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Jerry Goure

EWRT-2
12. December 2013

Reading Notes - Seeing A Color-Blind Future


CHAPTER 1 spectacle, which utterly fails to portray
“ordinary black life.” (p. 18)
The Emperor's New Clothes
• The author cites the examples of Alex
• The author's son refusal to acknowledge Kelly and John DuPont as counterpoint to
the color of anything is used to illustrate the Simpson trial. Here, the white
the larger problem, which is society's defendants were not in any way set up as
frequent refusal to admit race is an issue. examples of white people. (p. 19)
(p. 4)
• The author generalizes the issue to cultural
• The author's experience taking her son to voyeurism, discussing the tours to
day-care is used to illustrate how blackness churches in Harlem. She cites a personal
is branded upon people, often by white account for emphasis. (pp. 21-22 [-25,
people who themselves never defined race really])
as in personal terms. (p.7)
• Anatole Broyard's experience passing in
• The author uses the example of the people order “to be a writer, not a black writer”
of Tierra del Fuego to illustrate the power highlights the nature of race. (pp. 29-30)
of the public secret, then applies the
concept to race in the U.S. It is an CHAPTER 3
appropriate way of interpreting the
attitudes of many people, who claim that The Distribution of Distress
race does not enter into their world-view at
• The author recounts another personal tale,
all.(pp. 11-12)
in a juice bar some years past, to show that
• The author own experience during the train “the revolving door of revulsions is one of
ride from NY to DC is striking. Though the trickiest mechanisms contributing to
somewhat of a diversion from her earlier the enduring nature of prejudice.” (p. 31)
topic – the problems of ignoring the legacy
of slavery and colonialism when discussing • “...our 'isms' are no less insidious when
race – it makes clear the pervasive and beautifully polished and terribly refined”
persistent nature of prejudiced thinking. (p. 33)
(pp. 14-15) • Fact: “for a supposedly classless society,
the United States nevertheless suffers the
CHAPTER 2 greatest gap of any industrialized nation
between its richest and poorest citizens.”
The Pantomime of Race What are the statistics, exactly? (p. 34)
• O.J. mania as the ultimate in sublimated
• The author tries to connect the race-class
racial debate. The author contends that a
issue to race-accent issue. She appeals to
lot of racial tension is rooted in the
her academic colleague's research to

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Jerry Goure

illustrate the role race plays in our CHAPTER 5


understanding of a person's speech, or lack
thereof. I take this to mean that race in An Ordinary Brilliance: Parting the
general, including such particulars as Waters, Closing the Wounds
accent, alters the context of any interaction. • Summary: Race is not a cipher for poverty,
(p. 36) disease, bestiality, or for the whole of life.
• The author's house-buying experience, and (pp. 62-63)
her childhood experience as her • The “seesawing” between fatalism about
neighborhood became all-black illustrate racism and “frenetically applied” quick
the fear white people have of blacks and fixes only makes matters worse (p. 64)
“the silent trade in black worth” (pp. 38-
43)
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CHAPTER 4 ——————————————————
The War Between the Worlds ——————————————————
• Good literary device, using the overheard ——————————————————
argument as a jumping-off point for the ——————————————————
loaded remarks used in the race debate.
(pp. 47-48) ——————————————————
• Pseudoscience is at issue here, because it is ——————————————————
so hard to disprove, and continues to be the ——————————————————
basis for prejudice over and over again.
(pp. 49- ——————————————————

• “Black people seem to be emerging as a ——————————————————


kind of great global surplus, now that we ——————————————————
are no longer chattels and in demand as
such.” The example is the expansion of the ——————————————————
prison system in the U.S. (p. 57) ——————————————————
• Reiterate the pervasiveness of “blackness” ——————————————————
vs. the invisibility of “whiteness” with the
——————————————————
example of the supermodels who were
“whited up” to make race “disappear”, as ——————————————————
one observer noted. (p. 59)
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