How It Feels to Be Colored Me Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

How It Feels to Be Colored Me book cover
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How does Zora Neale Hurston's experience with jazz music differ from her "white friends'" experience in "How It Feels to Be Colored Me"?

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Mary Sutton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I disagree with the previous educator's notion that Hurston's narrator "sometimes feels white." Indeed, "she feels just the same as everyone else," but feeling one's sense of equal value is not the same thing as "[feeling] white."

What Hurston asserts is that she is "not tragically colored":

There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood. . . . No, I do not weep at the world— I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

She does not feel like a victim of her history and even views America's obsession with black people, for better and for worse, as an honor: "It is quite exciting to hold the center of the national stage, with the spectators not knowing whether to laugh or to weep." She takes a view that seems to oppose with that of W.E.B DuBois—that is, she has "no separate feeling about being an American citizen and colored."

Then, there are times when she has "no race," meaning that she...

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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