Taking leave of Howe for a moment—-for his lapse is merely symptomatic—-let me speak generally. Many of those who write of Negro life today seem to assume that as long as their hearts are in the right place they can be as arbitrary as they wish in their formulations. Others seem to feel that they can air with impunity their most private Freudian fantasies as long as they are given the slightest camouflage of intellectuality and projected as “Negro”. They have made of the no-man’s land created by segregation a territory for infantile self-expression and intellectual anarchy. They write as though Negro life exists only in light of their belated regard, and they publish interpretations of Negro experience which would not hold true for their own or for any other form of human life.
Ralph Ellison from “The World and the Jug” Pt. II as printed in “Shadow and Act”