Colloquy Undergraduate Research Journal

Article Title

The Case of Brown


The world is understood through the formation of categories, of defining what something is and what something is not, totalizing an experience, person, or word in order to come to an understanding of its essential meaning. Associations color one’s thoughts whether they are fully acknowledged or not. Without exploring the associations, accumulated through personal experience, that determine one’s view of another individual, there is a danger of marginalizing that person, instead of allowing them to fully inhabit their identity. In the following, I aim to expose the ways in which Richard Rodriguez uses Jacques Derrida’s concept of deconstruction as a way to discuss the complexities of race and the complications that arise due to differing associations within language. I will also attempt to provide a possible definition for the signifier “brown” by evaluating a considerably small sample of associations within the context of Richard Rodriguez’s “The Brown Study.” I will not evaluate all of the associations included in the text, however, due to the amount of space that would be required to deconstruct every association tied to “brown.”