A Comparison Of Bug-Jargal And Born A Crime

1860 Words 8 Pages
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said “In America, you don’t get to decide what race you are. It is decided for you.” When you live in a world full of judgemental and racist people, it is difficult to decide what race you are. Whatever someone sees, that’s what you are. Adichie's idea extends to all colonial societies, not just America. Although, “Bug-Jargal” by Victor Hugo and “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah both don’t take place in America, the characters still face members of society deciding their race for them. When society decides someone’s race can leave them feeling confused and invisibile. These mixed-race characters race’s enable them better treatment at times, but ultimately leaves them powerless to identify with any one culture in …show more content…
The character of the sang mele faces many advantages as a result of being mixed-race. The dual between D’Auverney and the sang mele isn’t necessarily an example of a benefits of being mixed-raced. However, it does show that the sang mele and Captain D’Auverney have equal standing in society. If he were seen as a black man, or a slave he would have been killed right away. Also, the sang mele is able to become a rich planter, and mingle among the white people, although they may not accept him. When Biassou captures the prisoners, the sang mele’s life is spared because of his race. “I am a mulatto! I am one of yours.’ ‘The proof?’ Biassou said icily. ‘The proof,’ the other man answered, completely distraught, ‘is that the whites have always had contempt for me.” (Hugo 141) Although the sang mele has to prove that he is actually a mulatto, he still is lucky that he isn’t the one being killed. When Biassou decides that the sang mele’s race is mulatto, the sang mele was more than willing to take on that race. The sang mele makes sure to distance himself from being white by telling Biassou that the white people have always pushed him away and belittled him, just as they did to Biassou and other mulattos. Throughout the book as a whole the sang mele has been changing his race to what he wants when it benefits him the …show more content…
Every character the sang-mêlé faces, they decide what race he is. The sang mele has to fight to show everyone that he is not white. When the sang mele decides that he is mulatto, he needs to try and convince everyone else to redecide his race. “No! No, General, sir! No, my brothers! I am not a white man! It is an abominable slander! I am a mulatto, a sang-mêlé just like you, son of a negress just like your mothers and your sisters!’ ‘He’s lying!’ said the furious negroes. ‘He’s a white man. He’s always detested blacks and men of colour.’ ‘Never!’ the prisoner replied. ‘It is the whites I detest. I am one of your brothers. I have always said along with you: “Nègre cé blan, blan cé nègre!” (Hugo 141) When the sang mele officially decides that he is mulatto, the other prison will not allow that. The prison continues to fight against the sang mele, he is unwilling to let the sang mele decide his own race. Although at the beginning of the book when the sang-mêlé tried saying he was white, everyone fought him saying he wasn’t. Whenever it’s convenient both, the members of society and the sang-mêlé decide the sang-mêlé’s race. However these decisions were never in agreement. When the sang mele makes the deal with Biassou, the other prisoner is outraged. How dare the sang mele think he can take the life of a white man? “Die by your hand?’ the economist bawled out. ‘But what for? Be

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