I hate ambiguity.
Not being able to tell something apart from something else gets on my nerves. It’s called ambiguity, and I’m not the only one that gets irked at the sight of it. While I by no means condone any sort of racism, there is a certain comfort on can take in it – “this person is black and this person is white”. Simple. Before the Civil Rights movement, America was very good at this.
Too good, you might suggest.
In Black No More, Schuyler seems to make fun of the entire concept of racism – the sheer silliness of it. It’s interesting to think of an African-American laughing at the entire concept of racism during the late 30s, when the idea was so forcefully pressed upon the population.
I think that some kind of lesson came from this book. The most obvious one is that “it’s not right to judge someone based on the color of their skin”. However, I think it goes a little beyond that. I think that the other lesson Schuyler is trying to teach here is that, in trying to be someone that you’re not, things can (and indeed will) get out of hand.
I took a bit of a preview of Swastika Night. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
I’m often told that World War II was a very close fight. Therefore it is not hard to imagine a future where Nazi supremacy reigns supreme. The beginning of the book spares no expense in detailing the situation, several centuries into the future, had this happened.
My own personal opinion of Adolf Hitler is, I imagine, not unlike most other people’s. He was a monster, yes? However it is not hard to warp a person’s perception, especially centuries into the future. The people in the book have been conditioned to believe that Adolf Hitler is a God of some kind. That in and of itself threw me for a loop, due to my own beliefs about the man. They are referred to as Nazis, of course, while believers outside of (what I presume to be) Germany are referred to as “Hitlerians”. Strangely, I had to laugh at the utterance of this word, I had never thought of such a word coming into existence.
But the thing that’s hardest to believe is the fact that this book was written by a woman. In all honesty, I could not believe how the book portrayed women! I am no advocate for the supremacy of either sex, please understand, however… in this “Hitlerian” society, women are thought of as not human, and soulless. Being brought up in the modern world, such a thing is unthinkable to me. Granted this is a word of fiction, but it just blows my mind. It is also taught that women must submit to men (lest they be punished or even killed) in every way, shape, and form, to the point where there is no such crime as rape.
There was a bit of a poem, or, teaching of some kind, early on in the book. It went something like, “a woman is above a worm, a man is above a woman, a worm is above a Christian.” How they portray Christians in this society! Apparently, there is nothing worse than a Christian woman, according to Hitlerian teaching.
Really, it all just blows my mind.