There are several factors influencing and shaping modern society and people’s perception of common problems, traditions, values, and attitudes. One of the most crucial factors is social consciousness, and its development plays a significant role in the creation and maintenance of positive energy and a safe environment. However, if there is no social unity in a group of people, certain issues like misunderstandings, ignorance, injustice, and increased individualism may appear. It is essential to focus on this concept while reading and discussing Sekora’s article “Black Message/White Envelope.”
After the abolition of slavery, it became important to make white people aware of the horrors and injustices of this process, as well as ensure them that black persons are equal to them and deserve the same rights and treatment. One way to achieve such awareness was to write slave narratives, which, on the one hand, seemed an effective approach without any disadvantages. On the other hand, according to Sekora (1987), it was just another way for whites to use former slaves to their advantage.
When talking about such narratives, the author states that “while they are often accounts of men and women undergoing profound transformation, they continue to be, in the main, recorded or edited or polished or reviewed or verified or completed by white sponsors” (Sekora, 1987, p. 495). That is why this literary genre becomes the black message in a white envelope with a clear but tricky aim. Therefore, the question arises about the possibility and fairness of developing social consciousness by overusing political and economic power and deceiving confiding people. Does the world need such an approach to increasing social conscious or is it better to let people develop it themselves? This is the reason to read Sekora’s article while focusing on this concept and question.
Sekora, J. (1987). Black message/white envelope: Genre, authenticity, and authority in the antebellum slave narrative. Callaloo, 32, 482-515.