The Power of One - Response 3 - Chap 7-8 - Humanity
Although some may believe that the author of The Power of One does not have an agenda, the author is trying to make a statement that the natural tendency of human beings is to be racist and feel themselves superior to others. All whites in the book, even the hero, Peekay, mistreat blacks in their day to day lives. But taking a step back, why did the Europeans colonized Africa? What made them feel so superior? And why did they decide to convert as many as possible to Christianity? Maybe it was because every human feels a little better than everyone else deep down inside.
Even Peekay is not totally immune; he is slightly racist on occasion throughout the book. He orders around his black servants, Dee and Dum, on page 139 to “put on the water and I will bathe myself.” He also insults them, “I am too old to be washed by silly girls.” He does not seem to care when Hoppie starts the train without the blacks on page 63. During the fight, on page 87, Peekay does not say anything about the blacks under his feet. However, Peekay is generally pretty good in comparison to some of the other characters in the book. They are even more racist than Peekay. Hoppie calls the blacks “stinky" on page 63 and disrespects the Indians on pages 76-80. Jackhammer Smit calls Hoppie a “kaffir” lover on page 81. Peekay’s mom employs servants, whom she treats as slaves. There are also many more examples throughout the book. Every white person in the book, Peekay included, at one point or another, acts as if he or she is better than the natives of Africa.
Why is this? Why do the white settlers feel so superior over the native Africans? Why do they try to shove Christianity down their throats? Everyone thinks that they are a bit better than others. One’s belief in religion can foster that thought. Everyone thinks they know who is “god,” and how human kind was created. Some even take their beliefs too far. Peekay’s mom is a perfect example. She converted Dee and Dum to Christianity and fired Nanny for not converting. She called the medicine man a “disgusting, filthy, evil old man” and “a witch doctor” on page 141. Her religion is the main factor she despises Inkosi-Inkosikazi; this is a perfect example of how Christianity over ran her. Peekay, on the other hand, is not as crazy about “the Lord” and admirers Inkosi-Inkosikazi for solving his bed wetting problems. Christians, like Peekay’s mom, felt as if it was their solemn duty to convert these “barbaric” Africans. She and other Christians can only see it their ways. They believe that their way is the right way. They never stop to question.
However, these practices are not just limited to Christians, but include all Europeans. Also the cause is not just religion, but pride as well. Europeans sailed into Africa with their machine guns and they now think they own it. They think that they are better then the Africans. But are they as superior as they think they are? In The Power of One, the author is trying to show a common truth about human kind. Whites and Christians are not as superior as they think they are. Therefore, they should not go around colonizing other nations and mistreating its natives.