Themes Of Racism And White Privilege

939 WordsNov 9, 20154 Pages
In Kindred, Octavia Butler uses characters and events to symbolize parts of larger themes of racism and white privilege in the story. Kevin is a symbol of the complicated relationship that white America has with black Americans. Kevin believes that he is not racist, yet his actions betray an unconscious prejudice towards African-Americans. This is evident when Kevin reacts angrily when Dana refuses to type up his writing for him. “He really had asked me to do some typing for him three times. I’d done it the first time, grudgingly, not telling him how much I hated typing, how I did all but the final drafts of my stories in longhand. That was why I was with a blue-collar agency instead of a white-collar agency. The second time he asked, though, I told him, and I refused. He was annoyed. The third time when I refused again, he was angry.” (Butler 109) Kevin does not see that Dana has a choice whether or not to do this typing for him, and feels entitled to her time and labor. Another instance in which Kevin feels entitled to her time is when they first meet. “‘Buz told me you were a writer,’ said the voice that I thought had gone away. ‘Look, I can’t count with you talking to me.’ I pulled out a tray full of large screws—twenty-five to a box. ‘Take a break’” (53) Kevin ignores Dana’s request for him to leave her alone, and pesters her. Kevin assumed that he knew what Dana needed to do better than she did, and decided that whatever she wanted did not matter. Though he may have
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