Ingrained racism

Katherine Dahlman talking to Preston. “You want your sons to mate with this person. You want them to get black, human children from her. Here in the United States, even most humans will look down on them. When I came to this country, such people were kept as property, as slaves.” (Butler 278)

I chose this quote because it sums up many peoples perspectives and why things happened the way they did. Racism is the ultimate theme presented here but Butler demonstrates it through a different species, which ties in to the intersectionalities of Shori as half vampire, half human. Katherine was racist, as were the Silks, which were the reason why both Shori’s mother’s and father’s families were destroyed, it was to get rid of her kind and end the experiment that had been done. Due to Shori’s abilities and dark skin she was seen as a threat and something to be eliminated. I find this very interesting for many reasons and I can’t help but think and feel that this goes to show that racism can transcend things like species. The norm is what people strive for and those that begin to derive from it are many times seen as a threat or something that should be eliminated due to its rarity. Butler does an excellent job in transcending racism to a different specie because it becomes the underlying theme of the novel and is contracted in such a way that parallels the racism that butler might have experienced. Katherine is older and has lived through the times of slavery, viewing people of color as less, and this internalized and ingrained racism is reproduced and transmitted. The Silk family wanted to destroy Shori because she was black and had special abilities, believing that a black person could not be Ina and is referred to by Katherine as “person.” They cannot accept a black person because they are racist and have reproduced the negative perspectives of the humans towards people of color. 

With that being said, something that I found extraordinarily interesting that made this dynamic more complex was that Shori was the only one born in the United States, yet she was considered an outsider and “other.” “Did you know that you were the only one of your sisters to be born here in the United States?” (Butler 218) Shori was the only black Ina and the only one of her sisters born in the United States, which I find to be very interesting. The fact that she is looked at as lower when she is more of a citizen than those who migrated is very contradicting. It is due to her skin color that she is looked at as less and this is shown in the resistance to her. She was a successful experiment that changed the norm and this caused uncertainty among some Ina, they felt threatened and decided to end it, but failed. The fact that racism is presented in a different species is something that was very eye opening because it highlights how ridiculous it is and what extremes people will go to to destroy what they believe is wrong. I really enjoyed the novel and find the species and race dynamic to be a refreshing spin on the classic racism among humans. I also believe that Butler was trying to demonstrate how ingrained certain things can be and all those that can/are impacted. 


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