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Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 573

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Morrison opens The Source of Self-Regard with a prayer to the victims of 9/11. There, she writes,

I have nothing to give either—except this gesture, this thread thrown between your humanity and mine: I want to hold you in my arms and as your soul got shot of its box of flesh to understand, as you have done, the wit of eternity: its gift of unhinged release tearing through the darkness of its knell.

While this passage speaks directly to the dead of that September day, Morrison is also asking us—the living—to find that “thread” between our shared humanity. That she herself italicizes “I want to hold you in my arms” suggests that she views this clause as the most essential message of the prayer. No matter who you are, where you’re from, what color your skin, the type of passport you hold, the God(s) you worship (or don’t believe in), the amount of money you make, the gender by which you identify—regardless of all the things that label and define and separate us—you deserve to be held, to be comforted, to be seen, by virtue of the fact that you are human. That Morrison moves on from here to worry about the consequences of globalization and the ways we are taught to fear and ostracize the “other” also emphasizes her fundamental belief in the importance of honoring our shared humanity and seeing each human life as equally worthy.

About globalization, Morrison thinks,

As much as globalism is adored as near messianic, it is also reviled as an evil courting a dangerous dystopia. Its disregard of borders, national infrastructures, local bureaucracies, internet censors, tariffs, laws, and languages; its disregard of margins and the marginal people who live there; its formidable, engulfing properties accelerating erasure, a flattening out of difference, of specificity for marketing purposes. An abhorrence of diversity.

Here, Morrison urges us to consider that the rather idealistic view we often take on globalization (we are more connected than ever before, we can experience other cultures with greater ease, we can think progressively about our future on this planet) and wants us to see the darker side effects of it. The Western world likes to think of itself as the best, and thus it imposes its own cultural values onto an international landscape, hence Morrison’s concern about a disregard of margins and its marginal people, as well as the flattening out of difference. Globalism is not truly globalism, Morrison is saying, if America is turning the world into its replicas.

Later in the book, Morrison addresses the issues of representation of people of color. She asserts, “Although historical, race bias is not absolute, inevitable, or immutable. It has a beginning, a life, a history in scholarship, and it can have an end.” Here, Morrison proposes the complete eradication of racism as a possibility. It does not have to exist, nor is it unchangeable, according to her. The ways that we stereotype and “other” people who are not white “can have an end.” This is a moment of tremendous hope: Morrison believes in a future in which black people are freed from the tendency of white people to criminalize an entire race. While many of the essays in this book tackle bleak topics and embarrassing moments in our history, this moment of hope is tremendously powerful and offers a glimpse of humanity as its best selves.