How does the young Moody understand the concepts of "blackness" and "whiteness?"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that it is as a young adolescent where Moody makes her strongest associations about "blackness" and "whiteness."  As an adolescent, she is able to see "whiteness" as a social construction of power.  Mrs. Taylor's controlling notion of power and her position on the social spectrum is one example of how "whiteness" is synonymous with power. Conversely, Moody associates "blackness" with the roles of victimization.  Examples of this would be the murder of Emmett Till, the terrorizing of people of color, as well as the manner in which denigration transpired in the South.  Part of Moody's desire to look into and even think about an association like the NAACP comes from her associating "blackness" with social marginalization and silence.  

Moody understands from an early age that "blackness" in the South is a position of silence from an authority of "whiteness" that does whatever it can to maintain its power and control.  The ability for Moody to view "blackness" and "whiteness" in such conditions is where her desire for change arises. It is in the understanding of these social constructs where Moody envisions seeing what is and transforming it into what can be.

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Coming of Age in Mississippi

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