Trevor Noah Writes About His Experience with Racism as a Biracial Kid in Memoir, 'Born a Crime'.
Much as 'Daily Show' host Trevor Noah make jokes about racism in America, he has been a victim too. Born in South Africa in 1984 to a black, Xhosa mother and a Swiss father, Noah talks about what its like to grow up in Apartheid South Africa, in his memoir: 'Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood'.
Growing up, interracial relationships during the oppressive system of apartheid were illegal; hence the title 'Born A Crime'.
In an interview Noah recounts how his father was terrified to be caught in public with a biracial child saying:
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“My father was not holding my hand or anything because he couldn’t be seen to be the father of a mixed-race child. I’m running down the street and he’s running away because he doesn’t want us to get into trouble. I think I’m playing a game. What you don’t realize is that they’re basically running away from the law.”
Adventurous as she was, his mother also had to disguise herself as a care-giver so as not to get in trouble for being in a 'white' area.
Noah humorously talks about growing up as a child who was not quite black and not quite white. He had to undergo racism not only from the outside world but also from his mother's family. As he recalls, they treated him differently than his black cousins.
“My grandmother and grandfather were very much from a world where they had been taught the importance of respect between the races. So my own grandmother treated me as if I were a person of higher standing than they were,” he said. She couldn't even punish him as she did his cousins. He recalls her grandmother saying: “Ooh, I can't hit him, I can't. Oooh, he's going to become black and blue and green.”
His memoir focuses on Noah and his mom's experiences in a world where politics and race separated blacks and whites. But her mother refused to be bound by such. She did not accept any limitations. And that is how she brought Noah up.
Ridiculous as it was, Noah's mom took up a typing course at a time when black people only worked as maids or gardeners. But she didn't care what she was told. She did it anyway. And when the country started absorbing blacks into major corporations, his mother had the typing skills that most blacks lacked.
"When I look back, I realize she raised me like a white kid — not white culturally, but in the sense of believing that the world was my oyster, that I should speak up for myself, that my ideas and thoughts and decisions mattered.”
Noah's experiences in South Africa have shaped his life today and his career as a comedian. 'Born A Crime' will be released Nov. 15.
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