Racist Characters Bring the Hate to Some Literature

Go Tell It

During a time when the media is full of news about America’s two most infamous racists — the depraved Donald Trump and Derek Chauvin (the hateful white cop who murdered black Minneapolis resident George Floyd) — I’m depressingly reminded of virulent racists in literature.

Some of those repugnant characters are in great novels, making those books both must-reads and exceedingly painful reads. But also at times inspiring reads as that racism might be opposed or avenged, individually and collectively.

Among fiction’s awful racists? We have the white New York City cops who arrest Richard, the brainy African-American father of protagonist John Grimes in James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain, for a crime he did not commit. Richard is beaten and jailed, and eventually commits suicide in despair — before John is born.

Another vicious white-supremacist cop is Norman Daniels, who raped a black woman in the backstory of Stephen King’s novel Rose Madder.

There are of course plenty of racist white characters who aren’t cops. One of them is Bob Ewell, who falsely accuses a black man — Tom Robinson — of raping his daughter Mayella in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Disastrous consequences follow.

Then there’s the racist white mob that kills Sam (a black man) because he and Katherine (a white woman) fall in love in Louis Sachar’s Holes.

Going back to 19th-century literature, we have the racist Henri in Georges — the only novel the partly black French author Alexandre Dumas wrote that focuses on characters of color.

There are plenty of cruel white slaveowners in fiction, too. Among the better-known ones are Rufus Weylin of Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred, Simon Legree of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Tom Lea of Alex Haley’s Roots.

All of the above characters are overtly racist. There are of course countless other white people in literature more subtly racist — some of them quite wealthy, like Trump allegedly is.

Any fictional racist characters you’d like to mention?

My literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest piece — about the police murder of George Floyd and various news that’s local to my town — is here.

109 thoughts on “Racist Characters Bring the Hate to Some Literature

  1. As I read this post, I couldn’t help but think of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. A lot of people don’t like this book because Atticus who had emerged as a sort of figure who can do no wrong is shown to be on the wrong side. However, for me, that was what made the book so great. It showed that even people who are not outwardly racist may have some racism ingrained in them. It reinforced the idea that racism was a systematic issue that exists in very obvious violent forms but also in less obvious prejudices. It shows that racism, or any other form of oppression and discrimination for that matter, is something that we need to actively fight against in all its forms no matter how much or how little obvious they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kriti Rana! VERY well said, and several great points!

      I haven’t read “Go Set a Watchman,” so I can only speak about what I’ve read about it. I can see how the mixed-bag Atticus Finch in “GSAW” might be more realistic a character than the idealistic/not-racist Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And that can be a good thing to see in literature.

      I guess what bothers me is that “GSAW” was most likely an early draft of “TKAM,” and that, for whatever reason, Harper Lee changed Atticus for “TKAM” and that the release of “GSAW” might have happened without her legitimate approval in her old age.

      If “GSAW” were an entirely different Harper Lee novel than “TKAM,” and there was a morally complex main character with some racism who wasn’t Atticus, that would of course have been interesting. But perhaps still not fully sanctioned by Lee.

      Liked by 1 person

      • An author’s approval over the publication of their work is definitely very important and you’re right that a completely different novel with a different morally complex character would have been interesting to read.

        For me, when I first read “Go Set a Watchman” about 3-4 years ago, the change in the way Atticus was shown worked on two levels. The first is of course the moral ambiguity and the grey area into which his character slips. The second, was that “To Kill a Mockingbird” is set when Scout is a kid and as any child she too sees the world in black and white morality, a world where her father undoubtedly falls within the white. However in “GSAW” she is an adult and as a result has a more nuanced understanding of the world with all its grey areas and realises that even her hero, her father, can fall into one of these grey areas.

        It is because of this second reason that I don’t find the change in the characterisation of Atticus as jarring as it could have been. For me it was simply Scout growing up and gaining a more complex understanding of the world and of her father.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Those are excellent observations! I can see how Atticus (or anyone) would look quite different through the eyes of a young daughter vs. the eyes of an adult daughter.

          I suppose I should read “Go Set a Watchman” to see what I think, but for some reason have never quite brought myself to do that since it was released in 2015.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. As a spinoff, it’s disappointing to see school districts recently pulling Huck Finn (as well as To Kill A Mockingbird) from the shelves for language. It seems to me that Twain’s whole point was that that most insidious thing about a racist culture is how it traps a good kid (Huck) in a bad language. That point — that it ‘s not just racists being hurtful racists but good-hearted people who become trapped in the language of racism — is probably still the most powerful statement in literature about how systemic racism works. You could remove the bad language, but then you’ve lost the whole point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Daedalus Lex. Excellent points, and well said.

      I’m also troubled when books are pulled — especially books that obviously have their heart in the right place. The “n-word” in “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is jarring and cringe-inducing and hard to take, but it can be argued that it’s there for the reason you mentioned. The novel is clearly antiracist, as was Twain.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In the Walter Mosley books I’ve read, about a half-dozen, I estimate,it’s no daunting task to find racists, in one case, even Nazis. One of the most enduring themes therein is ‘low expectations return surprising results’, pertinent here because it derives out of racism: low expectations regarding a black detective’s intelligence and what he will endure to get to the truth surprise white clients and white perpetrators alike. It’s an edge these detectives will use to their advantage, sometimes several times in the same novel.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, jhNY, for those very astute observations related to Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins novels (of which I’ve only read the first two) and the low-expectations thing. Also applies, in a somewhat different way, to female investigators such as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum (more a bounty hunter), Dorothy L. Sayers’ Harriet Vane (more a writer), etc.


      • I confess that I have chosen a female physician on several occasions for my primary or as a specialist, precisely because I believe she is likely to over-compensate with attention and good work any prejudice and preconceptions she may have had to endure from colleagues and other patients.

        When I was a boy, 55 years ago, my pediatrician was the first female doctor to earn a medical degree from her university, Dr. Ethel Walker– a Nashville treasure! It was she who inspired my preference for female physicians.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I hear you, jhNY. I have and have had various female medical practitioners myself — including my current dentist. I lost a couple of great female specialists because of stupid involuntary changes in my insurance. 😦

          Wonderful that you were a patient of a pioneering female pediatrician as a boy!

          I’m reminded of the Claire Fraser character in the “Outlander” series I’m currently reading. She was a relatively early doctor (headed a hospital team in Boston) in the books’ 1960s chapters, and then was VERY pioneering as a physician when living in the 18th-century time in which the novels are most set.


    • Now libearies being closed….I am missing out reading so many, I always enjoy the style of Walter Mosley`s Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins. That last I read was Charcoal Joe. What I like about his books he goes back to 50`s or 60`s about black lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dave, first of all I’d like to thank you for creating this blog where we can have this discussion and share our grief about the state of the world at the moment. On the one hand, I can’t watch the news anymore, because every time I see that footage (not that I’ve watched the actual video, but I’ve seen enough to know I don’t want to) I’m brought to tears all over again. Such tragic, unnecessary loss.

    On the other hand, I’m heartened to see such global response. I mentioned to you at the time of George Floyd’s murder that Australia’s racism is on a different level as we don’t even acknowledge it. Well, maybe that’s changing. We’ve had protests here supporting Black Lives Matter, but we’ve also had specific protests about the amount of indigenous Australians who are killed in custody with no action taken. And I know there have been similar protests around the world. I’m glad we’re not treating it like gun violence, where we have to wait for it to happen in our own backyard before we say enough is enough.

    I know TV is a bit off topic, but I recently watched an episode of Deep Space Nine where Captain Sisko has a vision of himself as a black writer in the 1950s. I’d love to know what Avery Brooks thought about that role as in the previous five seasons of the show, his skin colour is completely irrelevant. But he does an outstanding job portraying a talented writer who can’t get published because the captain of his space station is black.

    I’m currently reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime about being born to mixed parents under apartheid. Noah is a very funny man, and lot of his book is a lot of fun. But there is a lot that isn’t. He does a really good job of blending the facts of the racist world that he grew up in with the sometimes hilarious stories of his childhood. I highly recommend.

    Watching the recent riots on TV, I was reminded of Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give which I read a few months ago. It’s partly a coming of age story about a young black woman who is straddling two worlds. It’s also about the police brutality that is just a part of your every day life if you happen to be the ‘wrong’ colour. While the racism in the novel wasn’t anything new for me, I was made to think about just how constant it is for people of colour. How it affects their every day actions. Things that I take for granted. It’s a book that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

    Dave, I know this comment is much longer than it should be, and I’d just like to say thank you again for allowing that. My heart just breaks every time I think of the Floyd family’s grief and how needless George Floyd’s murder was. Thank you for giving me somewhere that I can release at least a little bit of that pain ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Susan, for your wonderful and heartfelt comment. Much appreciated.

      I’m glad this blog is a place where people can vent a little, and discuss things that are not always only book-related.

      The police murder of George Floyd was absolutely wrenching, as were other racist murders of that type. The pain is just unimaginable. But, as you say, it’s inspiring to see the anguished and powerful U.S. and global reaction of so many people — black, white, etc. That offers a little hope for the future, even as it’s scary to think that many intolerant politicians and other “leaders” hold so much power. On a personal level, I wonder how much my younger daughter, who is Latina, will be profiled by the police and others when she becomes an adult. 😦

      I watched most “Deep Space Nine” episodes but somehow missed the one you described. Sounds VERY compelling. The various “Star Trek” series occasionally had some amazing episodes placing the characters in the past (a past that of course was somewhat close to the present of when the series aired).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Beautifully said…Susan, it is not off topic at all. We all need to acknowledge the pain of the brutal execution of George Floyd, a Father of two , as they say was a kind gentleman for a 20 dollar bill.

      As his Brother said. was that Floyd`s life worth of ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • WELL said, bebe. 😦 People like Trump steal the equivalent of a $20 bill every millisecond, and of course are almost never criminally charged. It’s not even sure that the bill George Floyd used was counterfeit. Even if it was, millions of people are struggling financially these days, and no one deserves to die at the hands of the police for a trivial “crime.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • It is also the case that the fake $20 bill may not exist– but may exist. Authorities merely say they cannot comment on evidence that will be used in a future trial. But, searching around the internet, I can find no one who claims to have seen a fake bill that was found on the body of George Floyd. Even the store owner who called in his complaint about such a bill may not be right– and he never had the bill in his possession. He just refused to take a bill as payment that may or may not have been fake..

          Liked by 2 people

            • Yes, bebe. 😦 I vaguely remember reading that there’s some rule that stores in Minneapolis (all of Minnesota?) have to call the cops if they suspect counterfeit money, but I’m not sure. I also recall reading that the store owner is devastated at what happened and that he never wants to call the cops again in the future.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I read that too…but then why he called i wonder.
                As jhNY said…no one found a bill in Floyd`s body. it will all come out.
                But as I just read Grisham`s book, it is scary how corruption could place a black man in jail for years or get killed, sometimes to hide drug related corruption.
                BUT they can not bring back Mr. George a father of two.

                Liked by 1 person

                • You’re right, bebe — he shouldn’t have called, rule or no rule. When the police are contacted about something a black person has (allegedly) done, it often ends badly for the black person after white cops arrive.

                  So many African Americans have received long jail sentences when they should have received short sentences or not have been jailed (or even arrested) in the first place.

                  Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, bebe. Your kindness always makes me smile.

        Dave, I feel like I say it all the time, and it’s never enough, but I’ll say it again – thanks.

        It’s hard to believe anybody could try to justify Floyd’s murder by discussing a maybe fabricated counterfeit note. He could have hit an old lady on the head and taken her entire bag, but once he was handcuffed and on the ground, what more could he have done. And that cop didn’t look scared. He didn’t look like his life was being threatened. He was in complete control and looked quite smug with the power he had over another man.

        I know you don’t watch a lot of TV, Dave, but I do recommend the episode “Far Beyond The Stars”. The whole crew are hanging out in 1950s New York as very different characters than we get to see on the Station. It’s a lot of fun and Avery Brooks is just outstanding.

        Like everybody here, I have an almost unmanageable TBR that I mostly try to get to in order. But I’m trying to go walking after work, and I’ve decided my incentive will be that after my walk, I’m allowed to read a bit of whatever book I feel like, no matter where it is on my list. I’m hoping this will also get me spending less time in front of the telly. Though I have recently added another two shows to watch as well!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Susan…always love reading you, I was off for months after my Pomchi left me two and half monts ago, and I still forget she is not behind me.

          Anyways there is a show going on it`s fourth season, called ” Good Fight”, I am behind because library being closed I cant get the DVD`s. Totally anti trump and so real what they dare to show..
          If you ever get hold of the DVD`s.

          Love the music

          Liked by 1 person

        • Exactly, Susan! George Floyd had been subdued, so Derek Chauvin keeping his knee on his neck was cold-blooded murder. And you’re right that Chauvin seemed as calm as can be. He was indeed obviously in no danger.

          Avery Brooks is a GREAT actor.

          I can understand the appeal of good TV during this pandemic. Walking sounds very nice, too. 🙂


  5. Dave executions of George Floyd in broad daylight in a heart wrenching way have opened up more in depth look at racism in America , which should have been a Country of immigrants from all over the World.

    Demonstrations have swept the United States since the May 25 killing of African American George Floyd while in police custody, with calls growing for police reform and the broader removal of symbols of a racist legacy, including monuments to the slave-holding Confederacy.
    We all have read GBTW a best seller of all times, Gone With The Wind’ is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that happened then and more now.

    Then this Amy Cooper lies and calls 911 to accuse Harvard educated Chris Cooper, only because he asked her to leash her dog and Amy almost strangled the puppy in her rage at Mr. Cooper.

    I learned the new term Dave ” Karen”, is a racist white woman. 

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great sum-up of recent events, bebe. Such a heartbreaking time. But it’s inspiring that so many people, of all races, are pushing back against police brutality and other kinds of white bigotry. I’m very much in favor of the demonstrations, major police reform, the getting rid of statues of racists, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. John Grisham`s latest “The Guardian” is about Guardian Ministries, a small innocence group founded by a lawyer/minister named Cullen Post.
    A former public defender, Post burnt out from the workload and became an Episcopal priest,.Post has a bare bones staff in Savannah, Georgia, and six active files that require his help.

    He worked pro bono , worked hard with two other ladies who holds the fort and finds money somehow to work toward freeing the wrongfully convicted inmates.

    Quincy Miller writes to Guardian Ministries, the team cannot help but want to help. Accused of the murder of his lawyer, Keith Russo, Miller has sat in jail without a lawyer or advocate for over two decades. A black man in a small Florida community of Seabrook mostly white.
    , Miller could not expect justice to find him. Now, with the odds stacked against him, Cullen Post will do all he can.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Time appropriate Topic Dave.
    Weekend I was watching an old move A Man Called Adam with Sammy Davis Jr, Louis Armstrong, Cycily Tyson. and Mel Tormé with beautiful music that you would love.
    Dave, a movie, still Blacks and Whites were all there together singing tunes…

    I`ll write more..

    Mel Tormé

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Holes!!!! I love that book (but I don’t love Trout Walker, leader of the mob who killed Sam, he’s a jerk). The movie is pretty good too, in case you haven’t seen it. As for the heart ripping events in our nation, I fail to find words most of the time. Except to encourage people to read more works by people of color, as this will help us see the world through a different lens, and better understand, empathize, and work together to overhaul the system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, M.B.! I’ve read “Holes” and seen the movie. Both are indeed excellent and emotionally wrenching. Very clever, too. One of the better YA novels out there.

      I agree that real-life events these days are often beyond infuriating (and sometimes the reaction is inspiring). Reading more works by authors of color is great advice — so many terrific works out there.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Racism was certainly shown in Sue Monk Kidd’s “Secret Life of Bees.” This was set in the deep South around the time that black people finally earned the right to vote. Most of the black characters were portrayed as kind and very nurturing of the main white character, a young woman who had left home to seek information about her mother. In general, the black people were treated terribly by the power structure in their area.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Maybe it’s just me, David, but I prefer to think that systems can be racist while individuals are best described as prejudiced or bigoted. Racism requires systems that have the power to enact its goals. Individual bigotry or prejudice is evil, of course, but not as far-reaching as racism.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Bill! I see what you’re differentiating there.

      I tend to define “racism” and “bigotry” as prejudice against people of color while defining “prejudice” as more general bias — against blacks, Latinos, LGBTQ people, Jewish people, etc. I could be using those words not quite correctly.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. So many, but Narnia, especially The Last Battle.
    Anne of Green Gables and Marilla Cuthbert’s denunciation of
    ‘ stupid half-grown little French boys.’
    But the brilliant Beatrix Potter sends lovers Pigling Bland and Pig-wig the Black Berkshire pig hand in hand, over the hills and far away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, catonthedovrefell! So many examples of disturbing prejudice in addition to that faced by African-Americans at the hands of white racists, and you offered some excellent examples. Worthy of a wider blog post one day, but I chose to narrow the focus this week mostly to the U.S., where things have of course been pretty horrific for many black citizens historically and currently. 😦


  12. Donald J. Rump is the non fiction character,the reality show fraudster who is the supreme divider in chief. James Baldwin spoke of a man’s actions over his words. Just look at the using of a Bible DJ used as a prop to push his own agenda. Completely disconnected and troubled man he is.

    We are in dark times now, our nation divided yet peacefully trying to come together. We need a real leader,a man of character integrity,who cares about Americans in all our diversity,ethnic backgrounds.

    We need more than ever,someone with the resolve,the empathy of Joe Biden. He will help bring healing to our country as the next President elected in November.

    He will be meeting with the Floyd family,may his death never be forgotten. I infer his family did not want to meet with Rump much less take a phone call because they know Rump is a heartless, vile man who cares about no one but himself.

    We must close the book in November. Rump’s reign of terror will end. We will have a rebirth of kindness and understanding for all people,we are one nation,united,under a good man,Joe Biden. He will help us all to have faith again in what America stands for.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Michele! Well said!

      I totally agree about Trump — so despicable, incompetent, soulless, and devoid of empathy. His Bible photo-op, after peaceful protesters were attacked to pave Trump’s way to that church…well, what can one say? Absolutely vile.

      As we’ve discussed, I have mixed feelings about Biden. Not always a friend to African-Americans, as illustrated by his appalling treatment of Anita Hill and his championing of that harsh 1990s crime bill that thrust countless black people into long prison terms — many innocent or guilty of only minor offenses. Plus Biden’s support of the never-necessary Iraq War, which resulted in the deaths of many people of color — on the American and Iraqi sides. But Biden is still of course worlds better than Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So many great suggestions in this thread that I need to check out! A very difficult novel to read on this subject is of course Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman since it totally destroys our previous adoration of Atticus Finch through the eyes of his daughter Scout. Two novels written by black women which examine discrimination among the same race are Toni Morrison’s Paradise (light skinned vs. dark skinned blacks) and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (African-Americans vs. Africans). Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance lays bare discrimination between white so-called hillbillies and the white rust-belt impoverished.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Mary Jo!

      I’ve never gotten to “Go Set a Watchman,” but have definitely heard that it does a number on Atticus Finch’s saintliness. From what I’ve read, “GSAW” is considered by many to be an early draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird”; Atticus fans are glad there was a rewrite. 🙂

      I haven’t read the Toni Morrison and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novels you mentioned, but have read “Beloved,” “Sula,” and “Half of a Yellow Sun.” Plenty of racism depicted in all three, with “Half” of course set in Africa rather than the U.S. Very much looking forward to reading “Americanah”!

      Liked by 4 people

  14. The racist character that immediately came to mind wasn’t one person but more entrenched racism in the privileged powers-that- be in a Southern town, as well as the weight of racism historically. The story I’m thinking of is “The Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison. I first read it over 30 years ago, and what the main character went through just broke my heart.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. I once again immediately thought of Jane Austen and her novel, “Mansfield Park.” There are of course references to Sir Thomas Bertram and his sugar plantation in Antigua in the West Indies, where he was assumed to have made his income from slave labor. From what I’ve read there may still be some critics who think Austen was an apologist for slavery, though I think most believe she was definitely for against the slave trade and abolition. There was a film version of the novel in 1999, in which the female director portrayed Fanny Price seeing a slave ship in a harbor on her first trip to Mansfield, as well as a scene when she finds drawings of racist and sexual drawings in her cousin Tom’s room. I couldn’t even look when I re-watched the movie a second time. I’ve also learned that Austen’s favorite poem was by William Cowper, “The Task,” (1785) which included this verse:

    “I had much rather be myself the slave
    And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.
    We have no slaves at home – then why abroad?
    And they themselves, once ferried o’er the wave
    That parts us, are emancipate and loosed.
    Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
    Receive our air, that moment they are free,
    They touch our country and their shackles fall.”

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Kat Lit!

      Very interesting comment about Jane Austen, “Mansfield Park,” and the author’s possible feelings about slavery. That’s a terrific/moving poem, and Austen liking it does seem to indicate that she was anti-slavery.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Dave, I didn’t edit that very well — I of course meant to say “against the slave trade and for abolition,” which you understood. I’ve been feeling rather brain-dead since George Floyd’s horrific death and Trump’s awful response to the protests (not to mention all the continuing worries about the virus and grief for those affected by it). I feel such a connection to the fact that the former happened in a place that I loved so much, Minneapolis, and it occurred just a mere 3 miles or so from where I lived with my parents in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Sounds silly, I know, but still…

        Liked by 2 people

        • I definitely understood, Kat Lit. And George Floyd’s horrific murder as well the coronavirus have thrown us all for a loop. 😦

          Minnesota being part of your background can definitely make something like the Minneapolis police violence feel “close to home.” It’s a shame there’s such a reactionary police department in a relatively liberal city. I guess that department and its appalling police union basically have made their own rules for years. So happy to hear today that a majority of the Minneapolis city council wants to reform/restructure/defund that nasty department.

          Liked by 1 person

          • When we moved to Minneapolis, I was amazed at how nice everyone seemed, but I was a bit disturbed that the high school I graduated from was 100% white, other than one Bahamian exchange student my senior year. I don’t even remember any people of color, whether it be Hispanic, Asian, Native American or others. We were almost all had last names of Johnson, Anderson, Swenson, Carlson, or some other European origin. I realized how much I’d appreciated the diversity of the Philly suburb I grew up in and sorely missed it.

            Back to “Mansfield Park,” it was noted in Wiki that perhaps Austen had given subtle hint about her feelings on slavery in a few of her character names. The High Court Justice whose rulings paved the way for abolition was Lord Mansfield, and a well-known slave trader was Robert Norris. Perhaps it was only coincidence that the hateful Aunt Norris bore that last name in the novel? Ha, I doubt it!

            Liked by 1 person

            • So true, Kat Lit, that some of the more liberal cities have a lot of segregation (in housing and public schools) along with other unfortunate issues with race such as nasty police departments. New York City is certainly another example.

              Wow — that’s FASCINATING information about Jane Austen’s subtle statements in naming some of her characters. Thank you!!!


    • “Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
      Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

      I’ve always felt there was, in this fierce declaration, a not-so-hidden hope that the Biblical notion of ‘do unto others’ might not visit the home country, or a fear that it might.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Dave – a most excellent post and very timely. I truly appreciate how you bring fiction to light so that we can learn, grow, and embrace a compassionate journey. As you know, I come from non-fiction so the person that came to mind (andwho was the opposite of the names mentioned in your post), was William Wilberforce who lived from 1759 – 1833. I have read that when he was in college, he was more interested in partying. But destiny would dramatically change the trajectory of his life. He became British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. On May 12, 1789, he made his first major speech on the subject of abolition. On April 2, 1792 he tried again to bring the bill calling for abolition. It was a very difficult road that took many many years. On July 26, 1833, He heard that the passing of the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery was guaranteed. He died three days later. I traveled to Hull a few years ago as a sort of pilgrimage. His work has not been completed, we must continue to persevere. The circumstances may be different, but the message of inclusivity, acceptance, honour, hope, resilience and courage remains the same. Thank you again for your wonderful post. Take care!

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Unfortunately literature, even great literature, is not always free from racism and prejudice. On the bright side it can be a way to learn about racism and its effects on the people who are discriminated. I was thinking of the Malfoys in Harry Potter, who have something against Mudbloods.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Elisabeth! I agree!

      Shining a light on racism is important, and literature is definitely one place where that happens. Sometimes the light is shined (intentionally or without meaning to) by a racist author, and sometimes by a more tolerant author.

      And, yes, the Malfoys (especially the dad Lucius) are very biased people, as are other characters who align themselves with Voldemort in the “Harry Potter” books.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Very true, Elisabeth!

          There’s definitely been some racist backsliding in the U.S. among many white people (including most Republican Party politicians), but it’s heartening and inspiring that so many others — people of color and white — are actively antiracist these days.

          Liked by 1 person

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