“We are all heirs to critical theory, but critics are also heir to the black vernacular critical tradition as well. We must not succumb, as did Alexander Crummell, to the tragic lure of white power, the mistake of accepting the empowering language of white critical theory as ‘universal’ or as our only, the mistake of confusing the enabling mask of theory with our own black faces” (2436).
Henry Louis Gates, Jr really makes sense here. Not that I want there to be separate but equal critical theories, but I agree that in order to break away from being considered a “mocking bird” Gates calls on African-American critics to rely on their own language rather that of the established white/standard English to substantiate theory and criticism of all literature. To frame this concept differently, I think Gates might agree that an African-American offering a critique using white/standard English to a piece of literature written by an African-American, for African-Americans, in an African-American dialect, would parallel the absurdity of a Chinese speaking person writing a critique of Japanese literature. I think.