Abstract

This essay explores black class privilege and associated questions of skin color and racial authenticity in Toni Morrison's 1997 novel, Paradise, written during a period fraught with intraracial ambivalence and confusion about what it means to be "black" in the post-Civil Rights era. In their obsession with biological racial purity, Morrison's "8-rock" characters corporealize racial authenticity, a concept that usually exists for African Americans as a cultural ideal. Paradise ultimately critiques the black nationalist desire for a "pure," and purely "authentic," form of African American identity, in the process highlighting the frequent suppression of the multiracial in authenticity discourse.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-658X
Print ISSN
0026-7724
Pages
pp. 270-296
Launched on MUSE
2006-07-20
Open Access
No
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