Racism In Song Of Solomon, Push And Life Of Olaudah Equiano

2580 words - 10 pages

Expressing Racism in Song of Solomon, Push and The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

 
     African-Americans often are discriminated against, suffer from a barrage of racial remarks, and even endure racially based acts of violence. Unfortunately, this crime against humanity goes both ways. Those being oppressed may retaliate as a matter of self-defense, sometimes becoming that which they despise most. In many cases the Black man is forced into developing racist mores against the White man due to past history and to the fact that Whites discriminate against them. The victim of oppression can become the oppressor and, in fact, this 'reverse racism' may easily develop into a feeling of superiority for Black people. Although both parties, Black and White racists, suffer from the belief that their own race is the superior one, it could be said that the Black community is oftentimes more justified in their beliefs. Black writer, Sapphire is quoted as saying "One of the myths we've been taught, is that oppression creates moral superiority. I'm here to tell you that the more oppressed a person is, the more oppressive they will be" (Walker, Fall 2001). I believe it not only creates a more oppressive group of people, but a group that believes they are morally superior. This moral superiority is evident in the writings and the personal lives of Olaudah Equiano, Toni Morrison, Sapphire and Maya Angelou. These writers display a common point of view held among many African-Americans in their views of Africa versus America, morality among Whites versus morality among Blacks, and racial inferiority versus racial superiority.

 

African-Americans often form comparisons between Africa, the country they were forcibly removed from, and America. Former slave, Olaudah Equiano, relates details of his home country of Africa in The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. In comparing the cultural aspects of his home country of Africa he says, "We are almost a nation of dancers, musicians, and poets." All joyful occasions are celebrated with great ceremonies of dancing, feasting, and music. The women wear golden jewelry (14), both men and women perfume themselves, and cleanliness is of the utmost importance (15). Neighbors help one another build homes and there are plenty of all natural resources. Equiano states, "we live in a country where nature is prodigal of her favours, our wants are few, and easily supplied" (16). "Our land is uncommonly rich and fruitful, and produces all kinds of vegetable in great abundance" (17). Equiano's opinion of America is not as positive. In America he must deal with the frustration of not being able to speak the same language as fellow slaves. He is introduced to many new, frightening and curious contraptions. For example, he witnesses a female slave in an iron muzzle, he sees a picture of a man on a wall that frightens him, and he discovers a clock for the first time. Equiano, who was...

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