Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture

By Susan Gubar | Go to book overview

PREFACE

After a dignified WASP medievalist from an Ivy League university confided in an airport bar that her eminent husband spoke "black talk" to their dog, I began to expect white people to respond to a description of my project with some kind of confession about the prominence of clandestine racial parodies in their own lives. An Irish-Catholic college administrator exhibited his perfected Stepin Fetchit shuffle; an Italian physician whispered his secret black nickname, intoning it á la Kingfish; a Jewish friend from college expressed delight that her dark complexion and kinky hair led Parisians to fete her (since her looks had only incited wary glances in the segregated neighborhood of her native Bronx); still another Jewish friend explained how bewildered (even abandoned) she felt when her sister -- who socialized only with the black friends of her African-American husband -- began identifying herself as a person of color and echoing the street cadences of the Harlem neighbors among whom she resided. "Zi Zigga ZUMbah ZUMbah ZUMbah, / Zi Zigga ZUMbah ZUMbah ZAY!": After months spent writing about the centrality of cross-racial mimicry in twentieth-century culture, I found myself less shocked, more bemused at a wedding reception when an ersatz "Zulu Warrior Chant," presumably taught to the paterfamilias of a Southern family by General Patton during the Second World War, was performed, accompanied by rhythmic hand-clapping and foot-stomping, by all his sons, sons-in-law, and grandsons.

That white people often engage in silly, sexy, sleazy, and sometimes sinister cross-racial masquerades was made manifest by impersonations that were often rendered within my extended family as well. White kids who went to inner-city schools on the East Coast did not necessarily get a better education than those who went to lily-white, small-town midwestem schools in the heart of Hoosier heaven except in one area, or so it seemed to me, comparing the extensive multiracial experiences of my friends' children with the more limited ones of my own.

Ugh! Ungowah! Your Momma needs a shower, Your Daddy needs a shave!

-xiii-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Racechanges: White Skin, Black Face in American Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 327

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.