Racial Stereotypes In Recitatif By Toni Morrison

1330 Words6 Pages
While racial stereotypes contribute to the majority of the short story “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison, Morrison uses these stereotypes to convey a much larger issue. Morrison uses the stereotypes of intelligence, social class, and the character’s behavior and attitude to break the racial code. The two characters, Twyla and Roberta, realize that it is not about race but about their experiences of relating Maggie to their mothers that makes them similar. Many readers try to figure out which character is which race and as they go through, trying to figure out these clues. All they do is realize their own stereotypes. The stereotypes in the story, makes it difficult for the readers to conclude the race of each character. People assume that the African American character would be illiterate and uneducated and the white character to be well-educated. During the time period of the story African Americans did not have access to a decent education; making it harder for them to learn just the basics. Whites had access to good education, making it easy to believe the white character is more educated. It is also believed that a person that is well educated will have a better lifestyle when they are older. A well-educated person will have a better job, paying more, and have a better opportunity to afford the means of a luxurious lifestyle. An under educated person will most likely live in poverty, struggle for their basic needs, or live in a declining neighborhood. Behavior is a harder stereo type to use to distinguish a race. Many assume that whites have an entitled attitude toward life. Whites had access to a good education and jobs, they had a “I’m better than you” attitude. On the other hand, many think African Americans were upset because of how easy it was for whites to have better access to the basic necessities such as education and housing. Intelligence plays a big role on trying to figure out which character is which race but it does not offer a definitive conclusion for either character. The story states, “We were eight years old and got F’s all the time. Me because I couldn’t remember what I read or what the teacher said. And Roberta because she couldn’t read at all and didn’t even listen to the

More about Racial Stereotypes In Recitatif By Toni Morrison

Get Access