A book that depicts what human beings in the 1800s were treated like. In a way, you can see the slaves were not treated like humans but rather even worse than how animals were treated. How can a breathing, living person be tortured in so many ways and how can a person have the heart to inflict so much bodily harm to a citizen. There would be multiple occurrences of beatings and women getting rapped. All of these harmful acts were normalized in the antebellum south in a period of time, where white owners dominated and took “control” of the minds of the forgotten innocent humans.
In the book, We are introduced to the patrollers during the slavery period. They were men who were on the streets of the south who wandered around and patrolled the streets and their main mission was to make life even more miserable for black people. They were supposed to keep things in check and make sure everything was going how it was supposed to. They just did whatever they felt like doing to the black people. They would “gang” up on black men and women alike and would beat them in public. They would tie people on to trees and humiliate them. People would hide or avoid leaving their homes to prevent themselves from getting hurt.
Dana has experienced many sights of belligerent and she is constantly in hostile environments. She is staying with the Weylin family where the dad is a ruthless owner of slaves and is the person in “control” along with his wife Margaret who always tells her husband what she wants and things usually go the way she wants to. She is the person who made Weylin sell some slaves off for her own interest. Rufus, their son is one interesting individual. He can be nice sometimes with racial intentions in his mind. He would always use the N-Word around Dana but he has a black friend named Nigel. This just goes on with his puzzling mind. He has the ability to grow up and be as evil or even more evil than his dad is. He could build off what his dad has created and each day Rufus is learning something new from both his father and Dana. Dana is very patient towards him and never takes things to the heart whenever he says something disrespectful. She treats him like he is her son and is there to educate him about what the slaves are going through and also help him with reading. She does not want him to grow up to be his father but rather be a respectful white man who understands the struggles of the African American people. She is the only one who can prevent him from growing up to be evil.
There is also a lot of “mental” violence going on in Kindred. There is constant mental abuse towards black people. Dana who is free is a great victim of mental abuse who is often disrespected and degraded by the Weylin. Even though she is a free slave she is also a victim of whippings by the patrollers and Mr.Weylin. She gets whipped doing what she likes doing best simply reading a book will land a whipping session which is very hard to comprehend. It shows a world where no black person has the ability to express their own interests and that the “fun” is meant for white people only.
One part of the book flashes back to Dana going back to her modern-day status of being a respected functioning member of her society. She is having trouble readjusting to her old “normal” life as she keeps thinking about all the harsh things going on. She goes back and sees Rufus, the person she is mentoring to be better, tussling with a black man named Isaac. She feels really down and probably feels that her work to prevent him from being evil is not working. She also finds out that Rufus has raped Alice and asked “Rufe, did you manage to rape that girl?” and this is the “normalized” sexual violence that occurs in Kindred.
Dana can’t handle all that is going around her hostile environment and she manages to run away one night but has failed miserably as Rufus and his father found Dana in the bushes and Weylin starts to abuse her and beat her badly. This is an example of there is not total “freedom” for black people. If you are black and seem to be doing your own thing there will always be some type of hatred or act of violence towards you.
This made me think of the violence that is going on in modern-day society. The biggest threat to black people in life right now is the Police. The police in a way resemble some of the bad qualities the patrollers had in Kindred. They are supposed to maintain public order and make sure everything is smooth. This is not always the case as there have been many instances where black people have been killed by the police while doing harmless acts. We have a case about cops literally beating on and choking out Mr.Eric Garner of New York. He was on the street and cops suspected he was selling cigarettes and they wrestled him to the ground and choked him and he was also stating that he couldn’t breathe but guess what they kept going. The initiating officer was placed on desk duty and was instructed to do work behind the scenes and was later on not indicted on any charges. This is one of the craziest cases to this day. Police killings occur too often that it is being normalized in a way that people aren’t surprised about it as the beatings in Kindred were being normalized and people were getting used to it.
All in all, Kindred is a book that is full of violence in every aspect of it. Its a society of white control and white power. The blacks are seen as animals and pieces of property that are meant to be sold off and bought as the owners pleased with no regard for human life. Beatings and rapings were common and were not thought of as not ordinary. The black slaves were very patient with their owners until things got out of hand and most of them had a plan to escape or tried escaping. Kindred also mimics many of the societal issues going on in this world right now as the police are now seen as a threat and people try to escape and hide from them just as the slaves did when they saw the patrollers.
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