By Susan Gubar
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Extra info for Critical Condition, Feminism at the Turn of the Century (Gender and Culture)
I am sure you did not realize this” card deployed by a light-skinned man or woman would not work exactly the same way as Piper’s since the person whose whiteness automatically trumps other suits need neither shuffle nor deal to win. Transmuting liability to asset and back again into liability, Piper’s race card confronts the perplexing conjunction between minority identity and injury for people who know they haven’t been dealt the “full deck” that would make playing the card unnecessary.
An America symbolized by a white Liberty white-washes the devastating past her dark double memorializes. The connection between the red-rimmed (rising or setting) sun on the horizon and the bloody waves, the ill wind that links Liberty’s foregrounded torch with the smoke and fog of the backgrounded flames declare that the wretched refuse of America’s teeming shore may be doomed rather than exalted. In the roiling waters of the Atlantic, African Americans will be forced to melt out of existence.
Awareness of shared racial (or, for that matter, sexual or ethnic or class) backgrounds could function to unite people struggling against prejudice. Since one ’s origins presumably authenticated one ’s political attitudes, discussions of subjectivities were replaced by attention to the position from which subjects wrote or spoke. 3 Recently, this type of identity politics has come under attack by feminists who chafe against its pigeon-holing, but who also refuse to return to the wornout assumptions of assimilation.