So, apparently, the “pretty for a black girl” thing has been around for at least 131 years.
I hate this book so much. It would actually be a fun read if it wasn’t so full of racism, misogynoir, and dismissal of women.
I list misogynoir separately from general dismissal of women because in the text they are separate things. White women are called “petticoats” and said to be excluded from this adventure novel which is dedicated “to all the big and little boys who will read it.”
Of the African women it is said, “These women are, for a native race, exceedingly handsome” (p 96). They are objectified and compared to other women of color that the narrator has encountered. He cannot just say they are good looking, he has to qualify the compliment and tear other women down in order to say they’re not bad.
Outsiders have been other-ing us and setting us against one another for ages. Then these guys call us savages and sit back to watch us fight, intervening when they have an interest and recording themselves our saviors, us the grateful brutes. What a way with history the West has! I’m done.