The Autoethnography Of African Edgar Wideman

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Autoethnography, according to Mary Louise Pratt, is defined as, “a text in which people undertake to describe themselves in ways that engage with representations others have made of them (319).” Those who tend to write autoethnographies share their personal opinions oh how the dominant see them and how they, “the other” see themselves. Over a two week period of time of reading and analyzing an essay written and taken from John Edgar Wideman book “Brother and Keeper” had a significant meaning. Wideman, a Professor at Asa Messer and a Professor of Africana Studies and English at Brown University, made “Our Time” to create an autoethnography for African Americans or blacks. He tells of how America sees the value of black life and how life in…show more content…
Wideman talks about how blacks get over in the life. They want power, control, respect and authority that they cannot easily obtain, so what do they do? Beat the system. most people in the normal world, or not “the ghetto” look up to positive authorities, like doctors, lawyers, big corporate business owners professors, and etc. But in the ghetto “all praises and attention is given to the slick guy, the gangster especially, the ones that get over in the “life.” (422) It gives the people the great satisfaction to see “a brother” or a person of the same background play the system and actually get by. The outside world thought of the ghetto as the “square world.” In the ghetto, it was unacceptable to be good or…show more content…
Garth’s death holds a very significant meaning because both Wideman and Robby start their stories with the death of Garth. Garth, just as every other African American, was marginalized as "the other." Garth was very ill and basically was a dead man walking. It was a matter of time before he clocked out and it was due to the doctors. They held the upper hand. They basically killed him. They treated Garth like a non human being. They were the dominant group in this situation. Garth was portrayed by Wideman as a positive person towards their group as far as keeping things together. He might've not made the best decisions in regarding his own personal health but he had a good impact on those around him, especially Robby. Wideman even described Garth as someone that "would tell you you were alright, better than alright, that he believed in you, that you were, as he'd just whispered "the best." (424) He seem to always give a positive feed. Made you believe in anything. "If we ever make it, it got to come from there, from the curb. We got to melt that rock till we get us some money. He grinned then, ain't no big thing. We'll make it, brother man, we got what it takes. It's our time." (426) That was Garth reassuring his people not to give up. And due to his death caused Robby's break down and bad decision making. He couldn't understand how the dominant discourse could

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