Analyze the ways that whiteness is being constructed while being the object of critical scrutiny in Caucasia.

joyce1jordan | Student

When the character, Birdie, becomes a hybrid spectacle under a magnifying glass with the ‘Black power’ lens, perceptions of the product of intergradation becomes an unacceptable species. Her white skin and flaxen hair inherited through her white mother’s genes are attributes of what her mother says is an “evil line” (p. 21) in rejection of the white grandmother who symbolizes “a noble line” (p. 21). Birdie’s white heritage is disregarded by her parents, her parents’ friends, and her sister. Deck Lee, her father, uses the offensive slang term “ofay” (p. 9) in her presence to refer to white people as an overt show of denial of her mixed origin. The oppression of white is blatant in the scene from Chapter Two where the riffles hold the pillows hostage (p. 13). The riffles represent the Black revolution, and the soft pillows being overpowered are the half-breeds, Birdie and Redbone. Deck calls Redbone a “…fake-ass half-breed motherfucker” (p. 14), a comment befitting of Birdie as well since she is a ‘half-breed’. Redbone speaks as if being white is a curse when he attempts to recover from the insult by saying, “…You’re the one with the white daughter” (p. 14). Birdie is surrounded with rich Black heritage: afros, peace signs, Motown, and the Bump, but this garden of culture is a shoe that does not fit leaving her “barefoot wearing mom’s T-shirt” (p. 20). “My sister is black” (p. 40), protests Cole, but Birdie is a spectacle in the midst of Black power because she’s of a different variety and her mom says she looks Sicilian.

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