Racial/Facial Discrimination in Malcolm Bradbury’s Eating People Is Wrong

Noureddine Friji 1
  • 1 King Abdulaziz University, , Saudi Arabia

Abstract

As unprecedented waves of immigrants poured into Britain in the wake of World War Two, racism reared its ugly head. Literary works, like several branches of learning, made a considerable contribution towards bringing the problems of otherness and foreignness to the forefront of public attention. Malcolm Bradbury’s academic novel, Eating People Is Wrong (1959), is a typical case in point. This essay attempts to turn the spotlight on the unjust and unjustifiable racist judgments and practices inflicted on black African students in the said novel’s provincial redbrick university and, by extension, in the social universe. Unlike previous scholarly research on Bradbury’s work, the present paper pursues a new line of investigation by leaning on George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s analysis of metonymy in their Metaphors We Live By (1980). This interdisciplinary venture aims to gauge the extent to which metonymic concepts involving skin colour and certain body parts inform race-related attitudes and demeanour. More precisely, I maintain that by purposely boiling the appearance and identity of a Nigerian student called Eborebelosa down to a “black face” or a “black head,” some prejudiced white academics cast him in the role of an inferior other and an unwelcome alien. This is all the more lamentable as intellectuals are supposed to ensure the prominence and permanence of tolerance, equality, and justice, instead of assuming the role of complacent and complicit social actors.

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