Succeeding Despite Racism and Prejudice in Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah was truly an amazing piece of work which portrays how Trevor Noah was quite literally born a crime. This was because his mother, a black Xhosa woman, and his father, a Swiss man, decided to have a child together which was considered illegal and punishable by five years in prison. Born a Crime is a memoir and a collection of stories which explains the horror of what it was like to be a mixed child during apartheid. It was rough for Trevor during the first few years of his life as he had to stay indoors because if he was seen he would have been taken by the government. However, his fearless mother made a way for him to have a chance to live as she held faith that the time of apartheid would end and it eventually did. After apartheid was abolished Trevor could finally start his life and escaped hiding.

Born a Crime tells the story of a troublesome kid who turns into a young man who struggles to find a place in a world where he should cease to exist. It also tells the story of his religious, strong-minded and fearless mother where she fought to keep her son, made sure that he would have a chance to live his life, and not go through what she went through during apartheid. Although I have never met her, Trevor Noah spoke about his mother in a way that showed she is someone people should respect.

While reading Born a Crime recurring themes kept appearing in the book. Racism was the biggest theme in the book as Trevor experienced so much of it during the early years of his life due to apartheid. Apartheid was a legal system of racial discrimination. This was saying that white people were superior to those of any color. Many laws were created due to this such as the Immorality Act of 1927 which prohibited sexual intercourse of white people and those of other races. When this occurred the children were not classified as black or white they were mixed. As seen in the book being mixed was hard because you weren’t accepted by black people, white people, or colored people, and since they were illegal life was tough. Some days Trevor had to walk with a woman who was colored and his real mother would trail behind because Trevor’s mom was not allowed to walk with him in public. Some days she decided to do so and when she saw police she would throw him on the ground and pretend like he wasn’t hers. Certain opportunities were also taken from them. Apartheid kept certain opportunities from black people such as job options. Black women would work as maids or work in the factories and black men would work on farms and in the factories.

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Finding a sense of belonging and identity was another theme in this book. Trevor is repeatedly forced to pick sides throughout his life. Throughout his life and this book, Trevor is struggling with his own identity and belonging in a world where he shouldn’t exist. However, his ability to bridge on to different groups allows him to be able to find his own identity without clinging to any particular group of people. This is seen when he can get along with everyone in the school in school by reselling food. Also, Trevor can speak different languages which helped him connect with different groups of people and get him out of possible violent situation several times.

While reading Born a Crime Trevor Noah taught us a lot about the history and culture of South Africa. Apartheid was invented based on other systems of racial discrimination from different parts of the world such as America, Australia, and the Netherlands. They picked the things that worked and implemented it into apartheid. Apartheid was so ingenious because it was able to turn the majority against each other which made them easier to control. This made apartheid the most advanced system of racial discrimination, South Africa a police state, and kept the native black people in control. Before Apartheid existed black South Africans were divided into tribes and were always fighting. This made it easier for the white rule to conquer and separate all nonwhites into various groups with different rights for each group. The Zulu and Xhosa were always fighting back but in their own ways and not together. The Zulu would try to go to war with the white people and the Xhosa would try to negotiate. Neither tactics worked and both groups blamed each other for the other’s failure. When apartheid fell South Africa was still divided just no longer legal.

Overall, Born a Crime by Trevor Noah took us on an adventure and told us the events which made him the man he is today, the host of The Daily Show. The book shows the way Trevor and viewed the world and used it to his advantage. He used his resources to get out of trouble and earn money. He took what was given to him which wasn’t very much made a way to make his life amazing. This book is truly inspirational and taught me a great lesson in humility and perseverance. This a great book and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to understand where his peculiar brand of satire comes from, wants to laugh, and learn something at the same time.                 

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