The Color Purple
How we cite our quotes:
Why can’t Tashi come to school? she [Olivia] asked me. When I told her the Olinka don’t believe in educating girls she said, quick as a flash, They’re like white people at home who don’t want colored people to learn. (62.10)
Olivia utters one of the most political statements of the book, recognizing that sexism and racism are similar forms of oppression.
I think Africans are very much like white people back home, in that they think they are the center of the universe and that everything that is done is done for them. (65.2)
Nettie recognizes the vast cultural differences that separate her from Africans, even though they have the same color skin.
Then she [Shug] tell me this old white man is the same God she used to see when she prayed. If you wait to find God in church, Celie, she say, that’s who is bound to show up, cause that’s where he live.
How come? I ast.
Cause that’s the one that’s in the white folks’ white bible.
Shug! I say. God wrote the bible, white folks had nothing to do with it.
How come he look just like them, then? She say. Only bigger? And a heap more hair. How come the bible just like everything else they make, all about them doing one thing and another, and all the colored folks doing is gitting cursed?
I never thought about that.
Nettie say somewhere in the bible it say Jesus’ hair was like lamb’s wool, I say.
Well, say Shug, if he came to any of these churches we talking bout he’d have to have it conked before anybody paid him any attention. The last thing niggers wan tot think about they God is that his hair kinky.
That’s the truth, I say.
Ain’t no way to read the bible and not think God white, she say. Then she sigh. When I found out I thought God was white, and a man, I lost interest. You mad cause he don’t seem to listen to your prayers. Humph! Do the mayor listen to anything colored say? (73.28;35-44)
Shug points out that the reason Celie’s lost her faith in God is because she has the wrong idea about God: she believes that God is a white man and treats her just like white men do, like she’s trash, like she’s beneath him. Religion has always been racialized, Shug says, but that doesn’t make it right or true.