Use Of Whiteness In Dust Tracks On A Road, By Zora Neale Hurston

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Regardless of what society one derives from, when an individual is born, the community ascribes certain identity markers upon that person without their permission. Once that individual reaches an intellectual capacity to mentally understand their own existence in the world, they begin to yield the power to foster their prescribed identities, completely neglect it, or start anew. Many people hinge their entire lives on the identities society gave them, however for author-anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston, she lacked an affinity for her blackness. Rather, in her highly criticized autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Hurston inherently implies that her subscription to whiteness is what essentially helped garner her success. Hurston establishes the notion that she acquired qualities of whiteness from men…show more content…
Whenever young Hurston engaged in dialogue with her black peers, they would talk to her in ebonics and she could only respond in a formal register (27). This contrast in use of language automatically connotates that her black peers as less intelligent, polite, and proper which she covertly implies is blackness. Whereas she antithetically appears more intelligent and fit with virtue through her use of proper English which she assigns to whiteness. By the same token, Hurston not “stumbling and spelling words out” like her classmates while reading outloud to Miss Johnstone and Miss Hurd further differentiates her from connotations carried with colored people and also implicates that the inner whiteness intrinsic to her is what essentially makes her more important than her pigmented equals (35). By not partaking in the hard cussing of her environment and maintaining proper English in a community absent of it, Hurston is metaphorically shouting that she “stand[s] apart” from black-hood and marks her for success
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