When you assign "Recitatif" to your class, provide background historical information about racial desegregation in schools (you can consult an online encyclopedia and/or see Unit 15) or ask students to briefly research the topic themselves. You might start by asking them to find out what "segregation" was. If your students are familiar with the topic before class discussion, you will be able to address the picketing scenes in a more sophisticated way. For example, you can ask your students to discuss the "sides" of the battle: Why did some people want desegregation? Why did some not want it?
Students will want to attempt to identify Twyla's and Roberta's races, so this is a good opportunity to discuss how and why people stereotype each other as well as the pitfalls of doing so. You could start your discussion by assigning certain pages to groups of students and asking them to identify where Morrison uses phrases or ideas that could be considered "racial markers."
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