“You’re not Ina!” he shouted. (Butler 238)
That’s true. She wasn’t. Shori Matthews was a young genetically-modified vampire whose DNA was mixed with a black woman’s so that she could go into the sun unlike the most normally pale vampires, or Ina.
But was this the only argument on why she shouldn’t be allowed to live?
Sure she’s black, where the normal vampires aren’t. Sure she’s enhanced with human DNA, which is based on the same argument of GMO salmon. But is that the only reason to hate her?
It seemed to me that this was a very superficial argument. Of course, I don’t know much about the argument for racism, except that people don’t like things that look/act different.
I know that we used to hurt and abuse people for being black. There was name calling, segregation, murders. But there wasn’t a reason why. When we moved from slavery to none, it seemed people were still holding on to traditions, that blacks should be treated as slaves or tools and when we were forced to change, people hated this change in living.
But in this book, it seemed as if the characters were using this same argument for Shori, except without the history. Everyone hated her because she was black, but since there was no reasoning from the characters besides that she was GMO to advance their race, to me it seemed like a very bland argument with an overly-exaggerated response.
First off, it seemed strange that the Ina didn’t perceive any racist tendencies in relation to their symbionts (human food source). Why would some perceive it within their species but not in relation to their syms?
And second, why is it that this proper Ina family, the Silks, go through such immoral means to remove her? It seemed an exaggerated response that was more for a wow-factor than for realism.
Everyone says they were an “ancient and once-respected family,” and yet this family didn’t go through legal means to stand against this issue? They brought up a technique that was dead for centuries instead of raising the issue to be discussed?
It seems Disney-esque that these villains react so violently to an issue that has actually never been explored. This conflict seems as if it was implied throughout the novel through a few words scattered here and there, saying that not everyone believed this to go be a good method to advance the race.
I think my feelings could reside in the fact that I’ve never truly researched why racism exists. For being so against it, I could harbor my own beliefs that keep me from seeing the conflict the story is based on. But it doesn’t change the fact that I do feel this way, and I wonder how many people do.
Would a solution be to build up the underlying conflict more? To explain why the Ina cannot accept a black vampire? It seems the only reason I was given was, ‘she’s black!’ I know, personally, I would’ve preferred more than that. More than, “she’s modified!”
Why do they care about this? Why aren’t they worried about sleeping like the dead during the day? What are their concerns?
Maybe this is a good learning lesson to build up your villains just as much as your characters. Even if they’re the bad guy, they still think they’re doing something right, even if it’s the wrong reason. In this way, they should have just as much justification for their actions as the heroes.
Butler, Octavia E. Fledgling. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing, 2005. Print.