Toni Morrison's Sula - Black on White Violence Advocated in Sula

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Black on White Violence Advocated in Sula

"And white women? They chase you [black men] to every corner of the earth, feel for you under every bed. I knew a white woman wouldn't leave the house after six o'clock for fear one of you would snatch her.… They think rape soon's they see you, and if they don't get the rape they looking for, they scream it anyway just so the search won't be in vain." (Morrison)

This is how Sula, the heroine of Toni Morrison's novel, refers to what she feels to be every white woman's secret desire to be raped by a black man.

Morrison--who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1988--is one of the most assigned writers in college literature courses today, and her novel Sula (1973) is certainly the most
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When he wondered, will those people ever be anything but animals, fit for nothing but substitutes for mules, only mules didn't kill each other the way niggers did."

For the black townspeople in Sula, whites are just another disease or natural disaster: "The purpose of evil was to survive it and they determined...to survive floods, white people, tuberculosis, famine and ignorance."

How do today's black male students feel when they read such novels in their college courses? Do they thirst for revenge against the white man and his woman--a woman who, no matter how much she may protest to the contrary, is--to use Morrison's phrase--"looking for" it anyway? Writers like Morrison stoke the twin flames of lust and racial hatred that burn in the heart of such black men as Eldridge Cleaver, who in his autobiography, Soul on Ice (1968--winner of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Prize), writes that "as a matter of principle, it was of paramount importance for me to have an antagonistic, ruthless attitude toward white women....I became a rapist.…I crossed the tracks and
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