Friday, 28 February 2020

Belief Beneath Black Body

Updated: November 15, 2014 10:34 am

Racism is a Villain! It kills relationships and then humanity. It gives fun but takes away life. It is something that we all witnessed in our daily lives but hardly does anything against it. It’s painful to see the colour of skin has become determining factor to judge a person as a whole. Those born with white skin are no sinless and those black skin people are not evil. Historically there have been many greats who dedicated their life for humanity. From Gandhi to Mandela and Guevara to Obama all the coloured people have done (or doing) wonders for humanity. It is a shame that in the modern 21st century we are still following some of old prejudices and behaves people on the basis of cast, creed and race.

To Sir, with Love is an incredibly inspirational story based on the experience of E R Braithwaite as a ‘black’ teacher in a tough East End secondary school. Edward Ricardo Braithwaite’s autobiographical memoir offers an honest insight into the politics of class and race in post-war London and it captures beautifully the shame and hatred of prejudices and racism at the East End of London, during the 1940’s.

A beautiful novel about human nature and behaviour of teenagers who were en-route to became extreme rebels and how they learnt not to be one. This is a story of a man who first becomes a teacher just to sustain himself and then realises that these teenagers, whom he is in charge of, need help. He tolerates all the hardships that he goes through in the process. How selflessly he forgets everything and helps them become mature adults and how he helps them was heart touching

The novel depicts how tough it was for any coloured person to live normally in the society dominated by white counterparts. It teaches us that we should not lose hope and a will to fight difficulties. Tough times test the character and also how strong a person is. The continuous rebel from others can force a person to become evil but To Sir with Love showed us that there is another side to it. If pursued with right spirit it is possible to change the mindset of rebellion(s).

Although, racism does not melt, but it never overshadows the record. Race plays a more significant role in Braithwaite’s relationships with other adults. The novel portrayed various human characteristics. Humans are able to adapt and change their way of thinking is the lesson it taught. Braithwaite, as well as his students, goes through many changes, these changes lead to a change in their ways of thinking about each other.

The novel portrays exceptionally well the ability to adapt to the world around one’s self as a very important trait. It is about student-teacher relationship, about racism and how to tackle it without the situation becoming ugly. Basically, it’s one of those classics which any book lover or even someone who is not a bookworm would like to read. One just can’t miss this vintage classic and a must read for all section of readers.

By Sorabh Aggarwal

15-11-2014

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