Saturday, September 5, 2020

the last book I ever read (Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay, excerpt six)

from Amiable with Big Teeth by Claude McKay:

“I’d like you to tell me why you and your people are interested in Ethiopia. Why you are making sacrifices to defend the country. Is it just because they are a colored people like you?”

“Not at all. The Chinese and Hindus are colored, and we don’t have exactly the same sentiment for them that we have for Ethiopia. But Ethiopia is African and our people have their roots in Africa. It is the same sentiment that different white Americans have for Europe. They can’t feel just the same way about Africa and Asia, because their roots are European. It is a natural human feeling. If a native state can maintain its existence in Africa and hold its head up among the white nations, it adds up to the self-respect of the colored Americans. For Africa is the land of their ancestors, who were brought here in a state of degradation. When an African people do something that is fine and noble it also gives our people hope and courage to fight race and color prejudice here and strive to lift themselves up in a noble way. I don’t know if you will understand me, but a people live by tradition and self-respect as much as they do by food and drink.”

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