explain Morrison's idea about the construction of white identity
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Schoolteacher's pseudoscience shows one of the ways the blacks were objectified and dehumanized by whites. Sixo is beaten not only because he stole, but because he tries to usurp the position of "the definer." His clever manipulation of language and logic must be punished by schoolteacher, lest the white man's control of speech become threatened. Overhearing his categorization of Sethe's human and non-human characteristics is one of the most painful experiences of Sethe's life, perhaps as important as losing her milk or the beating she receives from schoolteacher's nephew. The experience caused a strange pinching and itching of her head, a precursor to the beating of birds' wings she felt before she murdered her baby.