Evoke and elide / the denial of difference

Denial of difference. This was one of my original insights on the problem I am trying to work out. Creole rhetoric after independence needs black characters to serve as mediators for white ones, works to bring everyone into what Piedra calls “literary whiteness”–you can be black and write, but you have to write race-neutral. And the project of national literatures is to posit a Creole otherness against the empire, but at the same time that Creole otherness follows the logic of Hispanidad. Piedra:

“With vicious circularity, texts embedded in literary whiteness mounted a rhetorical defense of black characters, who were used as the fictional mediators for ideas too daring for whites, such as surrendering to suppressed factual differences. The “rhetorical defense” placed black characters between fact and fiction, a convenient limbo to which newcomers were often confined by the dictates of the Old World. In the New World, the black mediators eventually emerged from their textual limbo to aid other Hispanics in a common adventure: as interpreters of the nature, language, and work orders of the conquerors for the native American terra incognita.”

The enlightened New World: conservatives = Spanish models and liberals = French ones, so, if you were for progress, you placed Hispanism lower on a hierarchy while also still offering everyone opportunities to whiten by joining the linguistic unity. LANGUAGE IS RACE (Unamuno) and this does NOT mean there is not race or that language has no color: it’s white or tends that way. Even all the racial labels are linguistic recruitment into the nation, because they give you a place in its racial system. Identification as “moreno” or some middle term was encouraged to encourage assimilation to whiteness — albeit a differentiated whiteness.

All of this is somehow why race as fact and as issue must be raised and also elided. It is assimilation in hierarchy, so that racial resistance can be neutralized. You are not supposed to claim difference, but support whiteness.

I have to work these things out more still.


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