I would consider myself a person that is very passionate against racism. I am an American of German and Irish descent, with very little personal experience of being a minority. I did spend a few months in China being ogled at, and a few months in the deep South during which I was told, “You sound like you’re stuffed up when you talk.” Other than that, I have no idea what it is like to be discriminated against. But I have certainly observed people being talked down to because of their race. And I want to take a few minutes to share with you my deep-set feelings against racial discrimination.
But first, the book that inspired this post. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a novel that I have read before, a novel that every American should read, no matter if your family originates from Africa, Asia, Europe or another America. In this novel, we meet the Logan family, a land-owning African family living in Mississippi in the 1930’s. There are four children in the Logan family, and a lot of risk-taking in their history. Their grandfather was a bold man, and they must live up to that by defending their honor as a black family and overcoming the obstacles that are put in their way, namely a money-hungry white landowner that will go to any length to save face and take names. In all honesty, I cannot sum up in my own words the beauty that is this book. It is novels like these that children and young adults need to understand their country’s history and begin to grasp the concept that all men are, in fact, created equal.
It was with a heavy heart that I read this novel, knowing that the people rooting for slavery could have very well been my ancestors. It was with sadness that I realized that this behavior is part of MY history. And it is with great anguish that I remind you all that racism runs rampant in our country still today. Rather than sit here and scold those taking part, I want to offer you my encouragement in the fight against racism. I am not one that says the world should be “colorblind.” When I look at what different lives my best friend and I have had, I rejoice in the beauty of differentiated cultures according to race. I encourage you, my fellow Americans, to open your eyes wide to the people around you and learn to appreciate your similarities and differences. Notice the color of skin around you and know that that color matters, as well as the content beneath it.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor
Originally published in 1976