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The middle passage: white ships, black cargo…
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The middle passage: white ships, black cargo (edició 1995)

de Tom Feelings

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16616137,206 (4.58)5
Alex Haley's Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people.
Títol:The middle passage: white ships, black cargo
Autors:Tom Feelings
Informació:New York: Dial Books, c1995.
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca

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The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo de Tom Feelings

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It goes without saying that the slaves weren’t seen as equals, or as having any rights at all—look through the book if you want to know what ‘at all’ means—or even as being fully human, but really I would go so far as to say that you shouldn’t treat horses like this. I mean it. Horses.

After all a slave isn’t an ordinary worker. The whites looked at the Blacks like they were a bit like horses, sure, but they weren’t the sort of horses that you liked or even managed rationally. They treated them like they were /bad/, like they were part-demon. I feel a little unhesitant to even put this theory into words, that the Blacks were seen as half-horse, half-demon—and aside from the introductions there are no words in the book, no language—because I think it’s easy for that to continue. Some Black guy makes it onto the news—well of course, he’s half-horse, half-demon. The slave trader is not Economic Man, you know, not rational. It’s not the sort of book a Scottish economist would read by the fire.

I actually don’t think you should even treat a demon like this, and I think that the argument is pretty sound, too. (You don’t try to.... merge.... with a demon, right.)

Things did get better for Black people, though: sometimes during American slavery they were treated like horses that you could like, and even the KKK says that you shouldn’t try to.... merge.... with them, because after all they’re demons!

.... Anyway, I don’t mean to wail on the Indian (South Asian) way of looking at the world and the question of evil, but looking at the rats gnawing on the dead bodies makes me think there is something to the Jewish idea of tsimtsum (divine contraction), that we are permitted to do things that are not the divine will, the I guess Arminian thing where sin and such exist because we are given the freedom to choose. Of course, maybe that’s too much name dropping, and clearly we’re still left with the stark and even disgusting, revolting nature of evil.... I just feel like we could do so much better, you know, not that we’ve accumulated such a great track record so far, right.


Re: India vs Tsimtsum

So Alan Watts gave this great talk once about how he or somebody was in World War Two and they had this spiritual experience where everything was well with the world, regardless of whether the bombs fell on their house or not. It’s a beautiful thought, but I’m not sure you’d get the same feel if the suffering was not just filled with dread but ugliness, and disgustingness—if you’re a prisoner on a slave ship and rats are munching on your neighbors, (as well as strangers from other tribes), what do you do with that? Do you get to the awful but beautiful dread of God from there?

The thing about the divine contraction is that it could be the devil with delegated powers to run the show for now, and God is just taking notes to see how people react when they’re not afraid of him—when he’s not around, when people are afraid of everybody else except him.
  goosecap | Nov 17, 2020 |
This book is breath-taking in visual scope and presentation! With the power of a silent movie, it conveys the brutality and unfortunate circumstances Africans endured using a limited, bur richly-textured palette of colors/tones. The ghostly, ethereal depictions of their captors hauntingly communicates their ghastly practices. The lyrical sweep of the images creates words and ideas more effectively communicated than words could articulate. A must read/see which offers much material for pondering/reflection. ( )
  raboissi | Feb 16, 2018 |
While reading this I could only imagine the emotional response from someone who is more passionate about this subject than me. It has a huge amount of detailed written and even more detailed paintings. It truly gives you a terrifying view into the past and what the experience was like for those Africans who were stolen from their land. Due to its vivid and descriptive nature I can see why people wouldn't want to read this, but I think it is almost necessary to fully understand slavery. ( )
  JasonCam1 | Feb 10, 2018 |
In Tom Feelings' introduction, he says "I began to see how important the telling of this particular story could be for Africans all over this world, many who consciously or unconsciously share this 'race memory,' this painful experience of the Middle Passage." The book was published in 1995, long before scientific acknowledgement of and inquiry into epigenetics. I would love to know how current knowledge of epigenetics might have influenced this book and how it currently affects the interpretation of the effects of the Middle Passage. ( )
  ProfDesO | Apr 30, 2017 |
I would read this book to kids to open discussions about capitalism, greed, and human captivity. ( )
  ktankers | Sep 5, 2013 |
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It took me two years and six months to finish the preliminary drawings. I didn’t know when I started this project that time was the essential thing I needed to tell the story completely in pictures—the kind of time one associates with the form of a long novel. Time for me to open myself up and explore the mind not just of one single person through this experience, but the minds of a whole people. A people who lived and still live this story with all its complex social and historical implications throughout the diaspora. A phrase began to form in my consciousness, one that I have often used to describe the creation of this story in pictures: “The pain of the present sometimes seems overwhelming, but the reasons for it are rooted in the past.”
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Alex Haley's Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people.

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