Black Is Not Right; Neither Is White

21 Feb


By the end of Black No More, it seems, George Schuyler normalizes the appreciation of blackness. But, this is not an easy claim to argue. There are two things to be taken in consideration when embracing such a view.

First, did the early twentieth-century American society need all that shocking chaos to come at that result? Couldn’t the “race problem” be solved in any other way? In the opening chapter of the novel, Max Disher and Bunny Brown, his sidekick, showed interest in following white women only. They had no interest in black women at all. In the concluding chapter, yet, it was stated that girls without stained skin were avoided by the young men, and, similarly, young men without stained skin were at “a decided disadvantage.”

The novel went to satirically discuss what drastic change has happened between the two periods of time. It depicted how the country was severely affected by the color codes its people used to maintain. As we progress in reading the novel, we learn that not only Max Disher and his friends were those who concerned themselves with their color. The whole country seemed to fall into a devastating chaos, on almost every level, that has been caused been the mania of the “shade” of color. Science has played a major role in that economic and social chaos, explicitly because it was approached by “minds” that were sick with racial discrimination.

I can consider George Schuyler’s Black No More as a novel of an apocalyptic nature. Although it doesn’t closely adhere to the tenets and tropes of the genre, but the state the country has been left in at the end of novel may suggest the end, or at least the subversion, of the American society at the hand of wrong implementations of science.

The second thing to be considered is this: Is appreciation of blackness is the alternative for worship of whiteness? Deconstructing the conceptions of the society which had always been taught to adore whiteness would never be an easy task. As we see, as the novel comes to closure, blacks become “whiter than the whites” and whiteness is “evidence of the possession of Negro blood.” Here, Schuyler is not simply turning the society racial concepts upside down. He is blowing them away, totally. And that only ends in a fearful state of uncertainty and insecurity. The society that has been obsessed with “color” is now, more dangerously, possessed with “shade.” It is a rather complex situation society has seemed to indulge into.

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