Sample English Essay Paper on Life and Times of Sara Baartman

Life and Times of Sara Baartman

In the current world, racism, gender and inferiority are perceived as normal. This is despite the significant steps made in ensuring social integration. Individuals like Serena Williams, Michelle Obama and Castor Semenya have been victims of these social ills.  In the 17th century, Sarah Baartman also suffered the same fate. Throughout her life, she underwent a lot of pain in the hands of others who racially abused her because of her skin.

Sarah Baartman was born in 1789 in South Africa in Gamtoos Valley. At the age of twenty years, she was sold to Alexander Dunlop, who was a Scottish doctor. Within the first four years in Britain she was exhibited for her extra-large buttocks and extended labia minors. British abolitionists did not like the way she was treated, and they tried to save her even though they did not succeed. When the matter was taken to the court, the abolitionists lost when a contract that was signed between Dunlop and Sarah was produced. However, the authenticity of the contract is still subject to debate. When Dunlop died, Sarah traveled to Paris. In Paris life did not change a lot, again she was used for exhibition. Up to her death, she lived a miserable life and died poor in 1815. Her remains were dissected by George Cuvier, who was a professor of comparative anatomy. The remains were displayed in the Museum of Man where visitors would view her genitalia, brain, and skeleton.

Similarities and differences of the pains women of 21st century undergo through and that of the 17th century will be compared. Specifically those of women like Serena Williams, Castor Semenya and Michelle Obama life will be put into perspective.  

Serena Williams is the Queen of Tennis and her name has become synonymous with tennis for many years. Despite all her achievements in tennis, some people perceive her as a sub-human as in the case of Sara Baartman who was forced to show her naked body which was an attraction to Europeans. Black women have been subjected to a lot racial discrimination. For instance, they have been made believe that they have to prove themselves so that they can be recognized in the society. Continuously they have also tried to fight for their rights. A clear indication of this is the fact that Sarah Baartman consistently refused to show the Europeans her labia as they requested. Moreover, when she was in Paris, an attending scientist offered her some money so that she could display her genitalia but she declined. In the same manner, Serena Williams have severally talked about racism and condemned it. In some cases, she has had to stop her matches until fans who abused her were taken out of the stadia.

The number of people standing against racism is increasing steadily. Just as the case of Sarah when the abolitionists stood with her despite the showmen producing a contract between Sarah and Dunlop, Serena has received massive support from the people who have liberated their minds from racism factor.                      

Michelle Obama currently is the First Lady of United States of America. During her tender age, she was subjected to racism especially when she joined the Princeton University. One such discrimination played out when one of her roommate’s parents tried unsuccessfully to withdraw her daughter from the room where she was staying. By the fact that she was black, the parent of her roommate was not comfortable when her daughter was sharing a room with Michelle. That is the reason as to why they tried to withdraw their daughter from that room. Fortunately, the university did not allow the parent to transfer her daughter to another room. Similarly, in the case of  Sarah Baartman, she was degraded due to her color to an extent of being taken to an exhibition at her young age after her father’s death.

Another instance where Michelle Obama was discriminated is when she was viewed as “someone else” for the white people to accept her in the society. This means that woman of black color must be an overachiever for her to be recognized. Being a graduate of Princeton University, she had to be viewed as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who had nothing to show except being married in Kennedy family. She has been labeled many names including “terrorist”, “ape-like” and much more just as Sarah was labeled. As she was rising to prominence which surprised many, the reaction was rage. Some people were quoted asking “how dare she?” people ignored the fact that she was a successful career lady, educated, intelligent, wife and a mother some people just decided to view her through the lens of race and gender. Racism has affected a group of people even in America today some people have not yet accepted the fact that their First Lady is an African American. This mentality of some whites to the blacks have raised racism to high levels such that even surveys show black woman lowly placed in the hierarchy of human races, despite some having performed exemplary well.

 In the case of Castor Semenya a clear picture of how racism has occupied some people’s mind to an extent they cannot believe a black woman can dominate in some fields. Just like Sarah Baartman, Castor Semenya have been subjected various test, the have been carried out in the name of trying to a certain her gender which can be very deeming to any human being coincidentally Castor Semenya and Sarah Baartman come from the same country. A close examination of Castor Semenya’s case reveals that her rights were violated. Her dignity was lowered all this was done to her because of her color and gender. Eventhough the plot was to humiliate her, she received massive support all over the world. Some parallelism can be drawn to that case of Sarah Baartman on how some legal minds and well-wishers tried to pull her out of the slavery. Castor case was handled with dignity but it’s too unfortunate to see the people who were against her were whites.

In conclusion, despite the numerous social milestones overcome and achieved, it is clear that racism is still alive. For instance, some terms that were used in ancient times are still in use today. For example, the term “The Hottentot Venus” was commonly used by Europeans to refer beauty gods. Those who spew racial hatred should accept that despite the color differences all have equal capabilities just as proved by Michelle Obama who have risen to the highest offices in the land, Castor Semenya have proved that blacks can also perform and Serena Williams have proved that blacks are also good in indoor games.

Works Cited

“Gender Bending the Rules for Caster Semenya”. New Scientist 203.2723 (2009): 5. Web.

Schultz, Jaime. “Reading TheCatsuit: Serena Williams And The Production Of Blackness At The 2002 U.S. Open”. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 29.3 (2005): 338-357. Web.