Racial Beauty: African-Americans Essay

530 Words 3 Pages
African-Americans are represented as people who suffer from white people othering, internalizing the white beauty ideal and scapegoating, which convinces them they are inferior to white people.
African-Americans feel unworthy to white people, as a result of white people trying to distance themselves as far as possible from African-Americans. White people want to have clear boundaries between me and not-me, in order to retain their identity. In The Bluest Eye, African-Americans function as the ‘Other’, thereby representing everything that white people do not want to be. However, without the Other, there is no self; without black, there is no white. People that consider themselves to be better than African-Americans can only feel so by
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Later in the novel, Claudia explains that this type of identifying oneself is all an illusion by admitting that ‘we rearranged lies and called it truth (Morrison 163)’. Morrison argues here that othering, and thus anti-black racism, is based on an illusion. The excruciating side of the story to the reader is, therefore, that actions based on fantasies can have soul-destroying consequences, like African-Americans actually believing it is true.
Much of the force of African-American people feeling inferior to white people comes from the internalization of white beauty standards. First of all, Morrison sinuates the fact that even schools in those times were oppressing African-American children and teaching them to loath themselves. She does this by using the Dick-and-Jane narrative that was a part of basic American education, which implies one can only be successful and happy when one is white. When African-American children get confronted with such racist implications at such a young age, it will only strengthen their feelings that they, indeed, are worthless. Secondly, Morrison criticises the film industry for only transmitting the Anglo-Saxon beauty standards, which makes it almost impossible for African-American women like Pauline to acknowledge their own beauty. Pauline absorbs the white standards that are imposed at the cinema, which makes her think she knows ‘all there was to love and all there was to hate’. Therefore,

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