Critique of Black Writing, White Reading: Race and the Politics of Feminist Interpretation

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In "Black Writing, White Reading: Race and the Politics of Feminist Interpretation" Elizabeth Abel travels along the stepping stones given by Toni Morrison in "Recitatif" to draw her conclusions on the race of each girl. Abel uses conversation with a colleague, correspondence with Morrison, and a strong foundation of literature on the politics of racial issues in conjunction with feminism to support her opinion on the characters' racial identities. This conclusion on the assigned races is also used as a springboard to highlight other themes that Abel has derived from "Recitatif." Though the author's arguments prove thought provoking and well researched, one still may have contrasting opinions. Thankfully, do to the genius In Toni Morrison's writing, there is still room to disagree with Abel's arguments.

Elizabeth Abel follows Toni Morrison's "highly ambiguous social cues" to form her conclusion that Twyla is white (Abel, 471, 472). While delving into the social issues that act as indicators of race, the author admits her ignorance of many of the subjects going on at the time of the story. Since Roberta has married an IBM executive during the time when the company was adopting a strong affirmative action stance, and Twyla has married a fireman, a group at the time predominately comprised of whites, Abel feels that her conclusions are more concrete (476).

The author's arguments differ greatly with mine when she discusses the meeting between Twyla and Roberta and the Howard Johnson's restaurant. While talking about what the two women have seen when it come to racial issues, Abel gives Roberta the upper hand during this meeting by referring to implying that her statements indicate a "distrust of white intervention [, and ] insider's perspective on power and race relations. However, I feel that Twyla's statements during this interlude signify a naiveté about the deeper racial issue, and Roberta's responses are plain and simple racism from a woman who...
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