In “The Book of Negroes” both feminism and post colonialism was evident, but I found that there was more evidence for post colonialism. This novel is written from Aminata’s perspective which shows clear evidence how the toubab’s (whites) had more control/power over the African’s. Aminata was abducted from her homeland, sold into slavery, and was almost always under the control of white people.
Aminata was oppressed throughout the entire novel. She watched her family die, she was taken from her homeland to become a slave, both of her children were taken away from her, her husband had died, she was raped, beaten, and lived her life as a slave. She was stripped of her identity and forced to work for the toubab’s and do as they asked. If slaves didn’t do as they were told, they were beaten severely.
These slaves were not treated like people. They were more treated like animals with the white’s being their owners. They would sell slaves for a price with a male being the most expensive. “A healthy woman would go for half the price of a man, and a healthy child one quarter” (Hill, 591). These people were now just a number value. Their past no longer matter, it didn’t matter who they truly were as a person. The white people had taken that all away from them and forced them to become a slave with a price.
White people are the dominance in this novel while the Africans are the oppressed. All the slaves are African; there isn’t a single white slave. This could be due to the fact that a majority of people were racist back then. Black people were seen as a weaker race than whites. White people often thought that they were superior and that Black people deserved less than them. They deserved less food, and poorer shelters to live in, but deserved such hard labour.
By the end of this book, Aminata had escaped slavery and had resided in England. In England, she was asked to write a book about her life story as a slave for the Abolitionist Movement. Even while she was in England, white people still thought they were somewhat dominant. Stanley Hastings, an English man who wanted Aminata’s story to help the movement had said, “With delicacy and all meticulous care, we will interview you and write a short account of your life, including the abuses you suffered in the slave trade” (629). I’m sorry, what? Stanley wants to write a story from HIS perspective about AMINATA’S life? How is that fair? Aminata had said from the beginning that she will try her best to remember everything that she has went through so that one day she can share her story. And now Stanley wants to do it for her? After reading this story, you can tell that Aminata is not a person who lets people do things for her that she is well capable of doing. She stands up for herself and says, “I have decided to write the story of my life…Without guidance, thank you very much. My life. My words. My pen. I am capable of writing” (635). She knows that she isn’t inferior because of her race or her past. She considers herself superior because of all the things she has went through and all the knowledge she has gained throughout her journey. She learned how to stand up for herself and other Africans against White people.
I find it quite disturbing how the white people had complete dominance over the Africans. I am not a racist person and I think that everyone should be treated equally. I still can’t wrap my mind around the idea that slavery was a huge part of our past and still happens in some places today because people feel they have more power than others.