Injurious Effects of Hate Speech Acts in The Bluest Eye


  •  Tamsila Naeem    
  •  Nadia Anwar    

Abstract

This qualitative study aims to investigate the effects of hate speech acts of powerful agencies, which are used to establish and maintain power relations by influencing the psyche of minorities or weaker groups to assign them a subordinate position. In the light of Judith Butler’s notions presented in her famous book Excitable Speech (1997) it is found that such acts are used as a lin­guistic weapon in the process of social domination. Hate Speech acts have an injurious effect on the psyche of the weak which prompts them to obey the commands of the speakers, the powerful. For this purpose, relevant excerpts were taken through purposive sampling technique from Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), which depicts the tragic conditions of a black family living in a race conscious society of America. They are considered inferior to the white at social, moral, economic and political levels. The analysis of the selected texts is done at both micro and macro levels. At the micro level, the lexical semantic features of the utterances are studied and at the macro level, the socio-political environment in which the black characters are victimized and then psychologically subjectified is discussed. It is seen that the feeling of being ugly has multiple and terrible influences on the mind and body of the subjects. The selected episodes from the novel are the manifestations of their wounded psyche in the white-dominated America. They unconsciously think themselves as agents of darkness, sin, crime, wickedness, immorality and evil. The findings of the study also reveal a taxonomy of newly emerging hate speech acts which may prove useful to analyze the communicative patterns of race-driven societies.



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