The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
A sad and very realisticpicture of black children’s innocent view of racism.
You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question. The master had said, ”You are ugly people.” They had looked about themselves and saw nothing to contradict the statement; saw, in fact, support for it leaning at them from every billboard, every movie, every glance. ”Yes,” they had said. ”You are right.”
One child in the book hates white dolls, because she feels that adults think she should look like that. Why is it that they – who are black themselves – think white skin is cuter? Another child wishes for blue eyes: it is evidently there beauty lies, as all beautiful people have blue eyes. If only she had blue eyes, people would stop treating her as if she was ugly.
How do you teach a child about racism, especially if that child is in the group discriminated against? (”You don’t,” the answer should be.) What a sad, what an amazing book!