It was when I was in high school, during my final year, that I got the clear picture of what segregation is all about. It wasn't out of experience, even though I had experienced it many times in the past from different people, due to different situations or communities. But it was as a result of a book I read in preparation for my then-forthcoming examination.
This book was titled "Native Son" by Richard Wright. A black American based novel that speaks clearly on what segregation is all about. It as well gives history of how the blacks ended up there in the first place and of course, how they were seen to be below and unworthy of mixing up with the angels (the whites). This was the very book that made me feel in love with novels. Despite it huge length in terms of pages and words, I read through it thrice! Yea, because it was among the major questions to be asked in the exam hall. And truth is, because I loved it and still do.
Based on the life of the main character, Bigger Thomas, who was a black in the novel and had to pass through some of the horrible phases of life that others before him and around him had and is passing through, which made himself and the others take some drastic decisions, which in the case of Bigger, among them is the killing of his beloved fellow black girlfriend. All the young lad ever did, the stealings, murders and killing.. .... I used the word murder and killing because the first was not really a murder. It was a mistake and they all(the crimes) were all done out of fear.
Have you ever been afraid of something bigger than you that is present everywhere but you don't know what angle it is coming from and all you do for the rest of your life, or in our cases, for a long period of time is to watch our backs in every move we make? These moves could even be as simple as eating or even sleeping!!! Damn! If you ask me, there is no other frustration greater than this. I have experienced this in reality and I know what it feels like. Believe me, you don't wanna know.
But with the little experience gathered from reading the book, I was able to relate preety well of what the damage of being segregated (unlawfully /unjustified) can do to a person. Even the tiniest level of segregation that is as simple and is all believed to be overlooked as nothing.
One thing our teacher told us before reading the novel was for us to read as though we were Bigger Thomas himself. And while we were done, he asked us a simple question.... Is Bigger to be blamed for the crimes he committed, or the society in which he committed those crimes? For real! You need to see the silence that prevailed over the classroom that day! It took about 3 to 4 minutes before a sound was made from a chair which saved us all from the excruciating silence and saw us trying to answer the questions the best way we could.
Thank you for reading. I remain @rollinshive, A.K.A InThe Black. Feel free to support up voting, commenting or sharing (Rebloging). I'll catch you up soon!