I just got through reading the book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I know, such a "positive" tale just in time for the holidays. Although there were quite a few "bad happenings" as is to be expected in such a book, the ending was very novelistic. Most of the people, sans Uncle Tom, were tied up in a happy ending for the reader. In the author comments section, Mrs. Stowe talks about how many of the stories presented in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" were based on truth and events the she had witnesses in her life and in knowing escaped slaves. That is a perspective that none of us in the 21st century will ever have. It is horrifying to think of how an entire race of people was once treated en masse in the USA.
I thought of this again today when I was perusing my blog listing and my friend at Upside DownUnder posted a video about detainees from Guantanamo Bay. While maybe it is not mass suppression here in America our prejudices about the quality and trustworthiness of other races is certainly not alleviated. I can see where many of the attitudes prevalent in slave holders still exist today in the general public, especially when talking about persons of Middle Eastern descent.
Also, slavery does still exist. When reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" I was swept away by the expository language and over-riding christian theme of the time. That theme being used to justify slavery and all of its cruelties. When I look at the sex slave traffiking trade I have to ask myself how far we have come and answer "not very." Do I think that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is a good read? Well, that depends on why you want to read it. I am a firm believer that history repeats itself and by reading back into history I can see the same actions repeated in today's society. I am only one individual, but as one individual I have to ask myself how I can alter my life and thoughts to create a better history in my own tiny sphere of influence and that is mostly why I read the book. That was one reason, the other being that it is a book commonly used as a reference in many discussions that no one seems to have read. So, if you want to take it on and you can wade through the utter lack of political correctness and high dose of flowery christianity, go for it!