Mat Johnson's Incognegro Analysis

1836 words 8 pages
Ashley Tanner
EN101: Gateway to Literary and Cultural Studies
11/26/2009
The Portrayal Race Roles and Cultural Ideologies: The Jim Crow South vs. Johnson’s, Incognegro Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution were historical milestones in which the ever controversial topic of racial equality was first challenged. In theory, these two movements laid the groundwork for a racially equal United States of America. A country in which every member, regardless of skin color, or race were to be treated equally under the eyes of the law and to one day be treated as equals within all realms of society. As historic and powerful as these movements were, they did
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Sure. Class too. But race is just a bunch of rules meant to keep us on the bottom./Race is a strategy./The rest is just people acting. Playing Roles.”(Johnson. part 1) In addition to passing in order to reveal truths of segregation in The South, countless African Americans pretended, or “passed” as whites for many other reasons. According to Jennifer V. Jackson in her work, “Black Versus Black: The Relationship among African, African American and African Caribbean Persons”, “Passing for white offered not only opportunities, but also the opportunities white people received. During slavery, it could mean freedom. There are many documented instances of fair-skinned slaves who posed as white to escape. In modern times, it meant being able to vote in the South. It meant a job in the office rather than a job cleaning the office. It meant schools with the latest equipment and books, instead of dilapidated buildings and out-of-date texts. It often meant better housing. It meant being treated with respect, not disdain.”(Jackson.578) Thus as shown by Zane in Incognegro and the historical account previously mentioned, as it were, the cultural identity of White America in the segregation of African Americans forced African Americans to pass as white. As passing allowed African Americans to circumvent social

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