The invisible man paradox

Lisa M Beringer, Purdue University


Beginning with Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man , I explore how twentieth and twenty-first century African American satire provides ongoing and persistent resistance to racism that renders black Americans invisible. Referring to my exploration as the Invisible Man Paradox, I assert that once made invisible, African Americans must paradoxically assert their humanity and demand equal rights within a democratic system that claims equality for all. As a result, black satire attacks the powerlessness, voicelessness and social death that are often times direct results of invisibility. Black satire acts as a form of social protest that supplies counter narratives that establish space for black humanity within the American social landscape and evolves over time providing constant and persistent resistance to racism. In the end, I suggest that the audience of black satire, once awakened, holds the potential and possibility of demanding social change that could lead to the end of black American invisibility.




Duvall, Purdue University.

Subject Area

African American Studies|American studies|Literature

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