Chapter 1: Against Fence Thinking: Welcoming the Racial Enemy

  • Joseph George


“Against Fence Thinking: Welcoming the Racial Enemy” argues that the history of racial violence long associated with the suburbs has been motivated by a liberalism that emphasizes individual action of communal responsibility. Using Carl Schmitt’s notion of the friend/enemy distinction, George argues that such texts as Richard Ford’s Independence Day, Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, and Gloria Naylor’s Linden Hills upset the assurance on which that logic relies to invite a more intersubjective form of community. These stories reject what Naylor’s characters call “fence thinking”—a logic of exclusion—to a “mirror thinking” that recognizes that others create one’s identity.


Rental House Federal Housing Administration White Flight Restrictive Covenant Silver Mirror 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph George
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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