My recent immersion in the Black Aesthetics has been one of the most eye-opening experiences in my academic journey. For example, while reading the play “Funnyhouse of a Negro” it was interesting that Sarah’s parents were from different races, she would be suffering an identity crisis. This indicates that the racial divide in American society has made an individual’s race a critical aspect of their identity.
Her family dynamic reflects the United States; just as both her parents contributed to her development, black and white people contributed to the country’s creation. However, Sarah idolized her mother, who was white, while despising her dad, who was black. This symbolizes that the overt and systemic racism in the United States has oppressed black people while benefiting their Caucasian counterparts.
Given that play was composed during the Black Aesthetics period, it is interesting that the play’s author, Adrienne Kennedy’s choice of a female perspective was fascinating. This is based on the fact that the play takes place in the persona’s mind, a one-act play. I would think that Sarah’s character is based on the author’s real-life experience. Just as Kennedy is biracial, the character Sarah too is biracial. Therefore, the author’s motif explores whether her black and white identities can coexist.
Additionally, the play may reflect the author’s guilt for embracing her white identity more than her black identity. She, however, blames it on the fact that her mother is white, and thus she was bound to emulate her (Brown, 1975). Furthermore, society’s romanticization of whiteness has made her lean towards her white identity while neglecting the black identity. I would therefore conclude that the author was attempting to merge the experience of the African Americans and her identity struggle.
Brown, L. A. (1975, October). “For the Characters are Myself”: Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro. In Negro American Literature Forum (Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 86-88). St. Louis University.