African American Literature Toni Morrisons Essay Black Matters

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African American Literature Toni Morrisons Essay Black Matters In Black Matters, Toni Morrison discusses "knowledge" and how it seems to take on a Eurocentric standpoint. The "knowledge" she discusses is the traditional literature that is "unshaped by the four-hundred-year-old presence of the first Africans and then African-Americans in the United States" (Morrison 310). Morrison also addresses the treatment of African Americans in current society dealing with "racial discourse" (311), in addition, to ignoring matters of race. Morrison strongly argues that the traditional canon, taught and respected by much of society, ignores black's contribution to society. She is also concerned with the lack of true African representation within the American canon, and says that what is within our American literature is an "invented Africa". Morrison states, "American literature has been clearly the preserve of white male views, genius, and power, those views, genius, and power are removed from and without relationship to the presence of black people in the United States" (310). I agree with Morrison, these inequalities do ignore the importance of black experience. In today's society, why does the majority of teachers (K-12) only incorporate African American literature (writers) during the month of February? Is it because February is Black History month? As a child I learned and read about the black experience either at home or only during the month of February. Because of this, I always saw (or thought) whites as being the norm for literature in the school's curriculum. Along with treating white Americans as the norm, Morrison illustrates that American literature portrays the black experience as insignificant and unworthy of attention. ... ... middle of paper ... ...s black presence is central to any understanding of our national literature," (310). In looking closely at "blackness," one will discover his or her "whiteness" (311). I strongly feel that studying the African-American experience in literature will greatly change or shape society and help all Americans learn about their history. The connection between all Americans, whether black or white, will encourage pride and a true knowledge about the black experience. If we achieve this, we may achieve "a deeper, richer, more complex life than the sanitized one commonly presented to us" (322). Morrison, Toni. "Black Matters." Falling into Theory. Ed. Richter. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 310-322. Faulkner, William. "A Rose for Emily." The Compact Bedford Induction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2000. 71-77.
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