Critical Race Narratives: A Study of Race, Rhetoric and by Carl Gutierrez-Jones

By Carl Gutierrez-Jones

The beating of Rodney King, the killing of Amadou Diallo, and the LAPD Rampart Scandal: those occasions were interpreted by way of the courts, the media and the general public in dramatically conflicting methods. Critical Race Narratives examines what's at stake in those conflicts and, in so doing, rethinks racial strife within the usa as a highly-charged fight over diverse equipment of analyzing and writing.

Focusing particularly at the perform and theorization of narrative concepts, Gutiérrez-Jones engages a number of the such a lot influential texts within the fresh race debatesincluding The Bell Curve, the United States in Black and White, The Alchemy of Race and Rights, and The Mismeasure of guy. within the procedure, Critical Race Narratives pursues key questions posed by way of the texts as they paintings inside, or opposed to, disciplinary expectancies: can serious engagements with narrative let a extra democratic discussion concerning race? what promise does such experimentation carry for operating during the demanding legacy of racism within the usa? all through, Critical Race Narratives initiates a well timed discussion among race-focused narrative scan in scholarly writing and comparable paintings in literary texts and well known culture.

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These projects have been exploring, among other things, transferential dynamics as they affect writings about the Holocaust and its representation as a highly charged, “limit” historical event. ” At stake in both endeavors are questions about how to engage injuries without uncritically repeating their damage. The field of common sense regarding injury makes it possible for highly diverse critiques—including those cited here—to find expression 33 the contours of the contemp or ary r ace debate in what appears to be a relatively consistent set of rhetorical moves.

Identity politics” in particular. Brown begins with the notion that identity politics has built itself around a concept of injury defined precisely in terms of a purported exclusion from a liberal ideal. In turn, remedies in this scenario entail a normalizing of the differences that were taken to be the basis of exclusionary and 37 the contours of the contemp or ary r ace debate discriminatory acts. Brown’s opening question, then, is why “radical” political efforts settle for registering injury in this way—why, in other words, would such efforts settle for assimilating injuries into an unscathed liberal political dynamic frequently oriented to gobble up differences in the structure of a bureaucratic regime?

His results, however, are fairly consistent with this camp. First, race and racism are assumed to constitute a pathology that is ultimately ancillary to the development of Western civilization and thought. In this sense, race and racism are, conceptually speaking, accidents of history that do not call on D’Souza to challenge at all terms like “civilization,” “barbarism,” or the “empirical” for the ways they may have been affected by race dynamics (or “ideologies”). Second, the key factor of racial injury is not the larger, more advanced 29 the contours of the contemp or ary r ace debate segment of society, but rather the black underclass which, according to D’Souza, chooses to partake in a social regression which ultimately injures the society as a whole.

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