Saturday, February 6, 2016
ROOTS OF RACISM
Literature Fails to Provide Solution
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
Only exception is "To Kill A Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee which is still classified as an all time
bestseller and must-read book. She died on 19 Feb 2016 at the age 89.
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.
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
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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