Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Burning Books

Check out this article about a Dutch group planning to burn Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes.

Here's the gist of their argument:

"A Dutch group that purports to represent victims of slavery plans to burn The Book of Negroes, an acclaimed novel by Canadian Lawrence Hill, because it finds the title offensive.

'We, descendants of enslaved in the former Dutch colony Suriname, want to let you know that we do not accept a book with the title The Book of Negroes," said Roy Groenberg, head of a group called Foundation, Honour and Reparations Victims of Slavery in Suriname, said in a letter to Hill."

Me, a descendant of enslaved in the former British colony of Barbados, is offended too.  I'm offended that the descendants of enslaved in the former Dutch colony Suriname didn't even read the book or know anything about Canadian history.  Read before you speak.

I'll give the Dutch the benefit of the doubt on this one.  Not everyone is an expert on Black Canadian History (ahem), so I've put together a possible scenario of where the confusion lies. 

When I first heard the title of the book a few years back, I wondered if The Book of Negroes was in fact an encyclopedic dictionary of Negroes and Coloured folk written by a Mulatto African-Canadian descendant of African-American slaves.  In the book you could find stories on famous and influential Black people like Flava Flav, Tyra Banks, Michael Jackson, Vybz Kartel, Mike Tyson, O.J. Simpson, Tracy Morgan, Al Sharpton, 50 Cent, and 732 other top notch Negroes.

Where else could you learn about Gary Coleman and Ben Johnson in the same book?  New York bestseller.

But this inspired me about other possible books that should either have a title change or burned or both.

  • Little Red Riding Hood = Diminutive Young Woman Dressed in a Red Garment in a Middle Class Suburb
  • The Black Stallion = The African-American Equine
  • The Old Testament = Old School Street Justice
  • The New Testament = New School Ideological Justice
  • To Kill A Mockingbird = Snuffing Out Pigeons
  • Tar Baby = Colourless Children
  • Beloved = Devil Demon Child
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul = Why Your Life Sucks
  • Harry Potter = Voodoo For Kids
  • Twilight = Necrophiliac Beastiality 101
  • The Da Vinci Code = How to Get Rich: Popularizing Heresy

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha! I like your new titles.

    And yes, you are right. They should have read the book before judging it based on the title... I was just thinking I too should read it sometime this summer...