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Lovable Racists, Magical Negroes, and White Messiahs - by David Ikard (Paperback)
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Why do race relations appear to be getting worse instead of better since the election and reelection of the country’s first black president? David Ikard speaks directly to us, in the first person, as a professor and father and also as self-described working-class country boy from a small town in North Carolina, His lively account teems with anecdotes?from gritty to elegant, sometimes scary, sometimes funny, sometimes endearing?that show how parasitically white identity is bound up with black identity in America. Ikard thinks critically about the emotional tenacity, political utility, and bankability of willful white blindness in the 21st century. A key to his analytic reflections on race highlights the three tropes of white supremacy which help to perpetuate willful white blindness, tropes that remain alive and well today as cultural buffers which afford whites the luxury of ignoring their racial privilege and the cost that blacks incur as a result of them. The tropes are: lovable racists, magical negroes, and white messiahs. Ikard is definitely reformist: teachers, parents, students, professors can use such tropes to resist the social and psychological dangers presented by seemingly neutral terms and values which in fact wield white normative power. The lovable racist trope encourages whites to see racism as a minor character flaw (Ikard includes commentary on the ?good” slaveowner, William Ford, in Twelve Years a Slave, and offers up examples of the veneer of lovability that attaches to xenophobic, racist presidential candidate Donald Trump). The white messiah trope serves to conflate whiteness with goodness, godliness, and other virtues (extended discussion of Santa Claus or Bill Clinton makes for fun reading, as does Ikard’s teasing out of messiah patterns in movie scripts like The Green Mile and Avatar). The magical negro trope situates blacks as mascots or surrogates for affirmations of white humanity (Uncle Tom and ****** Jim are just two examples, and President Obama employed the trope with subtlety in both of his campaigns). In general, this book investigates the tenacity and cultural capital of white redemption narratives in literature and popular media from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling book (and movie blockbuster), The Help.
Number of Pages: 148
Genre: Social Science, History
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Author: David Ikard
Street Date: October 19, 2017
Item Number (DPCI): 248-48-5109
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