“Who am I?”
He surprised me. “Dirty little nigger bitch,” he said reflectively. “Goddamn mongrel cub.” Then he gasped and clutched his head between his hands. After a moment, he put his head down on the table and groaned.
It was clear that he was in pain. His face had suddenly gone a deep red. “Didn’t mean to say that,” he whispered. “Didn’t mean to call you that.” He looked at me. “Sorry. Didn’t mean it.”
“They call me those things, don’t they?”
“Because I’m dark-skinned?”
“And human,” he said. “Ina mixed with some human or maybe human mixed with a little Ina. That’s not supposed to happen. Not ever. Couldn’t let you and you…your kind…your family…breed” (Butler 173).
This passage is eye-opening since it implicitly highlights the potential motives as to why Shori and her Ina families have been ruthlessly targeted. During his interrogation with Shori after his attack at the Gordon’s community, raider Victor Colon expresses his seemingly evident distaste of the vampire and the dangers she possesses. The diction that Butler implements in Colon’s dialogue is representative of the racism that Shori has to unfortunately face throughout her life. While Victor does not explicitly state this, the audience can infer from the racial slurs that Victor, along with his sidekicks and other enemies, came to kill Shori due to her race. However, his feelings of sorrow towards Shori and the horrifying damage has committed are reflected in his constant negations. Victor states how he “Didn’t mean that” three times in a row. The author employs this repetition in order to underscore Colon’s insistence that he is truly sorry for what he had said. When he “gasped and clutched his head between his hands,” it can be assumed that Victor is just following the views of his “bosses” and does not actually despise Shori. The pain and confusion that are depicted in this passage are the result of being controlled by the masterminds who forced him to commit the unthinkable. The final statement that Victor makes in this excerpt is: “Couldn’t let you and you…your kind…your family…breed” (Butler 173). What is interesting to note here is the syntax. Butler intentionally inputs ellipses to illustrate the difficulty of Colon describing Shori’s species, since she is biologically complex with both Ina/human DNA. The fact that Victor could not allow the breeding to occur might imply that Shori’s enemies do not like the success of genetic engineering that Shori’s family has experienced or maybe do not like the experiment altogether. This is a second possible motive as to why Victor and his sidekicks were ordered to murder the protagonist, and is one that Wright himself had suggested earlier to Daniel Gordon upon meeting him. Lastly, this excerpt hints at one of the most significant themes of the novel: racism. Racism is one recurring element that has appeared in other literary works read in our “21st Century Expression” class.In the dystopian novel Ink, for example, Latinos faced discrimination and were forced to adorn tattoos representing their level of citizenship. Shori encounters similar discrimination when Victor calls her a “litte nigger” and “mongrel cub” after she asks him who she is. This prejudice, although presented in a science fiction context, is a visible and prevalent issue in the audience’s present society. The author, being African American herself, incorporates racism throughout the book to address this ongoing bigotry that blacks still face today.
Attached is a relevant article that discusses how racism in the 21st century is a whole different battle than one conquered in the past and that it needs new strategies in order to combat or lessen the severity of.