|Posted by loud&clear on February 10, 2011 at 6:07 PM||comments (10)|
This book, Cion, by Zakes Mda, is very hard to read especially in the beginning. It is a far-fetched, disconnected story that jumps all over the place. To top it off the main character, Toloki, is a professional mourner. It is full of vile sexual content and foul language. The book recieved great praise by a few descendants who claim to have read it. Did they not see the insult to their people, be it true or not?
I do feel that Mr. Mda captured the essence of the area, Kilvert, and "some" of the people as seen by outsiders. The people no matter whether black, brown, white, or some shade in between are all related. Mr. Mda's character, Toloki, doesn't understand this, being a true Black man from South Africia. He sees that the people are not all the same even tho they believe that they are, and that they cling to a long ago legend that they don't really know much about other than the oral history they present. He touches on the inner conflict, prejudice and pretense amongst some of these people, and in my opinion he is not totally wrong in that observation. Some of the people say they are colored or black, some are anything but black, some are Indian, Irish is a curse, white is a bad word. The solution to this is...call us WIN (White, Indian, Negro).
The people Mr. Mda came to befriend, as he calls it, and interview for his book gave him the impression of not knowing who they are. I can understand that thru Mda's broader scope of vision in the world and mainstream societies. It is true that they, the people, all have a different version of what their race is...sometimes even in the same family. He also captures the attitude that "some" have about living in poverty; blaming the outside world, or the past and not taking responsibility for themselves.
At any rate, Mr. Mda can call it fiction, but I could pick out many of the characters and stories he was writing about...Those he interviewed were obviously trusting of him, befriending him and praising him without even reading the book. It is a very insulting book. If you have people in the area, or come from the area you would feel something in your heart, no matter what your beliefs or understanding of the family history, no matter your racial self-identification. I felt truly saddened and nauseated at the way this man used these people to make fun of all of them and their stories in his book.
I'll just add the book to my collection because it mentions so many of our places and people, although with a very twisted and insulting version, yes he calls it fiction, but it is insulting, whether he meant it to be or not. Mr. Mda does not treat the subject with any respect or sensitivity, instead he seems to make fun of the history and the people of Kilvert. The Washington Post saw it that way (see below, read the definitions!). Mda's character Toloki comes off as the Black intellect amongst the mixed up, not so bright people of Kilvert. As much as an insult this is to many of the people in the area, and as sad and angry as it made me feel while reading the book, unfortunately if the shoe fits they'll have to wear it.
This Washington Post Review says it like it is:
"One of the most prolific black writers of post-apartheid South Africa, Zakes Mda, has now cast his roaming, wry (wry means marked by or displaying contemptuous mockery of the motives or virtues of others: cynic, cynical, ironic, ironical, sardonic) and satirical (satirical means contemptuous or ironic in manner or wit: derisive, jeering, mocking, sarcastic, satiric, scoffing, sneering) eye upon the United States, in particular the rural southeastern Ohio community outside of Athens, Ohio (where, incidentally, Mda teaches at Ohio University).
|Posted by loud&clear on February 10, 2011 at 6:02 PM||comments (0)|
Much to this authors surprise, as he started shaking the branches of his family tree, lo and behold, all sorts of different people started falling out, some with blurred racial lines and obscure origins. The enslaved African Americans were there, but they were not alone for Native Americans accompanied them. There were also persons such as his great grandfather who was born a slave in North Carolina around 1855, but when it came to discovering his great grandfather on the census, however, things were much different. Though he was born a slave, according to the federal census he was White. This is such a good book!!
~Cary Faison's Dedication~
In memory of my ancestors, those great ones who came before me
To women everywhere who have suffered from abuse,
Whether sexual, physical or emotional.
Blog Begins*****Blog Begins*****Blog Begins
My focus in my first blog, [Michael Tabler & A Woman Of Color], was the controversial Tabler family history, and the ancestors and descendants who were/are not dark skinned people, or don't feel that the are Black or African American just because they are a different shade somewhere between Black & White.
I really didn't think of my editorial as an opinion, but more less a voice for so many Tablers who are living something that they don't understand or think is unfair. They are people who are divided on their own history. It is my opinion however that a one drop rule for anything is not a good thing, because it takes away from all that a person is or has the right to be. I most certainly agree that most of America is of mixed heritage, but they just haven't realized it yet...and not everyone looks obviously multicultural. The world would be a better place if everyone felt that race didn't matter, but unfortunately it still matters to a lot of people.
The Tablers have a fascinating story and the more I research the more I learn about the Natives and the Whites, all of whom are ignored...the story has gotten so twisted and turned over time that it is not in any way accurate. For me that is something to care about.
I found this book written by a Black man or I should say a multicultured man who looks Black since it is only a color. He speaks of some other interesting books that he used in his research as well. In his family tree he found Indians and he found what he refers to as "white slaves". He learned that White slavery had been a common, well documented but forgotten part of American history. The lighter slaves were usually favored as house servants, but did not necessarily have it made living in the house. Although their chores may have been lighter and they dressed finer, the whiter their skin was the more they were susceptible to the White men's advances. This is exactly what the Tabler's Hannah was, a house servant passed around in Tabler Wills. This Black author learned that his great grandfather was most likely White because of the amount of White genes he inherited down through the generations from White male ancestors. This Black author doesn't adhere to the one drop rule and considers his people who descend from Native American's, Black slaves, and White slave holders to be white slaves, therefore White people...and that is what any Tabler who descends from Hannah should be able to say. I'm a White Tabler, I'm a Native American Tabler, I'm a Black Tabler or I'm a multicultural Tabler. Instead everyone has to say they are Colored or Black, if not it causes a big stink with some.
I've learned from reading this book..another perception as to what another cause behind the Civil War and freeing slaves was, it makes sense!
Enjoy the reading. It teaches you a lot from a Black man's point of view.... he gets it!
|Posted by loud&clear on February 10, 2011 at 4:05 PM||comments (2)|
Race is here whether we like it or not. That's a fact, so... this is one of my editorials, now turned blog, that was prompted by a comment on a family genealogy website:
Site member said: These newspaper articles that want to make the Tablers ALL about BLACK people need to study and listen to the ancestors of the Tablers and get the facts straight. I've considered myself black/colored all my life, but I'm old, almost 70, and that's the old thinking, look at the kids now. Its a different story. My 2 cents worth...
My comment: This is directed at the controversy surrounding Hannah the Tabler slave, so that is my main and only focus here, although I realize that many Tablers married into all the other shades of mixed families, by the family names, Mayle, Harris etc. These family names have their own beginning stories. I am caring about our very first Tabler ancestors. Anyone who came down the line from one or many a Tabler could end up being racially anything or everything. That said, it does not make it alright for the people, and organizations behind, often published, articles regarding Tabler history to make each and every person of Tabler descend all about being Black. Where is the rest of their heritage? Why do they not have the right to choose what they want to be?
They've always been told they were of mixed heritage, colored...ok. Back in their ancestors times and in their rural area that meant mulatto to them, but in the city, or mainstream, colored has always meant Black, not multiracial or multicultural, not anything like that. In a real sense the earlier Tablers and their associates have helped to label themselves, accepting this, not understanding that colored is Black in the mainstream of things. Many people from this ancestry are still living by the "one drop" rule...a rule the government made...a rule the white man said that they had to adhere to... a rule the "powerful men in the area" made sure was applied to all Tablers no matter how white they appeared. This is a new day these rules no longer apply. Why would anyone allow this to continue? Why in this day and age would anyone condone the "one drop" rule?
It's ok if someone wants to be of a unique people, but why would anyone look at a light skinned person, or an obvious American Indian ancestor or their descendant and say that they were/are just Black? Hannah may have been part Black, but she could have easily been part American Indian. More than likely, from research, she probaby was much more genetically European. The early articles never describe Hannah as Black. Slaves come in many different colors. Our ancestors tried to stress their other heritages. Hannah or whoever the other first mothers of Michael's children (if they were all his children) were are not the only ancestors the Tablers have. My goodness some of these freed slaves (alledged children of Michael) married whites; married Quakers. Why do we never here about them. Some of these white mothers were labeled Black just because of their married name. I studied the American Indians and they were in Virginia, they were in Berkeley county, they were everywhere the Tabler's were, many were bound into slavery or were indentured servants, although they didn't make good slaves proving too wiley for their slave holders. Most of them were forced to leave the area, but many simulated into the white population. Yes, if you have a lot of Black Africian heritage and it's genetically dominant, of course, one would say they were Black. Sure, be what you want to be, but it seems more like people from this heritage are being what they were told to be...first by the men in power, then by their own families who grew use to something that many knew wasn't true. They've made it a tradition to be held in slavery and pass that message on to their children or let other family members,or other people of the area do it for them.
It's not that I can't understand other people's perceptions, or why they have them; I can. As for the younger generations, some still think about race I know. As a result of all the generations who where taught to accept and ignore we now have older generations of Tablers who resent being called Black, never wanted to be called Black, and younger generations calling themselves Black even tho their DNA would prove them to be dominant in other areas. I'm not saying it's bad to be Black, and I can't say why the elders don't want to be Black, but surely one reason is because it's not what they all are, it's not how they look...the American Indian and European is dominant for many, but it's briefed over, or sometimes denied, while the Black takes front and center...all Tablers were/are Black, really? The people need to stand up for themselves and all the things that they are, or for whatever it is that they want to be. They don't know what to call themselves, they feel torn....we have DNA, it's ok to know who you are and what you are, and it's ok to say it...
There is so much info out there to be found if one just looks, it's all over the Internet. The elder's have so much knowledge of who their ancestors were if they would just speak up before they are all gone. They want me to do it....I've been listening to them and their confusions, prejudices and resentments all my life, not just my lines; all the lines. I know so many Tablers. These feelings may not be there for some who may descend of Tabler ancestry due to other family names or feelings, but it is there for many Tablers who still reside in the area...I know. They tell me.