The Color Purple
Race Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
Millions and millions of Africans were captured and sold into slavery—you and me, Celie! And whole cities were destroyed by slave catching wars. Today the people of Africa—having murdered or sold into slavery their strongest folks—are riddled by disease and sunk in spiritual and physical confusion….
Why did they sell us? How could they have done it? And why do we still love them? (57.4-5)
Nettie reflects on how evil done in Africa by Africans has brought evil back on themselves.
They are the blackest people I have ever seen, Celie. They are black like the people we are talking about when we say, "So and so is black than black, he’s blueblack." They are so black, Celie, they shine. Which is something else folks down home like to say about real black folks. But Celie, try to imagine a city full of these shining, blueblack people wearing brilliant blue robes with designs like fancy quilt patterns. Tall, thin, with long necks and straight backs. Can you picture it at all, Celie? Because I felt like I was seeing black for the first time. And Celie, there is something magical about it. Because the black is so black the eye is simply dazzled, and then there is the shining that seems to come, really, from moonlight, it is so luminous, but their skin glows even in the sun. (58.1)
Nettie begins to revel in the color of black skin, to feel the pride of her heritage.
The president [of Monrovia] talked a good bit about his efforts trying to develop the country and about his problems with the natives, who don’t want to work to help build the country. It was the first time I’d heard a black man use that word. I knew that to white people all colored people are natives. But he cleared his throat and said he only mean "native" to Liberia. I did not see any of these "natives" in his cabinet. And none of the cabinet members’ wives could pass for natives. (58.3)
For the first time, Nettie observes prejudice against Africans from a black man. Instead of distinctions set up between black and white people, it’s between black former descendants of slaves and the black original inhabitants of Liberia.