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What Is the Main Social Justice Issue in Rise of the Jumbies?

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Stevenson University

Intercultural Communications Tuesday/Thursday ON1

October 2, 2018

Social injustices based on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and age have become an everyday occurrence in today’s society. Tracey Baptiste’s story, Rise of the Jumbies, is about a young woman rising above the prejudice of others in her town to help rescue missing children. This paper will discuss the main social justice issue found within Rise of the Jumbies, Racism, and how uncertainty avoidance is manifested within the story. The second topic of discussion will be how intercultural relationships are impacted in Rise of the Jumbies. The final topic of discussion will be my cultural insight developed from this novel and how it can be applied to my personal life. This paper will discuss how Corinne overcame prejudice and racism in a town plagued by cultural ignorance and fear to develop a positive community based on mutual understanding and respect, and how these insights on intercultural relationships can be applied to my personal life.

What is the main social justice issue in Rise of the Jumbies?

The main social justice issue in Rise of the Jumbies is racism. Prejudice is seen throughout Rise of the Jumbies as the main character, Corinne, goes through her everyday life repeatedly being seen as a threat by others in her town. Corinne, who is half Jumbie, is subjected to racism and prejudice based on past events where islanders have been terrorized by Jumbies. Despite saving the island from an attack lead by her Aunt Severine, Corinne as well as the white witch, who is also a Jumbie, are looked down upon by the town. She received no credit for stopping the attack, only blame for allowing the incident to occur in the first place.

How is uncertainty avoidance manifested in the book?

Immediately following the initial attack of the Jumbies led by Severine, the town’s citizens began to fear potential attacks in the future and developed a strong uncertainty avoidance index where strict guidelines were set in place to minimize the unknown. Uncertainty avoidance refers to, “the tendency to feel threatened by the unknown and the inclination to steer clear of such situations” (Sorrells, 2017, p.109). The town’s high level of uncertainty avoidance is witnessed as Miss Aileen yells in the market to Marlene as she is talking to Corinne, stating “Careful Girl!” (Baptiste, 2017, p.22) and “There’s a child gone missing, get back to your mother quick” (Baptiste, 2017, p.22). Miss Aileen makes these statements due to the assumption that whoever took the missing children is a Jumbie and therefore Corinne a key suspect. Another example of uncertainty avoidance is found within chapter six when Dru states, “They’ll be locking all of us up in our houses soon.” (Baptiste, 2017, p.28). In this statement, Dru is referring to the parents on the island forcing their children stay home. The uncertainty that came upon the parents of not knowing who the kidnapper is or what areas are safe lead to this rash decision.

How are intercultural relationships impacted in Rise of the Jumbies?

Throughout Rise of the Jumbies, Corinne’s intercultural relationships where impacted by the town’s citizen’s prejudice against her partial Jumbie heritage. In communities that are reluctant to accept and support intercultural relationships, individuals may encounter obstacles such as hostility while trying to develop meaningful friendships (Campbell, 2012). Corinne encounters hostility as she receives sideways glances and distrusting looks from customers and vendors at the market (Baptiste, 2017). Corinne becomes so accustomed to this hostility that she begins to read slight physical gestures and understand their meaning as distaste against her. For example, “Corinne had learned that a slight curve in the lip might mean a cruel thought of a person, a tiny squint signaled suspicion from another and stiffness in the muscle meant fear from someone else” (Baptiste, 2017, p. 21).

Parents raise their children to follow their personal beliefs regarding certain cultures, ethnicities, and political views which results in restrictions towards the child’s ability to communicate with different people and cultures (Schwab, 2013). This is witnessed when the parents’ distrust of Jumbies led them to try to turn their children against Corinne stating that she attempted to drown Laurent and she didn’t care about any of their wellbeing (Baptiste, 2017). Although parents have a major influence over their children it is also important to state that individuals have a mind of their own and can choose to promote synergy in a community to bring cultures together (Bond, M. A., 1993). This is seen as Corinne friends decided to stand up for her innocence at the end of the novel.

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