Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture
In Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture, Susan Gubar, who transformed the way we think about women's literature as coauthor of the ... Show synopsis In Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture, Susan Gubar, who transformed the way we think about women's literature as coauthor of the acclaimed The Madwoman in the Attic, turns her attention to the incendiary issue of race. Acknowledging the legacy of minstrelsy, she explores cross-racial impersonations and imitations in modern American film, fiction, poetry, painting, photography, and journalism. The fascinating "racechanges" Gubar discusses include whites posing as black and blacks "passing" for white; blackface on white actors in The Jazz Singer, The Birth of a Nation, and other movies, as well as on the faces of black stage entertainers; African-American deployments of myths about the origin of color, especially in the works produced by Anne Spencer, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Zora Neale Hurston during the Harlem Renaissance; white poets, patrons, and novelists from Vachel Lindsay and Nancy Cunard to William Faulkner and John Berryman using ersatz African rhythms and African-American slang; straight and gay artists like Norman Mailer, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Lois Gould fascinated by hyper-sexualized stereotypes of black men; and narrative nightmares as well as utopian visions of families in which mothers of one race give birth to babies who look like they belong to another. With its stunning array of illustrations, including paintings, film stills, computer graphics, and magazine morphings, Racechanges gives us a new perspective on the pervasiveness of racism; but it also holds out exciting aesthetic possibilities for lessening the distance between blacks and whites.