Conceptualizing Black Identity
In both articles, “Introduction” by Leslie Sanders and “Limitations of Life” by Langston Hughes, plights of black writers as well as professional artists are put under intense test. It is perceived that while black writers enjoy freedom in the manner in which they depict Negroes their white counterparts are perceived to be racists when they write about them. This is similar in the film industry whereby black actors are perceived as buffoons and loyal servants. It is noted that African-American fraternity are over-sensitive on matters race and, in most cases, they have been challenged to prove otherwise. Also, white writers claim that the black community has long been made subject of their own stereotyping. Further, it is assumed that black writers’ main asset is their ability to write and depict Negroes’ heritage in a freer manner as compared to their white counterparts.
According to Sander’s study, black community faced such issues as racial stereotyping in which they were portrayed as buffoons and non-inquisitive servants to their superior white masters. Also, blacks are considered oversensitive on matters race since they dread negative depiction and in most cases will shy away from a rather positive richness that comes-up with being a Negro.
The three solutions put forward by Sanders are that for one, an artist should strive to separate the imaginative world, which is a common attribute to artistic portrayals, from articulated meanings. Another solution is dependent upon the possibility of America, as a single society, choosing an independent culture which disregards color and in that sense disqualifying race as a basis for which insight is determined. Consequently, artists are also expected to reverse the old model of perception which metaphorically portrayed African-American characters and instead impact the metaphor to white characters (Sanders 3).
Both Sanders and Hughes advocate for reversing the initial metaphor which was attributed to the black fraternity and instead impact it on the white character. Hughes is accredited with this metaphorical aspect since he utilizes metaphors in depicting exorcism of false images in theaters. For instance, in his playwright “Limitations of Life” he uses a white house-help character (Audette) who adores colored people. In my opinion, I think that this strategy is not effective since the audience is, in most cases, limited to conform to this perception and will involuntarily shift to the initial position as the play unfolds.