The article we read for today’s class is Recitatif by Toni Morrison. The story happens between two girls Twyla and Roberta who are from different races. When I read this article last night, I hazily thought Twyla is the white girl and Roberta is the black girl. However, in class participation project, I was divided into the group which was asked to argue for the opposite position as I initially thought.
Honestly, I felt unconfident to participate today’s class project at first. I thought I was not able to make any convincing arguments about their races, not only because I initially thought in the other way, but also because I was afraid to say something like a “racist”.
If I read the article without knowing the identities of these two girls and analyze their characteristics regardless of their races, I am confident to make arguments about their different personalities.
If I make the predictions about the two girls identities based on their social economic statuses or other personal differences, my prediction is formed upon my personal impression of how the society looks like during that time and the information from previous readings we did for this class – rather than call it stereotype, I could just weakly defend myself like this.
However, if I try to match or generalize an individual’s personality to races’ characteristics, I think I am actually forming stereotypes through this generalization processes, which I feel uncomfortable to do.
I think the author Toni Morrison deliberately wrote this article without any direct objective proof of the two girls’ identities, because she wanted to encourage people to read the same stories in the different ways as they used to – challenging their own stereotypes. Definitely, as one of the readers of Recitatif, I was pushed to challenge my own stereotypes too. Maybe, that is the reason I am not comfortable to talk about the issue, although I was not willing to pick a position at first.