By Jill Toliver Richardson
This bookexamines modern Afro-Latin@ literature and its depiction of the multifaceted id encompassing the separate identifications of american citizens and the often-conflicting identities of blacks and Latin@s. The Afro-Latin@ event in modern American Literature and Culture highlights the writers’ goals to outline Afro-Latin@ identification, to rewrite historic narratives so they contain the Afro-Latin@ event and to depict the quest for belonging. Their writing examines the Afro-Latin@ come across with race in the US and exposes the trauma caused by the ancient violence of colonialism and slavery.
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Extra info for The Afro-Latin@ Experience in Contemporary American Literature and Culture: Engaging Blackness
Throughout the story, Belicia’s body is used to illustrate the complex relationship of power within a white supremacist and patriarchal power structure. Francis introduces the idea of “Caribbean women’s bodies as the central battleground” in which sexual violation is used to enforce power (80). Similarly, in The Brief Wondrous Life, Beli’s body is used as a battleground over which the future of the Dominican nation is being fought. As a scholarship student at a prestigious private school, there is an outcry from the elite community when her sexual relationship with the school’s most handsome, read whitest, male student is uncovered.
Caroline Rody addresses the significance of recentering historical narratives around the experiences of women: Clearly, to tell history in a vocabulary derived solely from female experiences is to claim the past as a female realm, owned and made meaningful by the women who lived it. Historical fictions of this kind foreground that which has been most excluded from male-centered histories, considered least ‘historical’ (because most ‘natural’): the female body. (7) As Rody suggests, Díaz chooses to focus his novel on the black female characters to reframe the historical narrative and to highlight the experiences of those who are traditionally most marginalized and silenced.
Cleansing the body is another symbol for attempting to erase one’s blackness that is movingly rendered in Loida Maritza Pérez’s novel Geographies of Home. Physical appearance is especially valuable for women as a commodity in a patriarchal society, and possessing African features such as a wide nose, full lips, dark skin, or kinky hair creates feelings of guilt and shame among Afro-Latinas as Angela Jorge explains: INTRODUCTION 21 At first, it is difficult to understand why her hair and lips can bring forth such anger [from family].