I think one of the important messages in “The Dragon Can’t Dance” is how it is impossible to move forward in society when the people of the society don’t understand their history. The novels is in constant hope for the community to get grow and transform and to fight against its oppressed past. During the carnival season, we see the cultural resistance against slavery and colonialism. I think that Lovelace wrote this book to express an identity for Trinidadian people can be proud of. For example, he talks about the importance of calypso. The act was previously illegal but he shows how it reveals their culture and identity. He writes to create a place where the typical colonial, Eurocentric ways of thinking can be challenged and other identities and ways of thinking can be understood.
I always ask myself why does race matter so much? I think it is a very confusing and mind boggling question. In this class, we have read so many pieces and watched many videos and although the word “race” brings a lot of discrimination and separation I think it also reveals strength and resistance within a people. The “Coolie” reading was especially interesting to me. A word that was used to tear down a group of people and belittle them, can be reclaimed and used to empower them. I feel like usually we try to forget words and names that belittle us. By this author taking the word and reclaiming it, I think that she has also taken back some of the power that the oppressor held. She is honoring the people that came before her and acknowledging what they went through and also making sure that it doesn’t happen again. I think it is important to know the history of terms like these to be able to understand the history before us.
Discussing Race Outside of Class
Last night, I went out to eat with my boyfriend and I was telling him all the things I have learned in this class and in my Intro to Africana studies class. I shared with him how it was cheaper to work a slave to death and replace him than it was to keep him healthy and alive. We talked about how the constant kidnapping of Africans has caused so much damage to the continent of Africa that is still present today. It is disgusting to think about how even after 200 plus years, the European influence is still haunting the people. We also discussed the idea of reparations. Haiti had to pay France for many years, but we don’t see any Europeans countries paying back Africans countries. I wonder if the African countries would even want the money from their colonizers. I think it some ways those countries may be resistant because they don’t want to feel dependent on their colonizers ever again. Although those countries may be struggling economically, they may want to heal their country on their own. At the same time, I doubt that the European countries would have the moral instinct to repay Africa. More than anything, I think it is so important to have these conversations with our friends who aren’t actively taking classes like this. It is important for everyone to know this history.
After just two short weeks of this class, I can honestly say I am disgusted, amazed and completely in shock. Race is so embedded into our society that it is impossible to ignore. Yes, it is a socially constructed idea, but it’s an idea that holds so much power. To think that there were countless philosophers who thought it was necessary, and took years, to racially divide up the world blows my mind. I question what this do for them? What did they think they were accomplishing? Francois-Marie Voltaire wrote, “and mulattoes are only a bastard race of black men and white women, or white men and black women, as asses, specifically different from horses, produce mules by copulating with mares” (Bernasconi and Tommy, 6). It was hard to read quotes like this one but what was harder to swallow was the fact that today, February 4, 2018, people still think like this. We still here the word mulattoes. People today still believe that white are superior to other races. In the latest 1700’s Kant expressed the need to erase the inferior. Fast forward to the 1930’s and 40’s and we have the holocaust. The ideas that were introduced hundreds of years ago are still so relevant to today’s world and it is terrifying to think about and have to admit. After reading the article on Meghan Markle’s family tree, I can only ask myself, who cares and why was it so long? It was more than showing her family roots. That article was invasive and unnecessary. They never examined other fiance’s’ family tree as they did her’s.