Author's Diction~Vipin Behari Goyal

Saturday, February 6, 2016

ROOTS OF RACISM

Literature Fails to Provide Solution

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Racism is like a Problem-Play of literary genre. It has been fully exposed with all its evils, but it does not provide any solution for it. It seems that neither the authors are serious in finding solution nor the readers are eager to read literature based on. The books written by intellectual blacks who have suffered and wrote semi autobiographical novels are good for academic courses and discourses but even voracious readers have not heard about them or are not interested in reading them. Many such books fall in the much overlooked genre of Post-Colonial literature.


Only exception is "To Kill A Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee which is still classified as an all time bestseller and must-read book.

Two recent incidents are enough to ponder how deep this evil has penetrated in the psyche of society. In India a Tanzanian girl was molested, beaten and almost stripped by mob when she tried to save her Sudanian friend from mob in Bengaluru. Displacement of Hatred by colour of skin is not uncommon all over the World. Law is taken in hand and mob passes its verdict without trial, in a country which is the largest democracy of the world. The girl tries to board a city bus to escape but she is denied entry. She unsuccessfully tries to cover her body with her hands and looks at the mob with pleading eyes. The whole scenario is horribly barbaric. A cruel dance of savagery in one of the most educated, technically advance cities of India, proudly known as the "Silicon Valley of India". Do they have the heart of silicon as well?

The second incident took place in Canada. The Defense Minister of Canada is a Sikh. He was objected while delivering speech in parliament by an opposition member demanding "English To English" translation. It is a mean kind of racism that has percolated in the veins of society. No one is ashamed, only politicians give statements in media to enhance their international anti-racist image.

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Derek Walcott in his poem says “You in the castle of your skin, I among the swineherd”. George Lamming has used this quotation after little alteration in his book “In the Castle of My Skin”. Many interesting episodes have been narrated to establish the point. The Inspector visits the primary school on Empire Day. He addresses Barbados as “Little England”, the boys sing “God save the king”, and pennies are distributed.

Those Black who rise up in the society by imitating White, also start exploiting other Blacks who are slaves or slave-like, indentured servants.”White” rationalised that they are spreading the light of religion and civilisation. Rudyard Kipling ’s “The White Man’s Burden is best known example of this idea. While returning from the beach protagonist and his friends hide in a bush to watch a party at landlord Creighton’s palace. His daughter was making love with a Marine Captain and was disturbed by boys. Later she accused that some native boys tried to take her virtue and everyone believed her. The boys opined “The English are fond of shadows. They never do anything in open.”The duality in the youth of Barbados as individual “I” and “Also I “ can be explained by Carl Jung’s Theory of Collective Unconsciousness'. The duality of oppressor and oppressed is illusory.

As the Supervisor in the above story is set as “Black against Black”, similarly “White against White” in “The Tree of Man” by Patrick White, and “White against Brown” in “No New Land” by M. G.Vassanji are other examples of serious literature is trying to draw the attention of the world towards the severity of the problem, though none of it suggests any remedy.

© Vipin Behari Goyal


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