Kayla V. made a really great post about Doro’s relationship to the seed people and its similarities to what whiteness is to black people, as Rajanie Kumar discusses in the article “White Terror: Spirituality, Ancestral Memory, and the Politics of Remembering” on The Feminist Wire. After reading both the post and the article, I started thinking about the bodies Doro chose at different times, and what the significance of those choices were.
His choice in which body he jumps to isn’t always driven just by his hunger, so when he is more in control, what are his motives for taking a body?
Power, for one; he uses his ability as a threat and is definitely one to follow through on it. The threat is also to others once he is in the body of someone they knew. Comfort is a possible reason: We know that Doro was born with dark skin, so on some level when he chooses a body with darker skin it is likely he feels more connected with his humanity — even though he denies identifying as black (or human) to Mary, in Mind of My Mind.
Toward the end of Wild Seed, he shows up to Anyanwu’s house in a body of a young black male, one that he knows she will like. But this could also be manipulation under the guise of a gift to stay on her good side. He takes bodies because he needs to, but also often for the manipulation and threat that goes with it, so I was curious whether he chose bodies for the skin color to implicate his power, and have the feeling that Doro (and even more to the point, Butler) would have done this.
After looking through the text I couldn’t find any specific examples where the other characters seemed as intimidated by him more because of his body’s skin color, but there are some instances where it seems like his decision may have been made with respect to the color politics and power dynamics going on. In Wild Seed, he shows up at Anyanwu’s new home (after the death of Isaac) in a white male body, intending to kill her. In Mind of My Mind, when he is talking to Mary and informing her that he wants her to stop recruiting for the pattern, he is also wearing a white male body – not to mention one of someone she knows – and in both of these instances, he is facing off with a black female.
If anyone else can think of specific times when Doro used a white body to add to his intimidation factor, I’d love to hear about it! Or if anyone has thoughts on whether or not he used temporary skin color to his advantage.