“From Louisville. Our white girlhood was passed together there. Our beautiful white ——”

from F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (Chapter I) on Rap Genius

Meaning

An archly ironic comment on race, which flows directly from Tom’s racist theories. Daisy grew up in the Old South, and her money is (we have to assume) in part based on the legacy of plantation slavery. Here she lightly mocks the racial ideology of “pure” white girlhood —– though that’s different from criticizing or challenging those ideas.

Race is —– curiously —– in the background of many scenes in The Great Gatsby, even though the novel is about a small set of white characters. Gatsby —– who may have Jewish origins (Gatz) —– is often associated with racial “others” at the level of metaphor (the blacks in the fancy new car) and plot (Meyer Wolfsheim), and Tom’s fear of class mixing is blended with his fear of miscegenation.

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