Aesthetic Realism, Founded by Eli Siegel,
Provides a New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology

Anthro TECH Site of the Month Award
A Novel Against Racism  
By Arnold Perey
Chapter 12. Equality of Value, Difference of Form
Upon the accuracy with which similitude in dissimilitude, and dissimilitude in similitude are perceived, depend our taste and our moral feeling. 
                —William Wordsworth, Preface to the  
                    second edition  of Lyrical Ballads (1800)
     As the two friends began to discuss their plans, Alan was climbing the stairs to his hotel room. The Territorial Administrator had looked at his papers for a suspenseful moment, and, not willing to torment Alan by making him wait, had said in a brusque but friendly manner, “Everything looks fine. You have permission to proceed.” 
     His application had been approved! He had already, that day, begun to buy supplies for his trip to the interior. He was enormously excited. 
     At one of the numerous Chinese Stores that day, which would be called general stores in rural America, or dry goods stores, he had seen from the street two young black children run out the door followed by the proprietor. The proprietor spat at them and shouted something furiously. Alan felt suddenly enraged by the virulent hate the storekeeper showed to these children. 
     He thought of his past, when he was in elementary school in the suburbs, and many black children came to school in sneakers and worn shirts. He felt ashamed of how he had thought he was better than they were. The shame of this clung to him. He could still feel it. He had always felt he was somehow better than other people. The very word “I” he cherished and abhorred. He would look at himself in the mirror and sometimes felt he looked like a rodent. People, he thought, didn’t like him. 
     Why, beside his sheer injustice, had the storekeeper shocked Alan and made him so angry? Perhaps, without knowing it, the young anthropologist saw in him the worst thing in himself. 
     That afternoon he had begun arrangements to have trunk-size metal patrol boxes made and smaller metal boxes, all water-tight. He bought a fine camera, Japanese color film, Australian sandals, short pants and long socks.  
     He had taken a pathway out of the center of town which led between villages, and had lost his way. It was a cheerful young black man his own age who guided him back to the hotel. Alan was hot and tired, and not a little frightened, and the young man climbed a coconut palm that must have belonged to his family, threw down the ripe coconut, stripped the husk with a bush knife, and opened the nut itself—handing it to Alan with a flourish, for him to drink the fresh coconut milk.  
     It tasted smooth and clean—unlike any coconut he’d had at home. 
     He was moved that the young man could be kind to him and think of his feelings. What could he give the young man that would have the same value to Alan as the coconut had to the young man? It would be insulting to give him money, thought Alan. He thought of the labor it took the family to take care of their precious tree for years, and the hard work to climb up that smooth trunk, and the considerate thought that went into the man’s thinking of giving him a drink on the hot road; and how few nuts remained up there under the feathery crown of fronds. Do I have something I can give him which has equivalent value to me?  
     He had studied the labor theory of value and agreed with it. The value of an object was equivalent to the value of the work a person has put in to create it. 
     Alan had benefited from, but hated, the fact that American currency was so valuable that for a throw-away single dollar, worth not so much to an American, valuable services and valuable goods could be bought in many countries. A man could sweat a week to earn what he, Alan, could toss off as a tip, because the rate of exchange had so much overvalued the American dollar. 
     He wanted to approach the people of New Guinea on a basis of equality. So instead of going the easy way, and giving the man a shilling that meant little to himself, but much to the man, he thought of giving him the black leather belt with a real silver buckle he was now wearing in his shorts. That had a bigger value to Alan, and it was a new belt.  
     He pulled the belt from his waist and gave it to the young man, who immediately, with a smile, rolled it up and put it in his bag. He looked very pleased to get it—“About as pleased,” thought Alan, “as I felt getting the coconut milk.” He licked his lips in retrospect. He felt good because he’d gotten close to a real equivalence despite the fact that he and the young New Guinean neither spoke the same language nor shared the same culture.  
     Back at the hotel, Alan went back up to his room. The walls reflected the last light from the sea. The sun was going down now and at the horizon line the red light of the sun met the cool blue ocean and merged with it. 
image of book cover

Gwe Is Born   
The Attack  
Five Years Later
Alan Comes to New Guinea  
Equality & Difference 
A Story of Famine

You can order this book directly from Waverly Place Press, or from Google Books or

 "Nothing human is alien to me." Terence 

See: Aesthetic Realism: A New Perspective for Anthropology & Sociology
About Arnold Perey
Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Aesthetic Realism Online Library
Aesthetic Realism Consultations
The Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method
What People Say: Links to Aesthetic Realism Resources
Barbara Allen: Aesthetic Realism Consultant, Flutist
John Singer Sargent's Madame X, an Aesthetic Realism Discussion
Friends of Aesthetic Realism--Countering the Lies

Anti-Racism Resources:

See articles by writers whom I esteem. Writing by Ellen Reiss, the Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, includes her "Difference and Sameness: The Human Question" and "Racism Can End."

Nancy Huntting is represented by her "On Racism & How to End It".

See Capt. Allan Michael's "It Is In Contempt That the Root of Racism Lies" and Alice Bernstein's book, Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism.

Articles by New York teachers who demonstrate how the standard curriculum, K-12, can be used to encourage kindness and oppose prejudice include: "Prejudice Changes to Respect" and "Students Learn, Prejudice Is Defeated!"

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Copyright © 2004-2017 by Arnold Perey