White Spaces : White Space

Better Essays

White spaces trump black experience in Suzan-Lori Parks’s Topdog/Underdog and Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun. According to Elijah Anderson, a Yale professor specializing in black sociology, the domination and subjugation of black experiences in white spaces is a normalized practice: “White people typically avoid black space, but black people are required to navigate the white space as a condition of their experience” (Anderson 10). These aforementioned ‘white spaces’ are defined as any space that is overwhelmingly white and often feel “off limits” for black bodies (Anderson 14). No moment in either of these two plays better encapsulates the sentiment of “off limit” spaces than Lindner’s visit to the Youngers’ home in Raisin in the …show more content…

That’s right. Care for something to drink? Ruth, get Mr. Lindner a beer.
LINDNER. (Upset for some reason) Oh—no, really. I mean thank you very much, but no thank you.
RUTH. (Innocently) Some coffee?
LINDNER. Thank you, nothing at all.
(BENEATHA is watching the man carefully)
LINDNER. Well, I don’t know how much you folks know about our organization. (He is a gentle man; thoughtful and somewhat labored in his manner) It is one of these community organizations set up to look after—oh, you know, things like block upkeep and special projects and we also have what we call our New Neighbors Orientation Committee… (76-77).
The simple offerings of a beer by Walter and coffee by Ruth visibly upset him. Lindner goes on to reject the space with every offer made to him by the Youngers. It becomes clear that Lindner’s frustration is directly correlated with the fact that his mere presence implies he must acquiesce to the black space in an effort to protect his own white space—an experience that Anderson writes as all too similar for the black America, but clearly a difficult feat for Lindner as he struggles to politely reject the Youngers’ beer, coffee, and blackness. The hateful sentiment of Lindner’s efforts to maintain the sanctity of his white spaces goes even

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