A Conversation About “White Gaze” and Careers

In the short story “A Conversation About Bread” by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, the concept of people’s perceptions of stories is brought up and analyzed. The theory of the “white gaze” that applies to story telling or living with a roommate.

People bring their own subconscious opinions to everything in life. For instance, when Brian’s mom’s roommates was taking pictures of Brian’s mom out of the shower, “the girl was sending the pictures home to her family, like, look at this elephant I saw at the watering hole or this native with a disk in her lip” (179), she was bringing herself into the narrative and making comparisons (racist comparisons).

Similar to the white woman in the library overhearing their conversation about their short story who was “now very interested in their conversation” (181) and was “impressed by [Brian’s] use of the word ‘monolith'” (176) because she had some preconceived notion about how a black person should talk.

More people in the field of anthropology need to come from different backgrounds and be able to “ignore the white gaze until it no longer came to mind. Then, ‘and only then’… ‘black people can be free from all the double consciousness bull” (181). Diversifying different career fields will allow for different perspectives and new ideas that wouldn’t be brought up otherwise.

Inability to Escape From Lunacy

Abnesti and Verlaine operate under the guise of scientific inquiry, however there is no ethics in their experiments and observations. They test drugs on the lowest levels of society: prisoners.

They operate under the name of science, yet their actual reasons for continuing experiments are nothing but unethical. ” ‘Are we going to Darkenfloxx TM Rachel now?’ I said. ‘Think, Jeff,’ Abnesti said. ‘How can we know that you love neither Rachel nor Heather if we only have data regarding your reaction to what just now happened to Heather? Use your noggin. You are not a scientist, but Lord knows you work around scientist all day'” (73).

And when the small voice in the back of their heads say that maybe this is wrong, the beliefs of the system they are in quickly override any sense of sanity. … “Jeff, maybe you’re overthinking this, Abnesti said. ‘It is possible the Darkenfloxx TM will kill Rachel? Sure. We have the Heather precedent. On the other hand, Rachel may be stronger. She seems a little larger.’ ‘She’s actually a little smaller,’ Verlaine said. ‘Well, maybe she’s tougher,” Abnesti said” (73).