Sunday, December 4, 2016

Racism goes both ways {USA}

Small Great Things |  Jodi Picoult
3/5 stars

I cannot tell you the number of times I rolled my eyes saying ‘Oh for God’s sake this could NOT have happened. This many times to the same person? Is she serious?”. I thought maybe Picoult’s trying to put all kinds of racist experiences in one book for the reader to get a whole view. But who am I to comment on that? How am I supposed to know how much is too much? Especially since even a little is way too much to leave a scar in your mind?

The part of the world were I come from, discrimination is typically religion driven. Yet it’s different from racism. For example a staunch hindu brahmin family will probably not want their daughters to marry a muslim and they may not be be willing to hire muslim cook, yet I doubt they’ll instinctively pull their purses towards themselves when a muslim walks by. A family looking for a ‘beautiful’ bride for their son will turn their noses up to a dusky girl, but I doubt they will be wary that she’ll shoplift. 

The discrimination is appalling either way, yet I didn’t know how appalling  racism was since I never had a chance to witness it first hand. {C’mon, when I had a black friend at 16 and all I could think of was how cool she was and how I wish I could have a even a bit of that swagger!}

But the book’s title on my Kindle is literally “ Small Great Things: To Kill A Mockingbird for the 21st Century”, i.e. The publisher put the review in the in the title itself! No kidding. Although I LOVE Jodi Picoult (Not for “My Sister’s Keeper”, but for beautifully written “Leaving Time”) I have to be honest here. It’s not just the title that’s a bit trite (it’s inspired by a Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr quote though), the material sometimes is over the top too (it even has a Bollywood-ish twist at the end!)

The only black labour & delivery nurse in the staff is barred from caring for the baby of a white supremacist. Then the baby goes into cardiac arrest when she’s the only one around that moment. She hesitates, yet does all she can to save the baby when the code is called. All the parents see is her aggressively pounding on the dying child and they file a lawsuit accusing her of murder.
Review of Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things: Racism goes both ways {Globetrotting with Books}

The best part is that you are privy to what goes on in the minds of the white supremacist, the black victim, and the white lawyer (who isn’t a racist, yet doesn’t yet understand racism) since the story is narrated by all 3 characters. 

The point this Greys Anatomy styled story actually wants to drive home is that racism is not only about discrimination but about who holds the institutional power. It’s not just black history, it’s everyone’s history and the reason why white people have those privileges is because black people are usually barred from them.

Prejudice goes both ways. There are people who suffer from it and there are people who profit from it. Did you ever think our misfortune is directly related to your good fortune? Maybe the house your parents bought was on the market because the sellers didn't want my mama in the neighbourhood. Maybe the good grades that eventually led you to law school were possible because your mama didn’t have to work eighteen hours a day, and was there to read to you at night, or make sure you did your homework. How often do you remind yourself how lucky you are that you own your house, because you were about the build up equity through generations in a way families of color can’t? How often do you open your mouth at work and think how awesome it is that no one’s thinking you’re speaking for everyone with the same color you have?

In the Trump era, it is worth reading about how people think,  and what drives them to think lesser of minorities.

So yeah, although I’ll rate it a mere 3 on 5, I’ll say it’s a must read. 

I still don’t understand it, but I least I’m trying to. 

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  1. I didn't make it all the way through the book on my first try but I might try it again. I keep thinking I should...

    1. Why? did you get bored? I admit it could be a little sometimes...!

  2. I'm not really a Jody Picoult fan, but I agree that at any time, it is worth reading about how people think"
    Have you read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates?

  3. I've never read any work by Jody Picoult, I think this is where I should start.


  4. I received a copy of this book for review, and I really appreciate reading your thoughts about it. I haven't read any of Jodi Picoult's novels, so I am a trifle apprehensive.

    1. It's an easy read, you could breeze through it pretty quickly!

  5. Sounds like a really interesting read. I havent read a Jodi Picoult novel before and this one sounds particularly interesting. A topic that many could argue isnt as prominent or overt as it used to be 50+ years ago, but something that definitely still exists as an undertone in many instances. Great review, thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily