Dutchman Essay

Dutchman Essay - Steve Shaffer Devine English 4W (11) 13...

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Steve Shaffer Devine English 4W (11) 13 December 2007 The Modern Dutchman He’s called an African-American. That is, unless he doesn’t want to be called an African-American, in which case, he’s called Black. Unless of course he doesn’t want to be called Black, in which case he’s called whatever he wants to be called. After over two years at UCLA, which my parents disdainfully call a liberal university , I’ve finally learned the golden rule of political correctness: one is labeled with the label with which one labels himself (or herself, should she choose to label herself with that label). After over two years living, working, and learning on a tremendously diverse campus, I like to think that I’ve shed my prejudices of racism, sexism, heterosexism, hair-ism, and any other –ism you can come up with. Why then, would I ever be concerned with a character like Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones) or his play Dutchman ? After all, the play has traditionally been viewed through the lens of race relations and on the assumption that White and Black are in opposition, and I’m past that; I understand the humanity of people; I’m modern. However, as is the case with most enduring works of art, Dutchman acts on more than one level. Many works of art created around the turn of the 20 th century and in the following years are intensely interested in the notion of “the primitive.” Dutchman , which was written in 1964, questions this glorified picture of “the primitive” by illuminating the violent aspect of the primitive that is conveniently overlooked by these turn-of- the-century works. Around the turn of the 20 th century and in the years that followed, a great deal of art 1 was 1 For the purposes of this paper, we will discuss mainly literary arts
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Shaffer 2 concerned with the primitive, which served to question the standardization and conformity that was taking place during this time. For example, The Professor’s House
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Dutchman Essay - Steve Shaffer Devine English 4W (11) 13...

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