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Rewriting memory: ideology of difference in the desire and demand for whiteness

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This article argues that reclamation of the memory of Blacks is the starting point in the liberation of the race. The more Africa is made to remember her place as The Wretched of the Earth, the more she is interpellated to stay in that differentiated space. That space ensures that the African is policed to follow the West. The African's sense of how he is remembered and known in that unlovable memory creates a desire for Whiteness which in/forms the (unconscious) cultural logic of the African. This is a fatal desire though. What this article uniquely asserts is that the notions of development, democracy, modernisation and globalisation reinforce this fatal desire. The article insists that trans-Atlantic slavery and colonialism were offshoots of a spirit that continues to differentiate, police and dominate the African trapped into unthinking a destiny other than Whiteness/the West. It posits difference as an ideology and a function of power. However, the onus and power to liberate Africa remain with Africans themselves more than anyone else. The article finally calls for an overthrow of a Structuralism where differentiation of the Black race finds its hotbed. It declares the seemingly innocent discourses of tourism as racist and cautions the postcolonial novel to be wary of partaking in the imprisoning of African liberty. It indeed reproves the well-meaning African writers who fight to liberate Africa while continuing to interpellate her as The Wretched of the Earth. The argument rests on the belief that most of the solutions proffered to heal the wounds of slavery and colonialism tackle consequences more than the cause unless we earnestly rewrite the memory of humanity through a liberation education.

Keywords: Whiteness; cultural logic; desire; difference; interpellation; memory reclamation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ejac.27.3.173_1

Affiliations: Department of English, University of Malawi.

Publication date: October 16, 2008

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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