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Paper Topic:

Negritude

The Representation of the Black Woman within the Discourse of Negritude Negritude was a cultural movement initiated by the Afro- American poets living in the Caribbean Islands which aimed at the awakening of the race consciousness and the sense of identity among the black people Paralleled by other similar movements , like the Harlem Renaissance in America , Negritude endeavored to redefine the black culture and to save it from the white domineering influence that promised to absorb it in its own structures . Also , the Negritude was an anti-racist stream which criticized the white people

's attitude towards the people of a different race . One of the most important poets of Negritude was Aimy Cysaire , an Afro-American born in Martinique at the beginning of the twentieth century . The term Negritude ' was at first used and defined by him in his Notebook of a Return to a Native Land . Cysaire criticized for example , the fixed view on blackness that the white culture promoted and encouraged the Afro- Americans to value their culture as something alive . As he emphasizes , the black culture is not a stone , that is something rigid and dead but rather something alive , that plunges into the red flesh of the soil ' and that riddles with holes

my Negritude is not a stone / nor a deafness flung against the clamor of the day / my Negritude is not a white speck of dead water / on the dead eye of the earth /my Negritude is neither tower nor cathedral / it plunges into the red flesh of the soil /it plunges into the blazing flesh of the sky / my Negritude riddles with holes /the dense affliction of its worthy patience . (Cysaire , 1990 , 17

However , although Negritude was an intellectual movement that was centered on learning to know and understand otherness , it failed to integrate gender as well . At the beginning , the movement was led only by male activists and , and consequently , the black women were represented strictly from the masculine perspective . Therefore , some of the black women started another movement within Negritude that could be called black feminism . They felt that neither Negritude nor Feminism represented in the right manner , since the black cultural movement was led by men and the white feminists that had already formed intellectual groups like that of Gertrude Stein for example , were actually ignorant of the condition of the black woman . The Afro- American woman had a different identity than the white woman , and faced even more discrimination from society because of her race . She was twice oppressed by the others , as a woman and as a colored person at the same time , and had no discourse of her own

Many of the male poets of the Negritude spoke of the black women in their works , but when they did , they represented them merely as mothers or lovers , that is , in the same offices that the traditionalist society had always seen them . The role of the woman was strictly that of the mother or wife of man...

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