|In the Introduction NourbeSe Philip describes why she wrote this book:
|I wrote Showing Grit in an attempt
to clarify for myself and, I hope, for others the wealth of issues the Toronto production
of Show Boat has generated. It is my wish that it contribute to increased knowledge on the
part of everyone, particularly young African Canadians, about the experiences of Africans
in the New World. It is my desire that those in the front line of the effort to stop this
production use this work as a weapon in their struggle: it was given to me, and I wrote
it, in that spirit. The very same spirit of our foremothcrs and forefathers who used
everything at their disposal to resist those who would grind them into dust and scatter
the residue to the winds.
(p.4) ©M.Nourbese Philip 1993
|She goes on to describe each of the three sections of the book:|
|Part I gives a historical background to American racism, and
provides a detailed analysis of the book, Show Boat, the musical and its film
Part II contains the argument about the role of culture and the significance of Show Boat to Canada at this particular time.
Part III explores a number of critical issues such as the failure or refusal of former slave-holding countries to recognize slavery as the holocaust and genocide it has been; language and its relationship to knowledge and power, and Black / Jewish relations.
(p.5) ©M.Nourbese Philip 1993
|Two additional quotes from the book highlight why this is such an important issue:|
|The affront at the heart of Show Boat is still very
alive today. It begins with the book and its negative and one-dimensional images of Black
people, and continues on through the colossal and deliberate omission of the Black
experience, including the pain of a people traumatized by four centuries of attempted
genocide and exploitation. Not to mention the appropriation of Black music for the profit
of the very people who oppressed Blacks and Africans. All this continues to offend deeply.
The 'ol' man river of racism continues to run through the history of these
and is very much part of this (Toronto) production. It is part of the overwhelming need of
white Americans and white Canadians to convince themselves of our inferiority -- that our
demands don't represent a challenge to them, their privilege and their superiority.
(p.59) ©M.Nourbese Philip 1993
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