The complete story “The hands of the Black” by Bernardo Honwana takes just a couple of minutes to read, yet it requirements much an ext time to think it over. The story starts indigenous the straightforward question a schoolboy he asks simply out the curiosity, yet the answers turn it come something much more complicated. The comprehension of the concerns the adults ask in return and also the answers they provide can speak a lot around the people of racial discrimination.

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The question about the hand of the black world is firstly increased by the narrator’s schoolteacher and also then the most offensive explanation feasible is provided to the class. According to the teacher, the black human being didn’t evolved as rapid as the white ones, therefore the palms there is no tan is a memory about the times once they to be walking on their four like monkeys.

The very first disturbing point in the story is the the narrator (who is most likely Bernardo Honwana himself) is the just one who disagrees v this explanation and starts come seek another answers from random people. But still, none of them satisfies him, due to the fact that – this is the second thing that renders us concern – world claim that black world as a race have actually some one-of-a-kind traits that identify them from whites, the they have different personalities.

The priest – the next man the narrator asks and also the one who has actually the most authority amongst the surrounding adults – offers much prettier explanation, yet it tho looks fake. He says that God left the hand of the black human being light-colored since they host them together during the prayer so often that the skin has actually no time to end up being tanned.

This version, ~ above the contrary, makes black people better than whites and much more obedient to God – but by intuition or reasonable the narrator understands that it no true either. Therefore he continues his pursuit for answers, make the efforts to recognize why adults have such various versions of them.

The other answers were mainly bitter or offensive again. Because that example, Dona Dores stated to the boy that despite the black civilization are destined to it is in slaves, their hands were deliberately make white through God, so the they won’t floor anything they lug to your masters. Another version was the the palms were bleached throughout the consistent picking that white noodle or doing the laundry from day to day. Virtually everyone the narrator asks associates the black color of the skin with dirt that is one of two people disgusting and has to it is in rid of or plainly the authorize of the inferiority.

Some the the adult males play a stupid prank top top the boy, telling him the outright silly story they came up through on the spot. One of them called the narrator that the whites to be created an initial and climate they made black world by us from clay and also second-hand creates previously provided by them. However due to the absence of room and their neglection, the white skin - man overbaked the clay and also it came to be ashes.

Their palms to be still white because all the black human being had to organize on something just not to fall to the fire. If the narrator do the efforts to comprehend such an unusual and disturbing story, the men around burst right into laughing, persuading him that the full story is a lie indigenous the first to the last word and also they don’t know the best answer to together a ridiculous question. So, not only they law black civilization as laughingstocks, they likewise mock the average and innocent boy curiosity.

More tamed yet still great version comes from an additional neighbor of the narrator: God developed all the people and also at an initial they every were black due to the fact that of ash and dust. He proved them the huge lake and ordered lock to wash themselves before going to earth to live there. But the first part of the civilization was created prior to the dawn and also the water to be freezingly cold in the night.

So they determined just to wash their hands and feet. It was too dark for them to see that they room covered in dust from top to toes, therefore they went as they were and also became black color people. This story contains an ext equality in it, yet again, the black color skin shade is connected with being dirty, lazy or dim-witted, the is a flaw and also a drawback.


The only story that satisfies the narrator is the story the his mother. Several times we, as readers, see that Bernardo Honwana color etc our attention to the reality the mrs is crying while informing her story. She starts indigenous the indigenous that persuade the boy much more than every little thing else: “God made blacks due to the fact that they had actually to be”. This solitary phrase makes whatever right: the really existence that the black world is the natural and legitimate thing. They are not supposed to be the instruments, they nothing exist on purpose, they just are, due to the fact that God want the earth to be lived in with civilization of various skin colors.

But then the narrator’s mother adds a an extremely bitter thing to the whole story: later God regretted the he developed blacks, because the whites made your life miserable, castle enslaved the blacks, mocked them and discriminated them. God also thought around making everyone white, however he couldn’t hurt the selection of those that wanted to continue to be black.

So, come remind that inside all the civilization are equal and also the real value that a human being is identified not through their skin color but with the deeds they execute with your hands, God do the hand of the black human being lighter than the remainder of their skin. The story ends with the indigenous of the narrator that he has never checked out someone crying so much as his mother, without being hurt.

We have the right to conclude that the story that the distinguish of the black world is something very an individual for the narrator’s mother, despite we discover that she is clearly a white woman. Quiet she cries and emphasises numerous times the the black world just should exist since God wants it. The woman chooses the specifically right words to offer to her kid the most right, though biologically untrue answer.

The boy doesn’t disclose for self why the skin on the palms of the dark-skinned human being contains less melanin than the remainder of their body, yet instead the receives a much much more powerful epiphany: all the ahead versions to be wrong, since the black human being aren’t different from the white ones. They deserve to be good or bad, type or mean, glowing or dim, simply as anyone else, due to the fact that they room just human being who have actually darker skin.

In a few sentences the narrator’s mother showed him all the be oppressive the black civilization came through, so serious that also God, almighty and omniscient, regretted His decision to create them for such suffering. She additionally dismisses the association of black color skin v dirt, saying that also God respects the best of the person to it is in black. No wonder the the vault versions said to she by her kid made the bad woman cry. The adult and reasonable civilization (even the teacher and also the priest) who room the authorities because that the kids, deliberately or ignorantly, spread out the racist views, elevating the new generation the racism distinguish supporters.

Let me remind you the the narrator was the only one indigenous the whole course who increased the question. The other kids took it as granted and the various other adults (who may be fathers that those an extremely kids) support the views the utterly dehumanize black people, depicting them together inferior beings significant by God (or evolution) to it is in slaves and servant to the superior whites.

The knowledge of the scale of the difficulty can be shocking because that everyone. The brave woman does what she needs to do and also what she have the right to do. She can’t resolve the entirety world, but she have the right to be a great mother to her child and give the the answer that will aid him to stand for the equality of all the civilization in the future. She story is beautiful and logical sufficient to be spread among the other kids and also maybe some of them will reconsider their opinion also.

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We watch the powerlessness of a solitary mother who stands against almost every the town, but also we check out hope, since the reaction the her boy is the best reward we, as readers, have the right to be given. The believes her through all his heart and he finds that her values resonate v his own, with the feeling of best that is innate for everyone, that renders us human, disregarding the shade our hands are.