both white and African-American citizens in its population, bringing out animosity between the two and giving each group the impression that they are perhaps more Americans than the other. This frequently results in accusations of racism and disputes that frequently turn violent, with the recent shootings and homicides being linked to the current climate of racism in the United States. There has been quite a number of attacks and counter attacks on racists grounds with the law enforcers, the police being the orchestrators of the recent mishandling of the blacks which often lead to protests which end up really ugly. There is therefore need for efforts to be put in place to try and sabotage racism and find ways of stopping the racists labelling in the American society.

Efforts to Curb Racism in American Society

Some of the efforts meant to curb this areas of concern have been through the use of literature to try and communicate to readers on the effects of racisms and to highlight on racist events that have not been exposed so as to propagate anti-racist ideologies to readers. This effort though has been met by futile opposition and underpinning of the writers that try to expose this racist acts and even some of the works that have been seen to trying to bring out the anti-racist ideologies are often banned or not published. This is heighted in Morrison’s piece of art ‘Black matters’ where the author depicts the various acts of racism against the black and how power has been used to suppress the blacks as well as weakening the female gender in a bid to diminish the Africanist presence in American literature.

Suppression of Women Writers in American Literature

Morrison tries to bring out the suppression of women writers in the American literature and describes the challenges that he writers go through in a rather genderized, sexualized, and wholly racialized American society where women writers especially black writers seemingly do not have say in the American literature despite the fact that the blacks have the largest population in America therefore according to the writer they should indeed have a say in the American literature (Morrison 3). It is ironical that the same people who shape the origin, the politics and the entire history of culture in the united states are locked out and seem to have no significant place in the shaping of the American literature, this ignores the overwhelming presence of black people in the united states. American literature according to the author is run by white male views and those in power which locks out the female writers in the American society especially the blacks whom are even denied publication of their books if they are deemed in any why to be highlighting the plight of the African- American person (Morrison 5).

Racism in American Literature

American literature is based wholly on individualism and masculinity which taints the picture of literature which is supposed to be championing the rights of every person no matter the race or gender. The American literature has been used by the white writers to demonize and suppress the African-Americans by associating chaos and evil with the black people which has become most of the highlights of their books and literature which often employ black characters and depict them with evil roles in the organization of their literatures. Morrisson highlights how the African-American has been grounded and distanced from the history and culture of Americans yet they are the ones who were responsible for the history of the American society with them being the founders of the oldest democracy that is still enjoyed in America up to date.

Invisibility of Africanism in Literary Criticism

The author says that Africanism has been made invisible and unnoticeable in terms of literary criticism and the author justifies this by saying “To enforce its invisibility through silence is to allow the black body a shadow less participation in the dominant cultural body” this reflects the dominance that the white people especially the writers have in relation to American literature and with the black writers being blind folded and in some instances even some writers with African-American association have been blocked from publishing or accessing their works. This has demoralized most of them and even made the American society loose writers who could change the view of American literature (Morrison 9).

Justification of Racism in American Literature

The notion propagated by those in power through the American literature which is dominated and run by the white writers is the fact that they try to justify racism and uphold it to be an inevitable, permanent and eternal part of the American society and any other society this tis in a way to try a justify the racist acts being orchestrated on the blacks. This notion is in a bid to make racism look as if it is normal and something that cannot be avoided so as for the racists to continue propagating racism. This according to Morrison is done by those in the domains of power and often spread and passed by the writers in their writings.

The Impact of Racism from the Perspective of Victims

The impact of racism should not be seen from the perspective of those who propagate and involve themselves in racists acts but should rather be on the basis of the victims of this racist acts who are I most cases the African- Americans and women who find themselves between the jaws of racism (Morrison 13). American literature though as depicted by the author is spreading the idea that the impact of racism ought to be viewed from the perspective of those who are responsible of the racists acts which should not be the case.

Racism and Abuse towards Women

Women have also been on the receiving end of racism and abuse related to racist ideologies. A book that clearly highlights this according to Morrison is ‘Sapphira and the slave girl’ from the title itself you can be able to figure out what might be happening in the story and most likely it is a case of slavery which is often associated with a white enslaving a black person. In this story a white slave mistress is seen oppressing and exercising brutal authority on her slaves. This reflects on the role those in power play in the propelling racism and exploitation of the African-American person (Morrison 22). It also reflects on how racism has blinded even the women who are often the common victims of racisms, abuse and violations so that they can abuse other women which is seen by the role the white mistress in the story plays. Instead of even having the femininity in her and consider her gender, the white slave mistress goes ahead and inflicts abuse on the female slaves simply because they are of African origin. This book though received it fair share of criticism not because of whether its structure was not in order or because it did not meet the standards of American literature but merely because of its premises in highlighting the plight of the black people who were oppressed and enslaved under the hands of the whites.

Sabotage by Female American Writers

It is ironical that even the female American writers played a role in sabotaging the role of their female counterparts from the other side of the African-American. Morrison reveals that even the female writers were among the critics of works written by black women writers merely on racist grounds even if they were highlighting on the plight of women with regards to oppression and masculinity which betrays their role in ensuring women’s voice are heard. Black women who seemed to highlight on the grievances of the black people such as in ‘Sapphira and the Slave Girl’ have been met with criticisms and their work even denied entry into the American literature so as to suppress the concerns and the issues raised by their work.

Racial Incompatibility in American Society

Dutchman on the other hand displays two characters Lula a thirty –year old white whom and twenty-year-old Clay who is a negro. The two display how the white and African-Americans are incompatible which is seen in their association and the way the white woman treats the young negro Clay. She threats him like any other white woman would do, with disrespect and making him submissive to her, she is like she owns the gentle man which is seen in the beginning of the play where she tells him to repeat what she had said and Clay does without hesitation. This depicts how submissive the blacks were when it came to white people being above them. Lula also has issue with the names given to the African-Americans and it seems there are names meant specifically for the blacks and the whites. This shows the clear distinction based on racist grounds in the American society (Baraka 11).

Racism and Gender Inequality in American Literature

Racism and gender inequality and oppression can therefore be said plainly after a closer look at the texts or sources studied as a menace and a calamity that is consuming the American society and tearing it into bits of shreds. This is advanced and championed by the curtailed nature of the American literature that is seemingly biased and favors one side of the white American society leaving the other side which ironically the majority cursing the wind for lack of involvement in the literary discourse that could have otherwise save the states of the agony of racism and gender based violations that are so rampant that even the society has viewed it as normal and eternal. Morrison quotes that the situation of suppression and underpinning of the African-American writers is so evident such that some of the powerful literary critics in the united states have never read an African-American text which depicts the scope of grounding that has been done to black writers’ works by the literary critics.

Works Cited

Baraka, Amiri. Dutchman: And, the Slave : Two Plays. Perennial, 2001.

Morrison, Toni. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. Vintage Books, 1993.

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