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The definition of intersectionality states that it is the social theory suggesting various socially and culturally constructed categories of discrimination interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality. Intersectionality holds that the classical models of oppression within society, such as those based on race/ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, class, or disability do not act independently of one another; instead, these forms of oppression interrelate creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination.
I think the author intended to include intersectionality in the story to show that people have the tendency to categorize others immediately without even getting to know them. As humans we judge others way too much for our own good and we don’t even realize we are doing it majority of the time. I think Morrison’s main purpose in Recitatif is to make the reader a lot more aware of their stereotypical judgements about different races based on the use of different signs that Twyla and Roberta display as characters throughout the story.
By writing with this technique of using hidden signs in the text it makes the reader begin to try to naturally figure out the races of Twyla and Roberta. She also includes things in this story such as their views on intelligence, physical appearance, racial tensions, wealth and social class. I think Morrison hopes to make her readers aware that we are all guilty of using stereotypes that this society has created for us.
It’s just what we have known all our lives. Maybe a learned behavior from our parents, grandparents, or anyone we are around a lot. Everyone, even if they are racist or the most non-racist human being on earth, makes judgments on a “different” person that doesn’t fit into their “norm”.
If I had to take a guess I would say Twyla is black and Roberta is white. One part in the story Roberta says that “they never washed their hair and they smelled funny”, referring to Twyla. Roberta also said this about Twyla’s mother “She was big. Bigger than any man and on her chest was the biggest cross I’d ever seen. I swear it was six inches long each way. And in the crook of her arm was the biggest bible ever made.” This description sounds like a big African American mother because that’s what you could picture her as. Being Christian, not interested in being friends with Roberta’s mother, and storming away from her gets my mind visualizing that she is the attitude black big momma type of woman. Another thing I decided to look at to help me decide was their names. As the story goes on it gets harder to keep the same the same thought process on who’s apart of what race because of the different stereotypes and statements that are made by the characters when they continue to cross paths later in life. Also because as an individual you start to realize that you are judging and trying not to. For me that begun a whole new way of thinking and continuously changed my opinion about the reading several times At times Roberta could possibly be the black girl and Twyla could be white. In conclusion, its basically left up to you to decide who’s what race and its really going to open your eyes to how judgmental you can be and how big of a role these everyday stereotypes really have on your mind, even when it seems that you have no racism or judging in you.
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