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"What Are You?": Exploring Racial Categorization in Nowhere Else on Earth

"What Are You?": Exploring Racial Categorization in Nowhere Else on Earth “What Are You?”: Exploring Racial Categorization in Nowhere Else on Earth by Erica Abrams Locklear In his introduction to the 1985 collection of essays entitled “Race,” Writing, and Diff erence, Henry Louis Gates rightfully asserts: “Race, as a meaningful criterion within the biological sciences, has long been recognized to be a fi ction” (4). Even so, contemporary disputes centered on race remain one of America’s most glaring problems. Although laws supporting atrocities such as the Jim Crow South rest in the past, the systems of classifi cation that inspired them still operate on many diff er- ent levels of present-day American society, ranging from the way people describe themselves, to the labels people place on diff erence, to the way the American government decides what fraction of “blood” constitutes race. Fiction writer Josephine Humphreys explores the complexities, fal- sifi cations, and implications of racial classifi cation for the Lumbee Indi- ans of Robeson County, North Carolina in her historically based novel Nowhere Else on Earth. First published in 2000, the work’s 2001 Pen- guin edition includes a reader’s guide following the text in which Hum- phreys explains her impetus for writing about the Lumbee people. She admits that when http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

"What Are You?": Exploring Racial Categorization in Nowhere Else on Earth

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 39 (1) – Feb 8, 2007

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

“What Are You?”: Exploring Racial Categorization in Nowhere Else on Earth by Erica Abrams Locklear In his introduction to the 1985 collection of essays entitled “Race,” Writing, and Diff erence, Henry Louis Gates rightfully asserts: “Race, as a meaningful criterion within the biological sciences, has long been recognized to be a fi ction” (4). Even so, contemporary disputes centered on race remain one of America’s most glaring problems. Although laws supporting atrocities such as the Jim Crow South rest in the past, the systems of classifi cation that inspired them still operate on many diff er- ent levels of present-day American society, ranging from the way people describe themselves, to the labels people place on diff erence, to the way the American government decides what fraction of “blood” constitutes race. Fiction writer Josephine Humphreys explores the complexities, fal- sifi cations, and implications of racial classifi cation for the Lumbee Indi- ans of Robeson County, North Carolina in her historically based novel Nowhere Else on Earth. First published in 2000, the work’s 2001 Pen- guin edition includes a reader’s guide following the text in which Hum- phreys explains her impetus for writing about the Lumbee people. She admits that when

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 8, 2007

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