Racism is undue prejudice based on the race of a person. It is the belief by a particular race that they are superior over the other races. In the story Recitatif, Morrison tells about two girls, Twyla and Roberta, who are of two different races. One was white while the other was black but we are not told specifically the race of each girl. The author deliberately chooses to leave upon the reader to make the distinction. Racism is the main theme of the story. Racism is depicted from the beginning of the story to the end, when the two girls met. The Twyla's first encounter with Roberta was when she fell sick and was had to share the room with Roberta at St. Bonny's. She says, ''It was one thing to be taken out of your own bed early in the morning-it was something else to be stuck in a strange place with a girl from a whole other race.'' From this encounter, it is clear that racism is real between the two and is making it difficult to become close friends.
Twyla recalls her mother telling her that she should not associate with the people of the other race because they were dirty and with bad smell. This shows a wide rift between the two races. Although the two girls found themselves in the same predicament; living away from their mothers, the racial differences creates tension between them and limits their interaction. One Sunday when they were both visited by their mothers, a clear racial division was witnessed when Twyla's mother refused to shake hands with Roberta's mother and went ahead to call her 'bitch'.
The situation did not change when they both met later as women. Despite the fact that both of them lived stable lives, their friendship was still engulfed by racial tensions.