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Position On Pym Essay

906 words - 4 pages

In order to understand an assumption, we must first understand why the assumption was made. Many times, because of society’s assumption of Whiteness and white privilege, the pathology associated with Whiteness is overlooked. People fail to take into account the negative effects that Whiteness not only has on its victims but also on the white person themselves. The negative effect of Whiteness also affects the African American community. Examples of how Whiteness can affect the African American community can be seen the Mat Johnson’s novel Pym. In the novel the main character, Chris Jaynes, constantly has to fight against the pathology of Whiteness in different aspects of his life, especially on is job. Chris Jaynes teaching position was created as a result of the pathology of Whiteness.
Chris Jaynes was hired to teach African – American literature however his passion ran deeper than the surface level conflicts of the black struggle as a writer. Jaynes wanted to teach beyond the scope of African-American literature and explore the reasons why racism was still so visible in modern times (14). The fact that African American literature is segregated from the rest of American history as to say the two are different is a result of the pathology of Whiteness. There are two different classification for works written during the same time period, with the same genre styles and in the same country, the driving force behind what classifies a work as being “African American” versus simply being “American” is the fact that the author the work was a person of color.
Chris Jaynes was fired because he no longer was teaching the “minority perspective” when in reality there shouldn’t even be a minority perspective present because it’s all American literature. The position he had as an African American literature teacher in itself creates a ground for the disease of Whiteness because any professor, regardless of race, that is teaching American literature should be able to teach all components of that genre including works written by African Americans. The president makes the comment that “everybody has a role to play” meaning that Chris Jaynes role was supposed to be to teach African American literature but provides no other reasoning besides the fact that he would be able to supply the “minority perspective”(14). Just because Jaynes identifies with and may have a similar back ground as a African American writer does not make him an expert on the subject of African American literature. Being able to identify with one form of American literature should not confine a person to teaching just the forms they relate to. However due to the pathology of Whiteness that the president has, he cannot...

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