Color Blindness in The White Boy Shuffle, by Paul Beatty Essay

Color Blindness in The White Boy Shuffle, by Paul Beatty Essay

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Generally speaking, “color blindness” is understood to be the best way to engage racial problem. This concept is revealed and discussed in Paul Beatty’s novel, "The White Boy Shuffle". The novel portrays a young African American Gunnar’s life story that mainly focuses on his experiences and identities in different places. In the part of Gunnar’s childhood life in Santa Monica when mostly surrounded by white individuals, he is continuously indoctrinated with the idea of “color blindness” which is widely advocated by people in this community in order to alleviate racism. However, with massive exposure of “color blindness” ideology and application in Mestizo Mulatto Mongrel Elementary, the novel addresses color blindness is not a practical method for dealing with racism by exhibiting awkward contradictions it creates between “color” ignorance methodology and color detectable eyesight of human nature. Based on the encounters from Gunnar in the novel, massively using the concept of “color blindness” will not change people and society’s perspective toward colored races. The superficial and ineffectiveness from this idea stress the difference between races. Implicitly, it is a new mode of racism. The only way to eliminate color-oriented issues is by acknowledging the difference between races and all amalgamate into one homogenous group.

The novel firstly shows the idea of “color blindness” by staging of a teacher’s T-shirt, the T-shirt has words “black”, “white”, “red”, “yellow”, “brown” and “human” on it, which means that color of the skin is an ignorable fact under the definition of Human being. (28) To make this idea seemingly sound to students, Ms. Cegeny further addresses it by writing “Eracism-The sun doesn’t care what color you...


... middle of paper ...


...he sacrifice is necessary. These two words indicate the current status of our society’s transformation. The process maybe painful, but the payoff will be worthwhile. The final equilibrium and balance between individuals can be accomplished by acknowledging difference without dividing races like grey harmonious elephants.

These passages are based on the development of Gunnar’s comprehension and vision about colorblindness. From a believer to a critic, from a listener to a questioner, from the above discussion incorporated, this novel rebuts toward the effectiveness of colorblindness and illustrated about the new type of racism it creates. Lastly, through Gunnar’s reading about black and white elephants, advocated an idea of combing and bonding instead of dividing.


Works Cited

Beatty, Paul. The White Boy Shuffle, Henry Holt and Company :New York, 1996. Print.

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