Her Own Spook: Colorism, Vision, and the Dark Female Body

in Troubling Vision

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226253022
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226253053 | DOI:
Her Own Spook: Colorism, Vision, and the Dark Female Body

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This chapter concentrates on colorism's deployment of vision to mark and decipher difference and value. It considers the two plays about colorism by black women playwrights—Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman and Zora Neale Hurston's Color Struck—which were part of a tradition of work by black women that covers color/gender/class distinctions among blacks. These plays revealed how visuality is interlaced with narrative in the medium of theatre. and, in addition, presented insights into the visual and psychic effect and affect of the state-sanctioned system of colorism. Hurston's play and the scholarship on Color Struck were useful for engaging Yellowman's depiction of the traumatic relationship between vision and black female corporeality due to colorism. In the world of Yellowman, it was a totalizing system where one must kill her/his kinship to escape the legacy of black-on-black terror and the visual regime that regulates relations of alienation.

Keywords: colorism; vision; Dael Orlandersmith; Yellowman; Zora Neale Hurston; Color Struck; black female

Chapter.  14368 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cultural Studies

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