Thematic Comparison of “Moon the Cursed Snow” and “The Fallacy of White Supremacy and How it is Corroding the World”
“The Moon of the Crusted Snow” is a novel written by Waubgeshig Rice depicting the horrible ordeals the Anishinaabe people of Canada underwent during the pre-colonial era. With emerging technologies and over-reliance on them, the community’s way of life comes to a standstill upon a power outage. It is from this moment that their customary traditional values are put to test under severe brutality from white encroachers. As such the concept of supremacy arises. Personalities like Scott and Brad in the book reveals how one’s race can be used to subjugate and trample others. However, Rav Arora through his editorial opinion dubbed “The Fallacy of White Supremacy and How it is Corroding the World” trashes the concept of white supremacy arguing the supremacy associated with race is just but a fallacy should be re-thought. This paper argues that the atrocities inflicted upon the Anishinaabe people were majorly motivated by the notions of “ white privileges”. And as such, the paper examines thematic issues such as violence, oppression, discrimination, colonization, and finally selfishness and selflessness cognizant of Arora’s article.
While violence might be construed as a physical confrontation against someone or a community, many other forms of violence are not physical. For example, symbolic violence
“Is exercised upon a social agent with his or her complicity… through an act of cognition
and of misrecognition that lies beyond — or beneath — the controls of consciousness and
will” (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 272 – 273). In other words, it is the act of stripping one party of power and control and transferring it to another person. A classic example is that of the gender role, where women are expected to be the second man, and as a result, a power gap is created. In Rice’s book, violence is sporadic with the community engulfed in an unending war of interests. An instance of it is witnessed when power outages occur. The writer connotes, “the power is out. There is no gas. There is no word from Toronto or anywhere else. People are looting and getting violent.” (Rice). For instance, Aileen though subservient with help of Evan peacefully leads the community avoiding confrontations with others, however, Scott on the other hand, believes in the use of power and intimidating others suffices over all other methods of protecting the community. Such is illustrated when he shoots Philip in cold blood and justifies himself by saying “We gotta make a stand … I was protecting us.” (Rice). Furthermore, he resorts to brutal leadership which ends up stirring violence in the community. Brutality breeds violence, and as Scott’s leadership continues he ends up causing violence instead of peace as with Aileen. However, even though Arora also witnesses first-hand violence while riding the bus from school as other kids try to slap the turban off his head, he argues such behaviors trample behaviors cannot be attributed to being white. Unfortunately, this form of violence is what modern society has come to normalize, and in the long run the perpetual damage accrues which if not controlled leads to one’s life being afflicted.
In the book “Moon of the Crusted Moon” the Anishinaabe community is oppressed by others who sought refuge amidst the blackout. Through modernist innovations such as electricity, the community became dependent on such technologies such that they abandoned their living ways. As illustrated in the epilogue of the book, the survivors from the “Zhagnaah” targets resiliently continued with their lives hopeful of rebuilding their culture. Rice demonstrates how the oppression occurred, she writes, “…the ancestors of these Anishinaabe people were forced to settle in this unfamiliar land, distant from their traditional home near the Great Lakes, their culture withered under the pressure of the incomers’ Christianity.”(Rice) However, protagonists such as Aileen “ kept the old ways alive in secret”(Rice). Although afflicted, driven away from their natural habitat, the oppressed Anishinaabe people did not sway from their culture and beliefs. Concurrently, the same fate is witnessed by Arora. In his article, he recollects sitting oppressed at the front of the bus afraid of what others might do to him; the back of the bus was for the privileged “cool” kids who from time to time yelled, “Go back to where you came from” and “You don’t belong here.”(Arora). He further clarifies that although “…the institution of slavery and the following decades of anti-black dehumanization has a continuing impact today”, a 2013 research “found that 32 percent of the wealth gap between whites and blacks can be attributed to inherited wealth and length of homeownership, two factors linked to institutionalized racism.”(Arora). Therefore, Arora’s justification of white supremacy is vague he himself suffered the same fate as the Anishinaabe people. As seen in the two contexts, oppression occurs in different forms in the society, it could be psychological such as with race, or physical such as ethnicity and nationality. As such prejudice from one community to the other led to oppression. Reflecting upon our current generation, such oppressions still exists in schools, communities, and mostly online.
The concept of white privileges has for so long been a contested issue globally. According to Macintosh (29), the term white privilege is a societal elevation of white people giving them unmatched advantages as compared to others under the circumstance. As Arora writes, it is presumed that white people enjoy some privileges that propel them to succeed and subjugate others. As stated in the previous paragraph, some oppressions can be catapulted by discrimination such as from institutions or individuals. For example, Ronald Fryer’s research on racial bias concluded that “cops are 53 percent more likely to use physical force on black civilians compared to whites”( Ronald Fryer, as cited in, Arora). Such shows that although we might be moving in the right direction discrimination-wisely, some bad elements engulfed with the “ white privilege” mentality continues to corrode our societies. Therefore, superfluously deducing that a white guy is privileged is an assumption that must be scrutinized with facts. Alternatively, Waubgeshig Rice also writes about discrimination. Scott foolishly leads the community to turmoil after discriminating against the elderly and further neglecting their pieces of advice. Furthermore, women in society are looked down upon. For example, Scott orders the women to go hunt even though he knows how fragile and untrained they are (Rice). Discrimination is therefore a strong theme that both writers have emphasized in their writing which has led to brutality against inferior communities and individuals and as a result, an aggravated hatred and prejudice (in this context against the whites).
Arora’s “The Fallacy of White Privilege and how it is Corroding Society” subliminally touches the theme of colonization though from a bird’s view. He states, white privilege is a preemption justified from the colonial masters upon their subjects. (Arora). As such, the colonial masters were seen to be superior to all others. Even their subordinates enjoyed such privileges. However, it is in Rice’s book that the subject is delved into thoroughly. First, Rice narrates the impact of the foreigners when she writes, “their ancestors [having been] displaced from their original homeland in South and the white people who forced them out here had never intended for them to survive” (Rice). Such were colonialists in search of raw materials and not friendships. Clearly, the above statement illustrates the real intent of the visitors and the subsequent affliction they caused; furthermore, the coming of these white foreigners was ill-intended; they simulated people to their ways leading to the abandonment of their cultures which in the long run led to oppression and depression. Nevertheless, the Anishinaabe indigenous community though afflicted continued to withhold their cultural morals irrespective of the visitor’s influences and such cultural artefacts helped during the winter. That is, even though there wasn’t “…enough for his own family of four, but he planned to give a lot of the meat away. It was the community way.”(Rice) Secondly, the book through Scott infiltrates the community, plots a coup, and takes the communities leadership. However, his leadership style leads the community into a brutal shootout which causes fear in the community. For instance, Scott subjugates Meghan, Brad’s wife forcing her to hunt. Additionally, he also leads his followers to “grow weaker and less able to hunt, prompting Scott to resort to cannibalism.” Another instance of colonization is inferred through Aileen, she states, “the world isn’t ending. It already ended when the Zhagnaash [white person] came into our original home […] and took it away from us,”(Rice). The statement shows how the whites already had captured the lands far beyond the horizon. As stated above, the instances clearly illustrate the adverse effects colonialism had on habitats. In summary, although Arora tries to un-villainize the wrong deeds done by some white people, Rice clearly points out the immense nature of their actions.
Selfishness vs. Selflessness
Another concept predominant in both writing is the concept of selfishness and selflessness. In Arora’s article, he talks about two pieces of research, Brandeis University’s research on the wealth gap and Roland Fryer’s research on racial bias, in both incidents there is a concept of biasness towards minorities especially blacks. This biasness can be summated as being selfish with one’s resources and use of power. While he agrees that in some instances skin color favors others, he negates and points out that “White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard. It just means your race isn’t one of the things that make it harder.” On the other hand, his selflessness conquerors all as he overcomes all these challenges. Conversely, Rice writes of moments of selflessness such as the community sharing the little foodstuff they had. she writes, “He would share with his parents, his siblings and their families, and his in-laws, and would save some for others who might run out before winter’s end and not be able to afford the expensive ground beef and chicken thighs that were trucked or flown in from the South.”( Rice). This shows how selflessness this indigenous community was. However, people like Scott through their selfish acts cause trouble and subsequent deaths. As seen above, both selfishness and selflessness have been incorporated in both writings. As Rice connote, “We’re in a crisis and everyone’s survival depends on cooperation.”(Rice). The two writers counters the fact that although their colonialist tendencies might have caused hatred and prejudice, hope can still arise through selflessness.
In conclusion, both “Moon of the Crusted Snow” and “The Fallacy of White Supremacy and How it is Corroding the World” both show pressing issues that facilitate unfair prejudice and persecution of certain groups of people in the society based on stereotypes such as ethnicity, color, and nationality. As seen above, although Arora justifies his ordeals has “personal mental attitude of individuals”, it is still clear that the same afflictions posited in Rice’s book are the same that causes him oppression and further depression; additionally, oppression from acts such as the colonial aftermath also leads to prejudice against the colonial masters. Like Arora who couldn’t sit with the other “cool” kids, the Anishinaabe people distanced themselves from foreigners. Discrimination-wisely, although the concept of white privileges exists, Arora points out that the theory is a fallacy that must only be quantified with facts. Colonial masters also attributed unfair prejudice and persecution in their quest for resources; as seen above their occupation in foreign lands led to massive persecutions and displacements. And finally selfishness and selflessness. To this end, I believe the writers exceptionally elucidated the critical impacts of the above-mentioned themes in relation to Arora’s justification of white privileges.
Arora, R. The fallacy of white privilege – and how it’s corroding society. (2020)
Bourdieu, Pierre. “Masculine domination revisited.” Berkeley Journal of Sociology 41 (1996): 189-203.
McIntosh, Peggy. “White privilege and male privilege.” privilege. Routledge, 2018. 28-40.
Rice, Waubgeshig. “Moon of the Crusted Snow.” HPL, 2018, www.hpl.ca/articles/moon-crusted-snow.