The Act of Segregation in the West Africa

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A land whose ancestors have no barrier in race have engage in the act of segregating each other, a puzzle one could hardly believe does exist in Africa. My name is Sia Jimissa, I originate from Kono, eastern region of Sierra Leone a country in West Africa. The early part of my life was in a suburb in Sierra Leone before fate had me and my parents relocated to Guinea, a neighboring West African country due to a civil war that broke out in Sierra Leone in 1991. I eventually grew up in Guinea where foreigners were subjected to a huge amount of segregation, discrimination and hatred. The poem Theme for English B was written at a time when civil right movement in the United States was growing in momentum and there was a need for action. Langston Hughes wrote the Theme for English B in solidarity towards this movement referring to a black African American college student who seems enthusiastic about his future but was face with challenges of segregation, racism, and discrimination ranging from schoolwork and the society. The theme Segregation, Langston used to convey Theme for English B resonate with my personal experience as a refugee and how my early childhood was engrossed in a society where some people considered themselves better than other beings.

In addition, I find out that the context of poem Theme English B is not entirely relate to my personal experience despite the rate of segregation and marginalization my family and I face in the community including school activities as refugees in Guinea. In the mist of these turmoil, we have a dream for a better future just as the Guineans do. But the need to pursue my education and discover who I truly was overpowered all the challenges we face as refugees. In relation to my experience, the author states, “Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.”, I like to work, read, learn, and understand life”. (Langstone, line 21-22). Analyzing the author’s quote in line 21-22 in the poem, it seems like the student is mentally prepare for the academic task and can structure himself to work by the rules and regulations of the instructor while hope for a change in the future. Moreover, looking at the author’s quote from line 25-26 states, “I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races”. (Langstone, line 25-26). This implies that the author view color as a mere coincidence since it has nothing to do with man’s existence. I realize that being a Sierra Leonean and a refugee does not make me not do or like what people in Guinea do. And as such, this quote does make it clear that things that keep races and ethnics segregated from one another are artificial and man-made.

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Furthermore, the tone of the author was firm and honest as he mentions the different race in the class. The author was also skeptical about the nature of the assignment since grading of assignment is subjective to the professor. This difference gives the force to the point we can always learn from one another no matter what our ethnicity is. “As I learn from you, I guess you learn from me-although you ‘re older- and white- and somewhat freer” (Langstone, line 37-38). As much as we can think differently, we can still learn from one another and still be part of each other and learn. The author points out that rather than allowing our mindsets to direct us towards segregation and racism, we can choose to find similarities among our fellow students and colleagues thereby creating an enabling free and rich environment where truth and knowledge can be learnt.

Moreover, the literary device used by the author to convey his massage such as smile, metaphor is persuasive, impactful and effectives to convince the reader. In the poem, the author stated that “So will my page be colored that I write?” (Langstone, line 27). This quote illustrates that the speaker was not only referring to himself but also the professor. This is an actual symbolism of self-realization that all people are the same irrespective of color, status for we all have similarities such love, sleep and drink. Relating my experience to this quote, I realize that regardless of where I come from, either Sierra Leone or Guinea, my teacher and fellow students are Africans. The paper I write on can neither be Sierra Leone or Guinea and we can be part of one another and work as a Africans.

The religious beliefs in Guinea is quite different from my family since we come from a Christian dominated country. I find it very hard to interact especially the Holy month of Ramadan, a sacred period for the Muslims since their ways of worship is different from ours. According to the author in the poem, “I like a pipe for a Christmas present” (Langstone, line 23). Is implying that the speaker grows up in a Christian family were Christmas is celebrated. Also, the speaking wishing for pipe shows that he is fully ready to shoulder adulthood and all it challenges that comes hence forth including racial segregation

Overall, this poem Theme English B by Langston Hughes, it fit into my life experience because instead of giving up and get myself frustrated, I saw a need to believe in myself and channel a way on how to relate with the tribe, people and the environment I found myself. My identity was of great importance and goes beyond the tribe, culture, and norms of Guinea. I was able to discover who I am and where do I fit into the World of Guinea and their culture. Am believing that one day, we will see a world free of racism, discrimination, segregation, intolerance, and hatred. We can create a world where all humans shall be equal in respective of where you come from or what the color of your skin is.

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