Consciousness for Justice and Question of Racial Perception: A Critical Study in Multicultural Identities Context

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Jayshree Singh


The characters of James McBride, Toni Morrison and Mohsin Hamid’s novels struggle with their self- esteem and pride as well as with their conflicting cultural due to the harrowing ordeal of polarization, humiliation, hardships and racial sickness. Toni Morrison is a renowned African- American novelist who wrote elaborately in context of black women, her feelings, her self- contradictions. The Bluest Eye, Beloved reveal detailed analysis of these characters who portray the situation after post- civil era. It reflected pain, inner conflicts in regard to race, skin colour. Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye and Beloved problematize existential survival of men, women or children as African - Americans in the social milieu of discrimination and deprivation in the society of Whites in America and within the community of Blacks. .  James McBride, distinguished novelist and a resident of New York City, is a writer of memorable memoir The Color of Water. His other works include Miracle at St. Anna, Song Yet Sung. He reflected on an eye- opening picture of America. James McBride’s memoir The Color of Water visualize the harmonious existence of multi-ethnics even in the environment that inflict alienation and marginalisation on minority on account of being African- American or Jewish – American in America.  Mohsin Hamid is a Pakistani writer who spent his childhood in the United States. He has stayed in Lahore, London, New York and California. He studied under Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Vates in Princeton University. His works include Moth Smoke, Reluctant Fundamentalist, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. Mohsin Hamid has interpreted conflicting ideologies of multi-ethnic identities. His character in the novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a Pakistani national, seeking fortune in America. The author questions the perception and suspicion of hegemonic whites of America who determined his life or death. The proposed theme attempts to cover The Best African American Essays: 2009 edited by Gerald Early and Debraj. J. Dickerson and Doris Lessings’  ‘The Sun between Their Feet’- Collected African Stories. Both the texts create opportunity for change. A voluminous literature describes the diffusion, employment and efficacy of movement repertoire” (Armstrong, Elizabeth A. 2002). These texts emphasized blacks consciousness, their struggle, their nationalism, their power in multicultural lives, their efforts of self-determination regarding their sustenance, their shift and their conflict as regards their preservation of culture. The theory of how black studies played in the dark images of blackness in not only the literature written by whites but also by African-Americans or by Africans has become a matter of problem framing discourse. The above mentioned texts leave immense scope to expostulate the historical shift in race relations; for understanding of cultural fusion; highlighting immigrant adaptation, multiculturalism and identity management in different immigrant groups in America or in Africa itself. The study becomes interesting from the point of self-conceptions, individual challenges, their renegotiation with the prevelant socio-political, legal environment that portrays their  self-valorisation, validation of their memory, space and image, their vehemence against racial discrimination, their disillusionment to imitate whites’ standards and last but the least their fight against segregation within themselves and with whites. These books reveal contrast between homogenization of ethnic group and mobilization of cultural hegemony in context of perception and attitude of whites and blacks respectively. Hence these texts pose a challenge to the previous ethnic canons that romance with cultural relativity and historiography of the text that “has conveyed a picture of Black people as being docile and imitative, stupid and parasitic children, primitives and buffoons” (Wright, Bobby. 1969)

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Literature facing the challenges of racial divides, re-imagining justice