SUPER DELUXE WHITENESS: PRIVILEGE CRITIQUE IN PAUL BEATTY’S THE SELLOUT STEVEN DELMAGORI In 2016, Paul Beatty became the ﬁ rst American author to win the Man Booker Award (Dean 2016). The distinction was the second award he received for his 2015 satirical novel The Sellout; the ﬁ rst was the National Book Critics Circle’s ﬁ ction award (Alter 2016). While receiving high accolades upon publication, the novel saw a “small release,” and although academic scholarship has yet to thoroughly engage with it, The Sellout is a novel of primary importance that wrestles with the dialectic of racism and class inequality in a neoliberal climate (Dean 2016). With discussions of these systems of oppression in mainstream political discourse having become fraught and absurd, Beatty’s narrator, Me—who is later nicknamed Bonbon—“whisper[s] ‘racism’ in a post-racial world” (Beatty 2015, 262), in order to reveal the absurdity in the idea of a “post-racial” anything, and through the novel Beatty skewers white supremacy, class oppression, and the privileges that derive from such oppressions in our contemporary, neoliberal moment. In that light, the novel provides a more effective lens for exploring the critique of privilege because it illuminates the larger social order and the ways
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Nov 28, 2018
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