Essay about Caucasia written by Danzy Senna

Essay about Caucasia written by Danzy Senna

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Although society advocates believing in a ‘sameness’ between people who are black or white, individuals are still organized by race, class, gender and sexuality into social hierarchies. These hierarchies essentially formulate stigmas that suppress certain races and discriminate against them. Caucasia written by Danzy Senna is focused around a young mixed girl, Birdie, who encounters obstacles in her life that help her form her own perceptions about issues regarding class, race, and sexuality. These obstacles fundamentally shape her to have a unique outlook on society where she begins to question white privilege and also sympathize towards the mistreatment of black individuals. Senna explores the fundamental problems that are associated with race, and the struggles that a diasporic individual faces due to the restrictions set by society. Although Birdie is a mix of both black and white, she is overlooked as a “white” girl, which has its fair share of benefits as well as hardships.
Caucasia examines how each individual formulates an identity with him or herself. The author portrays how the individuality of oneself is socially constructed, as individuals are forever pressured to conform to acceptable behaviours. Birdie’s identity is shaped on how other members of society perceive her, and she wants to fit those notions and be accepted. She is confused about her identity because of the different qualities that she inherits from both the “white” and “black” communities. It is evident that society will only judge an individual based on the colour of a person’s skin; a person of white complexion is at the top of the hierarchy, while a darker skin tone is accepted to be at a lower point in social hierarchy. Both Birdie and Cole are r...


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...rom her.
For a diasporic individual, it is difficult for them to fit into a society which is predominantly white, as they may feel they do not fit in as white or black. It can be confusing for these individuals to form an identity, and when they do, it is usually formed by a number of different experiences they encounter throughout their lives. These differences between race, class, and gender will be diminished once society stops categorizing individuals into hierarchies, and diasporic individuals will stop having to pass as one race or another.



Works Cited

Senna, D. ( 1998). Caucasia. New York: Penguin Group.
Grossberg, L., Nelson, C., & Treichler, P. A. (1992). Representing whiteness in black imagination. Cultural studies (pp. 338-346). New York: Routledge.
Hall, S. (1995). Diasporas. from "routes" to roots (pp. 427-428). new york: oxford university press.

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