16 October 2008


As a pasalubong from my aunt in Canada, she sent me an award-winning book called "Book of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill. The novel describes the tribulations that befell the African men and women as they were kidnapped from their homelands, starved and tortured physically, mentally and even spiritually and shipped to the United States only to be sold as slaves to landowners. With Aminata Diallo as the primary protagonist of this heart breaking story, she reveals how she has lost her family, her freedom, her rights and how she has strove to win them all back.

The story is a beautiful unfolding of wisdom and character. Aminata speaks of her many beliefs and thoughts only to reprimand herself in the future for her foolishness. As she ages, the reader can comprehend the gradual maturity in her voice and thoughts and for that I believe that Lawrence Hill has truly made a masterpiece. I am completely moved by his story - the Blacks truly have a beautiful story behind them - they are a strong race, a strong people to have endured all these pains.

It is sad to think how people can be so prejudiced, rallying against other races without respect to others' feelings, thoughts and life. It would be hypocritical to say that I don't practice some discrimination in my end, though. Being a Chinese in the Philippines, I have plenty of non-Chinese friends inquiring if my family permits inter-racial marriages. Since I'm not purely Chinese, yes we do. For others though, marriage with a Filipino is often looked down upon leading to many disowned sons and daughters. It seems so easy to say we should abolish racism, but to be honest, I guess it is the violence and lack of equity practiced in this bias that should be erased.

Personal biases and preferences will always survive and it is a way of life - the same way you cannot stop me from having an icky look once a big hairy man walks in front of me wearing just a sando top. Cultures bring up particular etiquette and beliefs that mold each person's perceptions. It cannot and shouldn't be held against anyone, it is only when we start seeing and treating others unjustly (humiliating them, torturing them, not giving them a chance, not treating them humanely, etc.) that we truly become uncouth and at times, criminal.

Picture is from http://www.innisfil.library.on.ca/userfiles/image/bookmap/Book%20of%20Negroes.jpg


cel25's said...

hello..may i know ur name? hehe kat right?..im from mindanao in cagayan de oro city..bisaya.

that some nice book..i been watching movies about black people and how they enter america as a slave.. it made me cry bcoz white people treating them like some kind of worms..LOL..i even told my white husband why white people are mean to black people...mmmm i need to know more and more about them..hehehe

drop by sometimes if u got time.. ^_^

Kwagoo said...

true! the cruelty the blacks had to endure was unfathomable. i'm currently reading amistad and its an equally depressing novel about slavery. there was a portion in the book wherein one of the slave traders mentioned how he failed to see the humanity in the blacks, instead he sees them as animals, like cattle, for branding and selling, despite the fact that he takes one to his bed at night. the human mind can create and become so many great things, but when not properly taught, can also cause and even tolerate unimaginable harm to others.

Cecile n' Matt said...

i don't like racism either, but we can't deny that it still exist. I wished they would stop treating black people differently.

Kwagoo said...

@ cecile n' matt

racism is still abound, true. but it doesn't mean that one has the right to look down on others. we are all created equal in the eyes of God.