Saturday, October 18, 2014


This weeks assignment-to determine the race of each girl-was difficult. I read Recitatif, by Toni Morrison several times to make a determination about who was Black and who was White.  I thought Twyla was Black and Roberta was White.  The first sign of racism was when the girls' mothers met at the shelter.  Roberta's mother, "...looked down at me and the looked down at Mary too." (3545) She grabs Roberta's hand and walks to the back of the line.  The inference to me was Roberts's mother was looking down on them not only because she was so tall but because of Twyla's race. Later, when the girls are older they met at Howard Johnsons were Twyla is a waitress.  Several things in this encounter pointed to race. The first was Roberta was on her way to the coast to see Hendrix, which had a mostly white following.  Twyla is once again in the position of being looked down on, she is snubbed by Roberta.  Roberta  does not seem to want to talk to Twyla.  She laughs about the town Twyla lives in.  She doesn't invite her to sit down with them,"A silence it was her turn to fill up. With introductions, maybe, to her boyfriends or an invitation to sit down and have a Coke." (3546)  Roberta seems to be uncomfortable and embarrassed by Twyla and their friendship.  The next meeting between them is at the gourment grocery store, not the kind of grocery store that Twyla normally shops in.  As they are talking and catching up, Roberta says she lives in Annandale. Twyla wonders to herself how did Roberta go from Hendrix to a,"...neighborhood full of doctors and IBM executives."(3548) Roberta and her husband are probably white because of the neighborhood they live in and he is executive at IBM, there were not many if any Black executives at IBM in the 1970s. Twyla also thinks to herself,"Everything is so easy for them. They think they own the world." (3548) I took that as a reference to living in a world dominated by White people and how they seem to be able to have whatever they want. The next exchange between the two is the picket line where Roberta is opposed to busing and integration. Roberta says, "Well, it is a free country." (3551) Twyla's response is," Not yet, but it will be."(3551).  Twyla does not see the world as free because of racism but she is hopeful that things will change.  The last meeting between the two women at the diner has Roberta asking what happened to Maggie.  Roberta is feeling guilty about her prejudge toward Maggie, who is Black, and that fact she never helped Maggie.  A collective guilt of one race regarding the other race.

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