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The Problematics of Race and the Eternal Quest for Freedom: A Postcolonial Reading of Toni Morrison’s Novels Within the Context of the Black Lives Matter Protests

Journal: International Journal of English, Literature and Social Science (Vol.6, No. 6)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 1-10

Keywords : Black Lives Matter; Freedom; Postcolonialism; Post-racialism; Toni Morrison.;

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Reading Toni Morrison's selected novels from a postcolonial perspective and within the context of the Black Lives Matter protests (BLM), this paper examines the quest for freedom that is still a dream for the African Americans in the purportedly “post-racial” America. The idea of freedom, which is central in Morrison's novels as well as in the BLM's narrative, has been powerfully affected by slavery, racism, sexism, and classism in the American society. Morrison's narratives and the BLM movement have been remarkable for their divergent routes of the quest for freedom. Like Morrison, who condemned all racially motivated violence against black people and who has attempted, through her novels, to shake white people's collective memories out of dis-remembrance of coloured lives, the Black Lives Matter movement has denounced violence and racism and has demanded accountability from abusers. With reference to Morrison's selected novels, this paper examines how her female protagonists' quest for freedom and for a sense of self emerges from agonising experiences of marginalisation. It investigates how her novels offer a timely exploration of the traumatised Black female body that interrogates, whether Americans have entered a post-racial era. The paper argues that Morrison's novels and the Black Lives Matter protests confirm that the legacy of slavery still dictates the way Black people are seen and treated in twenty-first-century America. Ultimately, what this paper intends is to speak the unspeakable: freedom is still a dream for African American, race still matters despite the silencing effects of “post-racial” discourse.

Last modified: 2021-11-20 14:07:57