Monday, 9 July 2018

Thoughts on 'Born a Crime' by Trevor Noah

You can tell that this book is not written by a professional writer but by a BRILLIANT SPEAKER. (Am I being dramatic? Not the first time.) It is AMAZING and you MUST read it. You can tell that the writer as a really honest descriptor. I love his perspective. It perhaps helps when you think critically without bias and find amusing some of the most horrible and saddest things that have ever happened in the course of the world history. Apartheid! From a child's point of view, and then an adult's.

This time was barely two or three decades removed from now in the past, and today when we talk so much about the human rights violation on the internet, as here now, somewhere these things are still happening in one form or another. Some of the times I was reading I was amused and chuckling here and there (Hail the great comedian!) but suddenly my eyes would tear up and the sadness remained. But still, I am not depressed. The best part of the perspective of Trevor Noah who indeed was born a crime is that in spite of the tragedies shaped up his life and which he writes (or in my head, speaks) of, he still had fun and you are still hopeful about the future.

Below I quote some of the most touching lines which sometimes stand on their own (for being wise or in other words plain T-shirt material :P), and my feelings on them (not that they matter! But perhaps they do too! :/ )

Born a crime by Trevor Noah

“... It’s you and me against the world. ...”
“... I chose to have you because I wanted something to love and something that would love me unconditionally in return. ...”
The bond that Trevor and his mom share with each other is endearing. He was there because his mother wanted someone to call her own, just her own. Beautiful, and strangely sad with the hint of a tinge of a smile, isn't it? I am amazed by the personality of his mother. What an amazing woman!
“... Why do all this? Why show him the world when he’s never going to leave the ghetto?” “Because,” she would say, “even if he never leaves the ghetto, he will know that the ghetto is not the world. If that is all I accomplish, I’ve done enough. ...”

... But I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother: her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don’t hold on to the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. ...

... Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being. ...

... It taught me that it is easier to be an insider as an outsider than to be an outsider as an insider. ... try being a black person who immerses himself in white culture while still living in the black community. Try being a white person who adopts the trappings of black culture while still living in the white community. ...
I want to ask Trevor Noah about Teddy. What happened to him? What is he doing now? Where is he now? How did that incident affect him and Trevor's friendship - best friendship - with him?
(My goodness! Is it the story of his school or the story of a black market smuggling business!?)
... In society, we do horrible things to one another because we don’t see the person it affects. We don’t see their face. We don’t see them as people. ...
(What an amazing book! The truths of life, his observations- they make me cry and laugh with joy!)
... I chose to live in that world, but I wasn’t from that world. If anything, I was an imposter. Day to day I was in it as much as everyone else, but the difference was that in the back of my mind I knew I had other options. I could leave. They couldn’t. ...
(It is amusing and funny, but heartbreaking at the same time. But the good thing is that it doesn't leave you with a sense of hopelessness.)
... Because there were some black parents who’d actually do that, not pay their kid’s bail, not hire their kid a lawyer—the ultimate tough love. But it doesn’t always work, because you’re giving the kid tough love when maybe he just needs love. You’re trying to teach him a lesson, and now that lesson is the rest of his life. ...

... But I remember standing there watching my mom, flabbergasted, horrified that these cops wouldn’t help her. That’s when I realized the police were not who I thought they were. They were men first, and police second. ...

... It is so easy, from the outside, to put the blame on the woman and say, “You just need to leave.” It’s not like my home was the only home where there was domestic abuse. It’s what I grew up around. I saw it in the streets of Soweto, on TV, in movies. Where does a woman go in a society where that is the norm? When the police won’t help her? When her own family won’t help her? Where does a woman go when she leaves one man who hits her and is just as likely to wind up with another man who hits her, maybe even worse than the first? Where does a woman go when she’s single with three kids and she lives in a society that makes her a pariah for being a manless woman? Where she’s seen as a whore for doing that? Where does she go? What does she do? ...
(And the gold!)
Trevor Noah with his mom
Courtesy: Sowetan Live

... People say all the time that they’d do anything for the people they love. But would you really? Would you do anything? Would you give everything? I don’t know that a child knows that kind of selfless love. A mother, yes. A mother will clutch her children and jump from a moving car to keep them from harm. She will do it without thinking. But I don’t think the child knows how to do that, not instinctively. It’s something the child has to learn. ...

For my mother. My first fan. Thank you for making me a man.

His narrative had made me understand an aspect of apartheid which my history books failed to teach me. I know it was slavery and racism of the 20th century, but I didn't still know what it actually was and was capable of. Hailing from a developing country myself, some instances are too familiar and so are some imprints of a fair-skinned rule even almost a century after freedom, and the inherent racism that we accept even though we were the victims.

I LOVED this book, and would recommend everyone to read it, even the not-so-voracious readers! It's frankness and the ability to try to keep moving forward provides you with not only a much-desired understanding somewhere but also gives you hope and a lot of chuckling smirks (that make you wise, eh!? :P )!

I give this book FULL FIVE STARS! :D

Happy reading! :)

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