Whiteness in Lila Quintero Weaver’s “Darkroom”: Part II

In the last post, I discussed how Lila Quintero Weaver’s Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White highlights the ways that whiteness and racism seep into the community consciousness. Today, I want to look at how Weaver’s Darkroom shows the intricate entanglements of whiteness, specifically with Weaver and her family. Weaver’s family is from Argentina, and they are immigrants to America. In the first half of Darkroom, Weaver details the clashing of Argentinian and American culture. She details American ideals of beauty that her sister bought in to, and she details American tropes of adolescence. However, she acutely points out the ways that whiteness works. Some view her and her family as white, others don’t.

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Whiteness in Lila Quintero Weaver’s “Darkroom”: Part I

During the fall semester, a student told me about on of her classes where the professor was using Lila Quintero Weaver’s Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White in the course. The student told me about Weaver’s book, and I immediately became interested in reading it. Finally, I picked up a copy and read it. In Darkroom, Weaver details her family’s experiences during the Civil Right Movement on Marion, Alabama centering on the events of 1965. As well, she chronicles her family’s immigration from Argentina to the United States, and she explores themes such as western ideas of beauty, fear of losing one’s culture, fear of cultural exchange, xenophobia, and more. All of these coalesce in an examination of whiteness, specifically Eurocentric whiteness. Today, I want to look at a couple of sections that highlight this theme in Darkroom.

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The Master Race? Xenophobia and Racism in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

This post originally appeared over at Pedagogy and American Literary Studies on November 19, 2018. 

During a public meeting on November 13, 2018, a white county commissioner in Leavenworth County Kansas told Triveece Penelton, a Black city planner, “I don’t want you to think I’m picking on you, because, we’re part of the master race…You know you got a gap in your teeth, we’re the masters, don’t ever forget that.” The commissioner’s comments do not sound far removed from those of Tom Buchanan in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby or removed from the president’s xenophobic and racist comments about refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Fitzgerald’s novel serves as a counter to these ideas of a “master race” through its depiction of Tom Buchanan and his beliefs in the superiority of the Nordic race.

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The Narcissism of White Supremacy

Every time I listen to Propaganda and Sho Baraka’s “Cynical,” new lines stick out to me. This time, the first few lines of Sho Baraka’s verse jumped out, mainly because of the ways they relate to a lot of my recent posts about the effects of racism on children, especially white children who imbibe racist ideas and white supremacy then regurgitate it, generation after generation. Today, I want to briefly look at Sho Baraka’s verse and ay Lillian Smith and Paula Snelling’s essay “The World: Our Children’s Home” from the Spring-Summer 1944 issue of South Today. Each of these texts points out the ways that supremacy gets transmitted and seeps into countless lives.

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Lillian E. Smith Center LibGuide

One of the things I enjoy doing is creating pedagogical materials for educators, students, and the general public. When I worked at the Ernest J. Gaines Center, I collaborated on the center’s LibGuide (library guide). In my position as the director of the Lillian E. Smith Center, I taken on a similar project constructing a LibGuide for Smith and some of her works. Today, I want to share my thought process in creating each LibGuide and some of the sources I chose to include for the LES LibGuide.

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