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Contesting Narratives of Failed Performance

Contesting Narratives of Failed Performance

Racial Identity and National Exceptionality

(p.107) Chapter 4 Contesting Narratives of Failed Performance
Between Distant Modernities
Brittany Powell Kennedy
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter builds upon what Paul Gilroy identifies as an inherent “double-consciousness” within modernity and exposes the performativity inherent in that experience, particularly within the racial and biological “purity” that was so violently affirmed in Francoist Spain and the Jim Crow South. Framing this chapter with African-American writer Richard Wright’s experience in what he describes as Franco’s “pagan” Spain, I examine how Spain and the South provide specific examples where racial indeterminacy compels the subject to embrace performativity as a means of shirking the expectations of “race” and “biology” thrust upon them by those perceived as “pure.”

Keywords:   Richard Wright, Pagan Spain, Racial purity, Double consciousness, Black Atlantic

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