Toni Morrison stretched my consciousness across continents of pain like no other writer. The recent gift of her essay, The Origin of Others, spells it out for us. We not born racist: racism is taught. She reminds us of how she exposes “colorism” whether black, white or brown in her novels. “Race” is an invention dressed up as “scientific” to justify discrimination and exploitation, where the suffering imposed on others bounces back through the generations. She quotes Harriet Jacobs who described the brutalisation of the slave trade in 1861 in her Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,
“I can testify from my own experience and observation, that slavery is a curse to the whites as well as to the blacks. It makes the white fathers cruel and sensual; the sons violent and licentious; it contaminates the daughters; and makes the wives wretched.”
Toni Morrison also cradled in me a sense of our common humanity, which can transcend racism, sectarianism, nationalism and sexism. We can all join the resistance to the manipulation of our consciousness. We can reject the brutality of the division into Us and Them by increasing our awareness of the connections between ourselves and others. We can develop new forms of solidarity and networking. We can open our minds, open our hearts and open our wallets to honor her legacy.
The Origin of Others, pub Harvard University Press 2017 ISBN978-0-674-97645-0
2 thoughts on “Honoring Toni Morrison”
Spot on and thank you for sharing. ââ- Been thinking how â belongingâ, the search and deep longing for it, is linked to, a Tony quote – “The conceptual connection is the search for the beloved â the part of the self that is you, and loves you, and is always there for you.”
Beloved and belonging we need both to get the inner peace, connectedness and purpose we long for to make sense of our lives but also to help us re-train our thoughts, emotions and actions to undo the division and hatred that we have learnt/been taught conditioned with.
Philippe , sent from my iPhone
Just wanted to say how much I love what you wrote in response to Toni Morrison, and your later post too!
I’ll get back to you soon about date for phone chat.
Lots of love Nora xxx
Sent from my iPhone