In Scarlet Song what is Mariama Ba saying to the audience about interracial marriage

Racism in Scarlet Song
Cassim Silumba
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Race is treated with different moral complexity, thus in the faces of the unsupported lovers, it is nothing of much essential importance in the society. However, in the presence of the lovers’ mutilators, thus the conflict, race is something that should never be treated with inferiority in society as it weighs the social prestige of an individual.
Race is something that should be exalted to prevent cultural dilutions or decay in any societ. The prestige of any race lies on one’s affection and attitude. Monsieur de La Vallee’ asks Mireille, “Do you recognise this object?” (p.25) To Mireille, her father had all paternal affections for her and she was therefore regarded as pure. His reference to Ousmane as “this object” is revelation of distraction in the purity of Mireille. The discussion of either parent in their children’s interracial marriage was a sign of fear of the inability to adapt in a different society. Yaye Khady was assured of the inability of Mireille to live an expected African life and to Mireille,s father, Ousmane was unfit to enter a Fench society. Cultural and social diversions are organised for specific races only, therefore, the mingling of races might probably lead to dilution or decay.

Moreover, Ba treats race as something very serious and the manifestation of its feelings is violent and detrimental. Ba writes, “A resounding blow stung her face!” (p.27) this shows that any distraction of racial limitations in racial interactions has violet outcome. Monsieour de La Vallee’ felt that his daughter’s affair with Ousmane had overflowed all limits therefore a violent intervention would crush the affair. The violent character of Monsieour de La Vallee’ shows a racial manifestation of overpowered emotions reflecting the moral dominance associated with the desire to upkeep racism.

Ba shows that the absence of one’s race is a campaign for demoralisation and mutual neglection. Mireille gave up everything in her country, the luxury, parential love and comfort in total submission and devotion to Ousmane, a black Senegalese man. Regrettably, her marriage was despised by the society and she hardly had anyone to confide to. The mass of people who attended Oleymatou and Ousmane’s marriage ceremony is enough to show that they had support of their union because she was a black woman in a black society unlike Mireille who was a white woman prowling in a black society. From Mireille’s negation in the society and her father’s relations in France, it is enough evidence to show that races can co-habit but never mingle.

The contempt of another’s race is kept within the heart and can never be physically discovered as people wear masks of disguises. Mireille thought;
They shook black hands with a smile on their lips but
no warmth in their hearts. (p.)
The lack of warmth in the white men’s heart when they “shock black hands” shows the betrayal of white men. Evidenced by Mireille’s father who worked for humanitarian causes and preached fraternity, black racism is something embarrassing in the presence of the same race. Though Mireille’s father hid under humanitarian causes, his heart showing his attitude and emotions is enough to show that he was a blatant racist.

The extension of racial issues to the extremities may result in death. Ousmane’s child was referred to as ” Gnouloule Khessoule!Gnouloule Khessoule!” meaning that he is “not black!, not white!” this shows that he had no society of belonging and should therefore die. The unaccommodative nature of either societies shows that the existence of any individual is in favour of having an accommodative race and society. Moreover, the writer shows that racial issues are inevitable and its discrimination visible, therefore, the only way to escape the racial problems is ‘death’ when Mireille says, “You are my child, you are going to leave this place.” The writer also shows that racial conflicts are a legacy and they do not need to be stirred. Ousmane’s child was vulnerable and subject to abuses but had nothing to do with his state. The natural hatred of black person towards a coloured is hereditary which made Ousmane to meet his fate. The silent death of Ousmane’s son shows his innocence to prove that the society’s natural racial hatred manoeuvred his fate without a reasonable cause but on hereditary causes.

Additionally, race is only a biological alteration otherwise the mechanism in every individual is the same. Mireille says:
You think you are superior because you’re white but just scratch yourself.
You’ll bleed the same red blood, a sign that you are the same as all people
on earth. You heart isn’t on the right. It’s on the left. You have got a brain
and liver which do the same job as Ousmane’s brain and liver. (p.29)
the above citation shows that the arrangement of organs within the body is alike. There is no superiority of the functions of organs in one race than the other neither is there a special blood to show purity of one race over the other. Furthermore, it reveals that equality and fraternity should observed regardless of race. Biologically, the different skin pigment is a variation of melanin concentration but has no influence on one’s behaviour, attitude, thinking, moral and feeling.

Furthermore, the writer reveals that race is folly when it comes to pure affection. Mireille says,
I am in love, do you understand! I love a black man, a man as black
as coal. Black! Black! I love this man and I won’t give him up simply
because he is black. (p.28)
This shows Mireille’s firm determination and resolution to stick to the “black” Ousmane though she had been violently discouraged. Because of her total affection for ousmane in the despised “black” she saw greatness. Ousmane, like Mireille, had passionate feelings for Mireille. The society played no importantant part in the love between Mireille and Ousmane.

The disgust of another’s race is influenced by temporal maturity as it is through the progression of time that one begins to exalt his or herstatus which is influenced by his/her race. Monsieur de La Vallee’ was advanced in age which made him an intolerant father who feared that her daughter’s affair with a black man would be a distraction of his prestige and status in society.

In contrast, a youthful Mireille’s determination of having Ousmane as her husband shows that temporal immaturity has no real significance on racial influence. Yaye Khady’s hostility towards Mireille shows her dissatisfaction of Mireille while her young daughter was enraged by the illtreatment of Mireille. It is , however, because of time that Mireille developed racialist feelings. She says: “Dirty xxxxx. It’s better with your xxxxx woman, isn’t it?”
Derogatory language used by Mireille shows that she also castigates blacks like her parents.

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