The Great White Hope: Black Albinism and the Deposing of the White Subject in John Edgar Wideman’s Sent For You Yesterday
John Edgar Wideman cleverly liberates the African American community from the destructive pretense of racial essentialism by employing the racial ambiguity of the albinic body. In his novel Sent For You Yesterday(1983), Wideman portrays Brother Tate, a black albinic character, as both a catalyst for challenging the limitations and inconsistency of our Western mythos of identity and a medium for preserving African American culture. Hecritiques Western culture’s grand racial classification in that he interrogates the supposition that race is a natural and indisputable aspect of the human condition. The Darwinian hierarchy through which race is expressed inherently privileges one expression of humanity (the original white subject) over the implied inferiority of allothers. By positioning the albinic body as the a priori condition of the human condition, Wideman is able to denaturalize the racial inferiority of blackness and discredit the notion of white superiority. With this, the reputed racial whiteness of the “original man” is discardedand supplanted by the fluidly of the albinic body. Asa racially indeterminate character, Brother Tate offers an unmediated investigation into the black condition without the convoluted misrepresentations of blacknessmanufactured to subjugate, coerce, distort, and censure the black community for generations.
Key words: Albinism (albino); Race; Blackness;Community; John Edgar Wideman
Appiah, A., & Gutmann, A. (1996). Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
Benthien, Claudia. (1997). The Whiteness Underneath the Nigger: Albinism and Blackness in John Edgar Wideman’s Sent for You Yesterday. Utah Foreign Language Review, 3-13.
Benthien, Claudia. (2002). Skin: On the Cultural Border Between Self and the World. New York: Columbia University Press.
Blankenberg, Ngaire. (2000). That Rare and Random Tribe: Albino Identity in South Africa. Critical Arts, 6-43.
Cortés, H., Pagden, A., & Elliott, J. H. (2001). Letters from Mexico. New Haven: Yale Nota Bene.
Curran, A. (2009). Rethinking Race History: The Role of the Albino in the French Enlightenment Life Sciences. History and Theory: Studies in the Philosophy of History, 48(3),151-179
Delany, M. R. (1991). The Origin of Races and Color. Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press.
Gates, Henry Louis Jr. (1983). The Blackness of Blackness: A Critique of the Sign and the Signifying Monkey. Critical Inquiry, 9(4), 685-723.
Grandjeat, Y. (1999). Brother Figures: The Rift and Riff in John E. Wideman’s Fiction Callaloo, 22(3), 615-622.
Gysin, Fritz. (2002). Liberating Voices to Metathetic Ventriloquism: Boundaries in Recent African-American Jazz Fiction. Callaloo, 25(1), Jazz Poetics: A Special Issue, 274-287.
Hoem, Sheri I. (2000). Shifting Spirits: Ancestral Constructs in the Postmodern Writing of John Edgar Wideman. African American Review, 34(2), 249-262.
Martin, Charles D. (2002). The White African American Body: A Cultural and Literary Exploration. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.
Rushdy, Ashraf H. A. (1991). Fraternal Blues: John Edgar Wideman’s Homewood Trilogy. Contemporary Literature, 32(3), 312-345.
TuSmith, B. (1993). The Inscrutable Albino’ in Contemporary Ethnic Literature. Amerasia Journal, 19(3), 85-102.
TuSmith, B. (1994). All My Relatives: Community in Contemporary Ethnic American Literatures. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P.
Wideman, John Edgar. (1983). Sent for you Yesterday. New York, N.Y: Avon Books.
Wideman, John Edgar. (1998). Conversations with John Edgar Wideman. Mississippi: UP of Mississippi.
- There are currently no refbacks.
If you have already registered in Journal A and plan to submit article(s) to Journal B, please click the CATEGORIES, or JOURNALS A-Z on the right side of the "HOME".
We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
Address: 758, 77e AV, Laval, Quebec, H7V 4A8, Canada
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com