Thursday, August 11, 2011

Door of No Return


The ferry we took to Goree Island

      
it amazes me how such a beaufifu place can have such an ugly history


   On Goree Island, there is the House of Slaves where the slaves were actually held before shipped off across the Atlantic Ocean. Even though some people say that it actually is less important than Saint-Louise, Senegal or south Gambia as a point on the Atlantic slave trade, it definitely was significant and emotional place to memorialize the tragic slave trade. There are so many stories, movies or songs about slavery that I dont need to mention the brutality of it again.




Door of No Return

freedom statue on Goree Island

the house of slaves

 



hackles and chains used to slaves
room where baby slaves were kept
the punishment room
by Shalini
 There is no denial that it was horrible, inhumane and tragic incident that shouldnt have happened and should never happen again. But I have never thought about how it might affect the people in the present moment. The more I thought about it, the more strongly I could see the damages that still existed.
Let alone the exploitation of human forces and natural resources still affects the economy of Africa, and that of all the other countries that took advantage of the exploitation, I realized that I was still influencing the way black people perceive themselves and the world.
After our trip to Goree Island, I had a chance to talk to Penina about African Americans. I said, correct me if Im wrong, but I feel like more white people are trying to help Africa and study about Africa than black people in the states. She told me about the negative connotation that many of African Americans have about being black and Africa. She said that to some extent, some African Americans feel that they (or their ancestors who came to the states as slaves) were abandoned from their country, family or friends in Africa. It gave me new insight to the matter. I used to blame everything related to slavery to Europeans or white people thinking that one day they just marched into the other countries and did whatever they wanted. But it wasnt necessarily the whole truth. If the governors in Africa did not agree to the slavery or try to protect their people, it wouldnt have been as massive trade as it was. So it made sense for some of them to feel deserted. She also gave me an example. Beyonce.
Penina told me about her sharp and defined nose, bronze skin color, not-so-thick lips and her straight hair. Even though she is a black woman, how she looks and what she represents isnt so black. She said some people say that it is just a trend, but she thinks differently. I remembered watching Tyra Banks show. On her show, she usually shows that she is proud to be an African American woman and encourages others to be so. One of the episodes was about African American women who would go to extreme lengths to have whiter skin. Some mothers even used bleaching cream on their 6-7 years old kids so that they can be prettier. I am not saying that all the African American people feel that way. But I feet like somewhere deep inside, the degradation, segregation, humiliation and insults the slavery put them through left a scar and still making it hard to overcome the history.
I guess what Im trying to say is that it isnt over yet. it was the door of no return but it still is. nothing has been returned to the way it was. maybe the construction of the African Renaissance monument isn't so differrent from slave trade in regard of how the officials neglected the needs of thier people and only pursuaded thier material benefits. and none of it is only their problem. it is our problem. The world is responsible to some extent for the issues in Africa since it is the remains of the history. so we all should care.
bonus: Dr. Hickey protecting his purchase (artwork)

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