How Zulus relates to our class topic of racism was on my mind while we have been covering the book. Prior to our conversation of how the book reflects the consequences of prejudices that is associated with Alice’s weight and its parallelism to racism, I had wondered what race Alice was. Although this may not be relevant to the story overall, I had assumed that Alice was black due to the context of the class. However, it didn’t occur to me until not too long ago that there is an overweight white woman on the cover who is most likely Alice. This actually reminded me of a debate I had whilst reading Home. There is a scene in which Frank arrives in Georgia and is jumped by a number of people. An individual he calls a “Samaritan” approaches Frank, helps him up, gives him money, and then sends him along his way. I do remember that there was a conversation in class where we discussed the possible race of this Samaritan, and many agreed that he is most likely African American like Frank due to his use of the word “brother” when talking to Frank. This assumption of the race of both the Samaritan and Alice reminded me of a riddle I would like to propose to you all.
“A father and son are in a horrible car crash that kills the dad. The son is rushed to the hospital; just as he’s about to go under the knife, the surgeon says, “I can’t operate – that boy is my son!” Explain.
Were you confused at this? Did you think how could the son be the surgeon’s son if the dad is dead? It might be because you assumed that the doctor is a male; the surgeon is actually the boy’s mother. This is a riddle that a psychology professor from Boston University has utilized in order to reveal how ingrained gender bias is in the minds of groups of children and university students. This made me wonder about how I assumed Alice’s race to be African American due to her unfortunate circumstances. It also made me realize how in my mind, I associated overweight women with the African American women that was portrayed to me through high school. I still remember the pictures shown during history class of African American women slaves who were always shown to be on the bigger side with the title as a cook. It was just interesting to me that even with a book that does not address the idea of racism directly (even with a black character present), I still find myself exhibiting such stereotypes onto the characters in the book. Have you?