In Austin’s post, he mentions “the subtle nods to racial issues that seem to get sidelined by the incredible importance of elevators.” I actually believe the opposite; I think that the elevators are just a means by which Whitehead explores racism. The extreme detail and background of elevators is present for the purpose of showing how identities (race) can have an impact on important societal concentrations. Therefore, it is not the innovation of elevators that are the highlight of the novel thus far; it is the interaction of race with a societally attractive industry in order to draw attention to identity modularity. The elevators could also have some specific symbolic message associated with race that I am not yet aware of.
So, how does race play into the theme of elevators? My interpretation is that the distinct differences in race form a hierarchy (consistent with the time period: Civil War era) in which the white people manipulate the distinctions. What I mean by this is that the division between whites and blacks is so defined, that it can be used as part of a strategy. For example, on page 84 it says that “ the woman [Fulton] wanted was the housekeeper, Marie Claire Rogers.” This seems odd, right? Of all of the people that he could choose to be his maid, why a colored woman? I suspect that Fulton realized the hatred between the races, so he could confide in Mrs. Rogers because she would not be willing to cooperate with any white men trying to get information from her.
On page 91, my suspicion is confirmed when Mrs. Rogers refuses to spy on Fulton for a white man. However, on page 93 my claim is discredited when it says that Mrs. Rogers gave up Fulton’s information when put on trial. I am interested to see where the story will go because I have a feeling that Mrs. Rogers wouldn’t give up so easily. I think she may have more information that she didn’t reveal.
The media clip I chose is a chess set. The pawns represent the colored people. They are manipulated in a way that the player (white person) sees best in order to accomplish their goals.