Cultural Studies: Volume 9 Issue 2: Special issue: Toni by L. Grossberg

By L. Grossberg

Cultural reviews is a world magazine dedicated to exploring the relationships among cultural practices and daily life, fiscal kinfolk, the fabric global, the nation, and ancient forces and contexts.

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Extra resources for Cultural Studies: Volume 9 Issue 2: Special issue: Toni Morrison and the Curriculum, edited by Warren Crichton and Cameron McCarthy

Example text

Such, in fact, was also the condition of the minority academic, it was argued. No consensus was reached. I came away from the Institute with deepened gloom, having left most of my questions about my Morrison classroom unanswered. It seemed that since ‘ethnicity’ appeared undifferentiated to a majority of the participants, or since ‘Afrocentrism’ seemed to be a single dominant paradigm of ‘ethnicity’ to some African American colleagues, ‘Afrocentrism’ or some other centric position remained the only possibility.

This tokenization extends to the multicultural establishment. The marriage of tokenism and essentialism establishes all minority groups as identical, requires them to fit a uniform, utopic construct, and drives out the language of diversity and multi-vocality central to the conditions of being ‘third world’ or ‘minority’, in addition to being female and feminist, in America today. Tokenization and subtle rewarding of malleable minorities who willingly remodel themselves according to the hegemonic imperative creates tension that is very visible today in minority identity politics.

Perez, 1993:270–1) Consider, for example, the ways in which ‘minority’ or ‘at risk’ students are cordoned off from the rest of the incoming class every year in ‘minority orientations’ at certain institutions. Reflected in one another’s eyes, the students clearly see the homogeneous (and problematic) identity that the university uniformly thrusts on them. They also clearly see their status as ‘special’ and ‘inferior’ when they are taught basic life skills in classes in the face of their tired and repeated protests that nobody need be taught that they must get up, or that they must sleep.

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