A few years ago Kanye West, made a comment suggesting that enslaved Africans chose their lives of slavery. While I was taken aback by his statement that I deemed ignorant, I would often wonder at times why those were enslaved, simply endured their positions during that time and why they didn’t fight hard enough against those who enslaved them. I am reminded through "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," that there existed, slaves who did rebel, who were unruly and posed as challenges as they would often try to run away to escape their plight. I have also learned through the text, that the system of slavery was one that provided no laws to protect slaves and that they were both mentally and psychologically abused and manipulated, separated from their families, physically and emotionally drained and brutally beaten for their most basic humanistic instincts. As I reflect on my own life, and I recall incidents that robbed me of my own faculties and limited my ability to make the most minute personal changes, I now understand the impossibilities of going up against and entire system that was strategically put in place to keep an entire race of people “in place.”
In this week's discussion on the "Etymology" chapter, I wrote that I felt that the purpose of this chapter is to look beyond the scope of the wording and read between the lines so to speak - take the whale and use it to find an ultimate theme. I found this trend to continue through extracts and even with the opening of the novel. With Etymology, Extracts, and the opening of the novel there is this essential need for obtaining knowledge. First we are thrown different ways to say whale, then where whales come up in other texts or moments in history, and finally setting out on an adventure (you often gain knowledge through exposure you obtain through travel.) I think perhaps this can be a theme we see and can build off of. -Evie Blinder
In response to Latisha, I did have some pondering questions about lives of slaves and why they hadn't rebelled more, but I feel like the context is what we learn in schools. There were many advocates for those against slavery and many people who fought actively against it. At the same time, it's impossible to truly wonder why they couldn't do more when they were brought to unknown lands with their spirits broken. Just like LAtisha mentions at how draining it was, the white man oppressed them in a way that didn't leave room for much hope. It's so incredibly heartbreaking and yet we still find ourselves in a time where we, for a while, still lacked the faith that we could change an entire system. But, change is now, change is happening, change will continue to happen.