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Many science fiction novels and films have characters such as aliens whose race defies explanation. Lauren Olamina is the main character in Butlers' science fiction novel "The Parable of the Sower." Lauren Olamina is a black woman with a diverse collection of characteristics and experiences that represent the novel's race theme. Lauren Olamina is a protagonist as well as a narrator in the book, and she tells the writer about herself. In a world (America) where race is a major factor, the black woman struggles to establish herself and survive. The race is so paramount in the United States during the visionary time (2024-2027) that Lauren Olamina cannot bear to ignore it. Because of the significance of race, Lauren Olamina tends to align herself with the thoughts and company of the minorities. Moreover, she also tends to relate well to the people from the mixed background rather than the Native Americans. Lauren Olamina perceives the minorities and the people from the mixed background as the ignored safety or strength that the superior whites have overlooked. Such perceptions by Lauren Olamina gives a hint into the current situation as well as the future as far as racism is concerned in the United States of America. The current racial status in the United States comprises of a mixture of racial conflicts evident in the recent African American protests. In the novel, Butler uses a sense of vision in which he looks into the future of the United States. He reflects many issues that will affect the United States in the future. However, some of the themes talked about in the novel such as race, are currently affecting the United States. For instance, the theme of race is crucial in the United States because of the existence of powerful political stands based on racism (Manuel 2004).
The majority white people in the United States seem not to work well or relate well to the minority black. For instance in Chapter 4, verse 28, Lauren Olamina states that their other adult Guardian was Jay, the father of Joanne. She says that he was the good guy, a good shot for that case. Lauren’s father liked Jay, but there are problems at times. The Balters and Garfield are all white, but the rest including Lauren Olamina is black. She states that that that would be a dangerous thing during those days. On the street, one is expected to hate and fear the others except those of your kind. However, with all of her nature watchful and armed, the people feared and let them alone. Moreover, their neighborhood is tiny for such kind of games. In this chapter, Lauren Olamina outlines the racial demography experienced in Robledo. The indication in this scene is that in Robledo, everyone is black apart from the Balters and Garfields. She states that on the street, people allied themselves based on the skin color. However, two leaders or Guardians one was white (Jay Garfield), and the other was white (Reverend Olamina). Therefore, Robledo has a sense of diversity whereby the population has both blacks and whites. Moreover, the people especially the blacks have to be strong to survive. Hence they have been forced to work jointly even with those of different skin color. Lauren Olamina paints a picture of the future of the United States. Although racism and racial discrimination will be rampant in the United States, the economic, poverty, and other pressures force the people to work together.
Looking at Chapter 8, from verse 2 to 3 indicates that people in 2025 are still facing problems in the interracial relationships. For instance, when Bianca Montoya got pregnant, Jorge accepted the responsibility. Both Bianca and Jorge were both Latino; there wasn’t any interracial grudge on the issue. However, during another love instance between Craig Dunn (white), and Siti Moss (Black), Lauren Olamina thought someone would be killed. Such statements outline that people are still fighting over the interracial relationships. It is quite saddening that the society seems to value racism to the extent that it affects relationships. Moreover, the changes in the laws such as the legalization of the gay marriages are expected to bring changes in the way Americans perceive racism. Therefore, the interactions between the whites and the black Americans are limited by the ethnic divides. The construction of family, community, society as well as the whole nation is dependent on racism. According to Lauren Olamina, the issue of racism is vital so that the people can survive effectively.
In chapter 13 verse 12 Lauren Olamina says that the two movers one was white and the other one was black. Although Cory would have regarded it as hopeful, Olivar would never be that white enclave that Lauren Olamina’s father expected. Looking at the statement above, one would see that Reverend Olamina was opposed to migrating to Olivar because he perceived that the town company was full of the whites. However, Cory was more willing to accept the idea of moving to Olivar. Therefore, Lauren Olamina was very impressed to see that the movers incorporated a white and a black person. The racism was fundamental according to Lauren Olamina’s perception. Having moved into a new area and finding that people of your skin color are still there was significant. The presence of the people of similar skin color gives Lauren Olamina courage because she gets a sense of safety and security while within ‘her people.’
According to Lauren Olamina’s perception of mixed couples, people experience hell in the relationship irrespective of whether they are a gay or not. The racism in the relationships dictates that the whites can only work out well with fellow whites while the blacks can only love their fellow blacks. Despite the fact that it is 2027 Zahra fears that the mixed couples are likely to be either assaulted or killed. Therefore, the devised a scheme whereby the blacks traveled as disguised couples. Lauren Olamina masquerades as a Zahra’s boyfriend (a male). Therefore, Lauren Olamina outlines that the people are discriminated because of the skin color.
In the novel, Butler expresses that the choice to help or interact with anyone depends on the race of the involved parties. For instance, in the case of Harry and Zahra who wanted to start a family as a mixed couple, they were out to face hell. Making such as statement meant that racism is a major factor to consider in the future of United States. Majority of the Americans find it prestigious to value racism. Up to now, there is a racial tussle in the United States. It means that in the future before one helps a person, he or she has to decide the skin color. The author emphasizes on the issue of race as a factor to consider in the interactions among the Americans.
In a nutshell, the issue of racism is widespread in the novel and is a reflection of the United States. The Americans value not only the racism but also inclining themselves within the groups created by racism. The theme of racism is well spoken about in Butlers’ work because it dictates the structure of the society from the family, relationships as well as the workplaces. The people in the United States have a complex society that values racism. Even in the current status, the American people are divided among the racial classes making the interactions at workplaces, families, and community difficult. The political environment in the United States is also dictated by the racial inclination. For instance, it is obvious that the whites would support the political ideologies that favor the white people and vice versa. Due to the racial stratification of the American society, there lacks a sense of unity in the Americans. The differences in the races make Americans face disunity in the politics as well as economic development. For instance, if the workers don’t work freely in with people of different races, the companies, as well as government institutions, do not reach excellent performances. Moreover, the white majorities discriminate the black minorities. Due to the discrimination of the blacks by the whites, there are some insecurity issues due to the competition between the black and the whites.
Manuel, Carme. 2004. The Day of Doom and the Memory of Slavery: Octavia E. Butler's Prophet Visionin Prable of the Sower. Valencia: University of Valencia.
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