White Tears Themes & Motifs

Hari Kunzru
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Cultural Appropriation

One of the main social misdeeds that the novel examines is the act of cultural appropriation, as the narrative portrays such acts as yet another form of racial oppression present in American culture. One of the earliest and most prominent examples of this dynamic is the obsession that Carter and Seth have with African-American musicians. This obsession most strongly originates with Carter, but Seth is heavily influenced by Carter’s musical tastes. These Caucasian characters focus solely on black musicians in their consumption of music. When Carter and Seth successfully pass off their Graveyard Blues track as old and genuine, Carter exclaims, “These fuckers think this music was made in 1928, but actually we made it…So who’s the expert now? Who knows the tradition? We do! We own that shit!” (61). This exclamation reveals Carter’s belief that he and Seth have attained a type...

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This section contains 2,313 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the White Tears Study Guide
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