SLAVERY WAS A CHOICE? Lessons from Kindred by Octavia Butler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In a 2018 interview, African American artist Kanye West stated, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years… For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” implying that enslaved Africans and African Americans chose to stay in bondage for 400 years. In Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, African American protagonist Dana is forced to travel back in time from 1970s Los Angeles to the antebellum South to save the life of her white ancestor Rufus, an enslaver. Should Dana allow Rufus to perish or should she save him, given her awareness of his inhumane treatment of her Black enslaved ancestors? Drawing on Black feminist thought, this chapter offers lessons on how young readers can critically engage with and analyze issues of equity, justice, and antiracism in nuanced ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTeaching Black Speculative Fiction
Subtitle of host publicationEquity, Justice, and Antiracism
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781003859888
ISBN (Print)9781032488967
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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