Race is absolutely integral to the way that the characters understand themselves and their place in society. Some writers and scholars claim that Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea portrays black characters as flat stereotypes – child-like, primitive, animalistic. But what if we were to give the novel the benefit of the doubt? That's not to say we should excuse the language. Instead, we might consider how everything is told from a character's point of view, and not necessarily the author's. It could be that these characters' expectations about race are tested by the novel itself, particularly with a Creole character such as Antoinette, who alternately identifies with both white and black communities. (See our discussion of "Race" in "Character Clues" for a rundown of racial categories operating at the time of the novel.)
While Antoinette is often critical of Rochester for his hypocritical attitude toward racial equality, Antoinette does not recognize the extent of her own racial prejudices.
Black characters in the novel seem to lack depth or voice only because they are presented through the eyes of white or Creole characters; the novel presents black characters in this way to show how racial stereotypes contribute to the representation of non-white characters.