When academics can unearth politically incorrect themes in otherwise PC literature, these esoteric offerings might soon become extinct.
“Critics had trouble with the religious messages in Toni Morrison’s Paradise,” Professor Jacqueline M. Fulmer said last year at the Modern Language Association’s annual convention. “She [Morrison] has said it is the only overtly religious novel she has ever written.”
Dr. Fulmer teaches at the University of California at Berkeley. She spoke at the MLA Washington, D. C. convention’s panel on “Literary Theory and Folklore Theory.”
“In her novels, she focuses on the experience of black Americans, particularly emphasizing black women’s experience in an unjust society and the search for cultural identity,” the women’s history web site tells us about Miss Morrison. “She uses fantasy and mythic elements along with realistic depictions of racial, gender and class conflict.”
In like fashion, few African studies courses will acknowledge the repression of native regimes on the continent that has occurred since all of Africa’s 54 nations achieved independence from European colonial rule. African folk tales, on the other hand, provide telling insights into the human rights breakdown that has claimed much of the continent.
“In one African tale, the tortoise embodies British colonial rule when he eats all the birds’ food,” Professor Thomas Jay Lynn said at the MLA conference at the Washington Hilton. “Other tales show allegorical representatives of the post-colonial era military dictators as villainous animals.”
Most of these stories are about as politically correct as you would expect them to be. In one such fable, “Raven steals water from petrol for a thirsty world,” Dr. Lynn recounts.
Dr. Lynn specializes in African folklore. He teaches at the Pennsylvania State University-Berks County campus. “African folk tales were adapted to African-American folk tales such as Song of the South and Uncle Remus,” Dr. Lynn said. “Brer Rabbit voiced the strategy frequently employed in African folk tales of convincing your assailant to do something by insisting that you do not want him to.”
“Please don’t throw me in that Briar Patch,” Brer Rabbit pleads with his antagonist, Brer Fox. Of course, Brer Fox falls for the ruse and Brer Rabbit escapes his clutches while cavorting in said destination and tauntingly saying, “I was born and raised in a briar patch.”
“Alice Walker uses this strategy in The Color Purple when Squeak convinces the warden that he should release Sophia by telling him that the worst thing he could do to her is make her a white person’s maid,” Dr. Lynn said.
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.