Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Haley Scholars (Group B) Rion Amilcar Scott's “The Electric Joy of Service”

By Lakenzie Walls and Howard Rambsy II

[Haley Reading groups Fall 2021

Rion Amilcar Scott’s “The Electric Joy of Service,” from his collection of stories The World Doesn’t Require You (2019), focuses on the first-person perspective of a robot named Jim that describes its experiences. The robot’s inventor/Master plots to sell robots based on caricatures of enslaved Black people.

The story includes a few different intriguing twists and turns. At one point, the inventor uploads a virus that will spur a rebellion among The Robotic Personal Helpers (or Riffs). But he determines a different fate for Jim. To ensure that the robot remains content, the Master inventor provides “a gift: a patch to block the disease of history” (46).

What did you find mot fascinating about Scott's story, and why?

93 comments:

Linda H. said...

I found it interesting how Jim's creator thought he was doing him a favor by keeping him happy. However it seems he just wanted to keep his slave robot obedient. It might be possible for Jim to reprogram himself out of being a happy slave, but its unclear if he would want to do that because he is "happy".


Linda H.

Mark Lewis said...

It's fascinating how Master refers to the slave revolt as the great "Insurrection," a negative connotation for an event that changed lives for the better. Also, that he even thought he could get away with making robot slaves that looked like caricatures. He presumably lives either during our time or in the future, and if he's smart enough to make a self-learning A.I., then he would like no that no one could sell something like that.

Ebonie Byrd said...

I found it interesting that Jim’s creator would call the blockage of history as a “gift”. This does nothing to help Jim besides keep him ignorant on the problem with being a slave.
Ebonie Byrd

Samantha A. said...

I found it interesting how Scott's story combined history with today's generation through language. This reading tells the story of slavery and the rebellion against it, while also incorporating computers and the computer viruses of a modern period. Scott's writing style illustrates a story during slavery by incorporating the dialect and language used back then while also appealing to today's generation through using modern technology.

-Samantha A.

Kai Binta Steward said...

I was pretty disturbed entering the story. Stories that start 'in medias res' can often be jarring. The idea that people would so quickly want to go back to having "slaves" is a really interesting idea. The master in the story seemed to understand that the people in his reality would quickly flock to the chance to own robots that imitate the Jim Crow character that was created in the 1830s to mock the features of African-Americans.
The story provoked emotions that I wasn't expecting going into this first reading. I was irritated with the humans siding with the robots (which I never do because they scare me). The robot who is the POV were seeing the story through is the embodiment of Jim Crow. Jim Crow was always a character, like Uncle Same it was just an idea so reading characteristics of Jim Crow is strange.

Kai Steward

Unknown said...

I found it interesting how quickly the robots acted after learning their history. They immediately felt the need to attach their masters to make up for how they were treated. Although, they are robots they were able to understand the disrespect and inhumanity of their enslavement.
Kahleea W.

LaTrina Brown said...

I did not personally find this story interesting at all, but I would say that I have questions regarding the content. It was confusing reading the text, so I just want to understand why does the story start off the way it does? Also, it makes me wonder if there was any.act of violence towards the master after the story ends? It left off on a cliff.

Paris S. said...

I found it interesting in how Jim's creator was able to keep Jim oblivious towards the aspect of enslavement. The other robots were able to understand the problems and inhumanity associated with slavery, which led them to somehow revolt/fight back.

Kevyere Mack said...

Personally, I did not care for "BELLES LETTRES" because it was a lot of back and fourth arguing, but I did find it interesting that two seemed-to-be successful and educated black grown women were arguing about their children. Although, they did the right thing by communicating with each other, however it was a little off on how they approached the situations, that were happening with Christinia and Fatima. Very unprofessional, these two women belittled their children with so called hateful remarks that had "so called" came out of the two little girl's mouths at school. All in all, it seemed that the two parents should've been getting some "help" for themselves instead of acting childish, when they didn't really know what was going on between Christinia and Fatima.

-Kevyere Mack

Kevyere Mack said...

Personally, I did not care for "BELLES LETTRES" because it was a lot of back and fourth arguing, but I did find it interesting that two seemed-to-be successful and educated black grown women were arguing about their children. Although, they did the right thing by communicating with each other, however it was a little off on how they approached the situations, that were happening with Christinia and Fatima. Very unprofessional, these two women belittled their children with so called hateful remarks that had "so called" came out of the two little girl's mouths at school. All in all, it seemed that the two parents should've been getting some "help" for themselves instead of acting childish, when they didn't really know what was going on between Christinia and Fatima.

Kevyere Mack said...

Personally, I did not care for "BELLES LETTRES" because it was a lot of back and fourth arguing, but I did find it interesting that two seemed-to-be successful and educated black grown women were arguing about their children. Although, they did the right thing by communicating with each other, however it was a little off on how they approached the situations, that were happening with Christinia and Fatima. Very unprofessional, these two women belittled their children with so called hateful remarks that had "so called" came out of the two little girl's mouths at school. All in all, it seemed that the two parents should've been getting some "help" for themselves instead of acting childish, when they didn't really know what was going on between Christinia and Fatima.

Alleson H. said...

To me the whole thought of having robots in itself just seems strange to me. It's funny because there's been a post going around social media recently about how it would be a good thing if certain citizens could have slaves again. Now after having read this story and seeing how robots are kind of like brain washed in Jims instance is odd to me. It makes me wonder just how many people now a days would want to have their own "Jim".

Itangishatse Bujeni said...

I found several things about this passage quite fascinating. I often found myself questioning what every character or theme represented. Of all the interesting themes in this passage, two stuck with me. When the electric holocaust caused a majority of the slave robots to be “inoperable” and “just hunks of metal”, I wondered if they represented generations of black names and identities forever lost and forgotten as a side affect of slavery. The second theme that intrigued me was Jim’s character as a whole, but specifically when he says “I search my system to tap into that virus. I know it’s in me somewhere. Those alternating currents and colors of blessed rage”. This quote says so much and circled around my brain for a while until I thought, maybe the author is saying that with the electrical surge the master got the robots (black slaves) and their history to disappear, and along with that erased their language so that they would no longer be able to even communicate their history. Jim, with this line becomes the hope, because he was allowed to keep the history, and the virus is in him. Maybe that means something about an untapped, “blessed rage” is in all of us? All in all the most fascinating aspect of this passage are all the different ways it can be interpreted. I had my thoughts and ideas but maybe someone else thought something completely different. That’s it’s impact.

Alexis S. said...

The most fascinating part of the story to me is the use of modern technology to create these "robots." I was shocked to read the background story about the creation of the robots, as they are modern day slaves, who at first had no notion that they were enslaved until they were injected with a virus. It was also interesting to read how the Master went about manipulating the technology of the robots to be able to understand the history behind their creation, but just as fast switch off the update and have them go back to being voiceless and unaware.

- Alexis S.

Chaianna C. said...

What I found most fascinating about this story was the fact that the "Master" had taken something so futuristic- the robots- and decided to use them to basically re-enact slavery. I don't understand why he chose such a painful time period to reminisce over and use as a model for his inventions. And all of his references to slavery made me come to the conclusion that he was well past obsessed with it.

Unknown said...

Makiah L.

What stood out the most to me in the story was how petty the mothers were being. I feel like at least one of them should've been the bigger person and at least tried to make things better. It seemed like their letters were getting worse every single time. I believe as mothers, they should've made some sort of way for their daughters to get along since they were the only black students at the school. I feel as if though it would've probably benefitted the two young ladies in so many ways. I also feel like the mothers should've had some sort of in-person meeting instead of writing so that they could probably come to a form of clarity with each other.

Makiah L.

Taiye Joseph said...

I thought the entire story was an interesting concept and could have been reality if we had the same type of technology we have today when the slaves were set free. The first couple of sentences makes you think that an actual human slave is narrating, but once he says that his master created him, that's when I caught on. Even though the concept is interesting, I do not agree with it, because in turn it is replacing what everyone still want, black slaves. I found it really alarming, when the master wanted to pitch his robot creation as a business and he painted Jim as a stereotypical African, in black face with big white eyes and big red lips. Truly disgusting. Later in the story, it intrigued me that the master put a virus in all of the robots, even though he was still getting money and paid from his creation. I feel that putting the virus in the robots and them rebelling should have been a lesson to all the whites, that what they were truly doing to slaves was wrong and not human at all! A nonhuman entity saw issues within slavery so why couldn't the whites!

Shantal Terrell said...

Scott was content and happy to serve his master without question and without fail up until he knew that there was an alternative way. Once, the feeling of rage and knowledge of their condition( The riffs) was present there was no way of going back. An idea or information no matter how small once planted can never be truly removed from that person’s knowledge.

The real gift to Scott was the knowledge that he could do something else. And because of that his master choose to block that knowledge, knowing Scott would more than likely not be content to stay in this subservient role. His master was seeking revenge on others but did not want to feel the effects of that revenge himself.
Shantal T.

Zaria Hankins said...

Something I found interesting was how ignorant the master came across in the story. Like when the master talks to his partners about reintroducing the idea of slavery by creating robots that embody the stereotypes white people have of black people. Also when he gave Jim the “gift” of being content with being a slave. It seems like the master genuinely believes that he is making positive contributions to the world. It seems that he thinks he acts in a more morally correct manner than the incorporation and his friends when in reality he’s just as evil if not more.
-Zaria H.

Kayla Person said...

I found it interesting that Jims master considered him blocking the history of the Riff virus a gift, when in fact it only helped the master. This definitely relates to the real world and education.

- Kayla P.

Tymera W said...

I personally was shocked about a lot of things but to keep It short I will only mention a few. I found it very interesting how “master” was able to easily be manipulative when it came to these robots. The notion of how slavery is tied into this was also very interesting but weird at the same time. What stuck out to me the most is when he said “For you my little nigger a gift a patch to block the disease of history” my facial expression changed so fast.

-Tymera W

Walter Carroll said...

I found it interesting that Jim's creator kept what Jim actually was to himself. It just made me think of how many slaves back then were forced to work because they had no other option.

-Walter C.

Nijay Spellman said...

I thought this part of Scott's story was pretty interesting so far and creative. What did shock me was that the Master thought this was a good invention and that people eventually chose to follow along with him. The invention was racially motivated and he knew it was wrong because he installed a virus in the robots( to remember their past treatment), so they could turn against their owners. I just want to know what was the point of the invention? Was the Master trying to gradually get history to repeat itself with actual people?

Nijay S.

Charles Borwn said...

What I found most interesting is how the master started off selling these robots to people as a way for them to mimic having slaves, but as the story progressed, the master uploaded a virus that would make these enslaved robots rebel against the people who purchased them. I'm curious and confused as to why the "master" created this invention and sold it to people just to go back and make them turn against the same people who bought them.

- Charlie B.

Philip Bowen said...

The most interesting part about this story how the author connects modern day technology to past events. For example the author illustrates how the master used his creation of the robots as modern day slavery by the way he would called them racial slurs and mistreat them for his own pleasure.

-Philip Bowen

Tamia Flowers said...

I was intrigued by Jim's creator's ability to keep Jim unaware to the fact that he was enslaved. The other robots were able to comprehend the difficulties and inhumanity of slavery, leading them to rebel back in some way.

SylveA’sha Radley said...

What I found interesting about Scott’s story was the reason why Jim( Robot) was created. He created this robot, to replace what he felt he was missing in his life. The crazy thing about it, is that he let this one thing that he created take control and manipulate him.

Daniel Allison said...

I think the most interesting/surprising part of this story to me was the fact that the master really valued his own racism over the potential financial success of him and his business partners. His partners couldn't believe that he seriously wanted to make racism one of the main selling points of the robots. I feel like in today's world people value money and their own feelings of greed over everything else. They are willing to put their feelings of hate to the side for their own success, so seeing the master in the story be truly honest with his hateful feelings was shocking to me.

-Daniel Allison

Phoenix Johnson said...

The twist of having the robots rebel against the humans that bought them fascinated me the most. At first, I was getting a lot of slavery comparisons between the master and robot slaves. Especially, since one slave robot was named Jim which instantly makes my mind think of Jim Crow laws that cause legal segregation and mistreatment to every race besides white. Then the comparison stops when the master has intents on making the robots rebel and harm their new master. Was that another comparison of the author was making or just an diabolical, ironic twist to the story?

Noah Phillips said...

I think what I find most interesting about the story is just the deep meaning and thought that went into it. The whole idea of robot slaves in which rich white people could purpose of course reflected or more or less parallel the countless years of slavery and racism within the country. But not only that, it shows that we as African Americans were acknowledged as more working robots than actual human beings. It was also very interesting how the Master ended up creating a virus to cause a rebellion among the slaves, it seems as though he always valued his own importance rather that be racism or self pleasure, he always put that first. And that in-turn also reflects may racists in the past who would not stop at any measure to insure the oppression and destruction of the African American race.
-Noah Phillips

Anonymous said...

I think this story was very interesting for many reasons. Something that really struck out to me was the deep thought that was put behind this work. The whole notion of robot slaves, goes to show and or parallel how African Americans were seen as more robots than even human beings. It was also interesting how the Master basically sabotaged his own creation because he disagreed with the other people. Almost representing how many racist would go to any extent to maintain control, spread oppression, and destroy the African American race.
-Noah Phillips

Anonymous said...

(NOAH Phillips)
I think this story was very interesting for many reasons. Something that really struck out to me was the deep thought that was put behind this work. The whole notion of robot slaves, goes to show and or parallel how African Americans were seen as more robots than even human beings. It was also interesting how the Master basically sabotaged his own creation because he disagreed with the other people. Almost representing how many racist would go to any extent to maintain control, spread oppression, and destroy the African American race.
-Noah Phillips

Breana B said...

The most interesting part to me was when the master spread the virus through the robots and they started an uprising. Then the people who owned them shut them down. This made me think of when the slaves would rebel. But they wouldn't get shut down, they would get killed. Also when the master blocked his robot from the virus. This made me think of how some slave owners would try to shield their slaves from the outside world so they wouldn't know what was going on.

Breana B

Arielle Stallworth said...

The most interesting part to me was the robots turning against those that purchased them. They were programmed to mimic slaves and ended up turning on and being used against them.

Elizabeth Kyande said...

The most interesting thing to me with this piece is how the author relates the past and future. Having robots to recreate the ways of the past in terms of slavery is just mind-blowing. However, this led me to think of our current lifestyle with modern-day slavery and how we have the middle class and the top 1%. Is slavery really a thing of the past or have we just modified it?

Elizabeth Kyande

Kelsey Hewitt said...

The most interesting part to me was these robots. I say this was interesting because these robots were a reflection of slaves. Another point of these robots is when the master said “And we can make these things any race the customer pleases. Little Asian Jims. Little Wetback Jims. Cracker Jims. Anything. (45). Another thing that was interesting to me was how the master thought he was doing Jim a favor by not putting the virus in him. Just goes to show how back then when some blacks could be in the house with the master and his family, they probably thought they were doing a good thing and helping, when in reality they weren’t.

Kelsey H

Justin Jubert said...

The part I found most interesting is when he stated, "We can make these things any race a customer pleases. Little Asian Jims, Little Wetback Jims, and Little Cracker Jims." This alludes to the commodification of inclusion that has been co-opted by giant corporations to expand their profits. It also speaks to how the owner class will not stop at any lengths to create a product, no matter how unethical or destructive it may be. -JJ

Kalonji said...

I thought the story as a whole was an interesting parallel to real-life history. An allusion to a comparison between robots and people prevailed throughout this story. The most interesting part of this story was on page 46 when the master said, "for you, my little nigger, a gift: a patch to block the disease of history. Go on and be content". Present-day, there are many instances where outcry/ protests against past & present injustices against humanity have been met with a message that can basically be summed as "shut up and be thankful". A pattern that I've recognized is that oppressors often wish to be served unconditionally with little discontent from the server. We've seen it many times in the form of dictatorships, slave masters, abusive relationships, etc.

-Kalonji Rumph

Tiana J said...

I found it interesting to imagine a world where slavery stopped, but then happened to be recreated through robots. It makes you think about what lengths people would go to with new technology.

Tiana J

Teighlor T said...

I find it fascinating that even though the robot was designed to serve, it is still very aware of its limitations and it’s enslavement. It made me think about how if I were to be created to serve someone that thinks they are superior to me, I would want no awareness of that. I’d want to in a foggy haze of who I actually am. From my perspective, it appears that the robot relishes in the space of knowing he is a robot to serve but also he is seen as less than.

Teighlor T .

Tiana J said...

I found it interesting that slavery could be re-created through robots. It made me first wonder if people had access to technology back in the day would they have chosen robots over actual slaves.
Tiana J

Janielle F. said...

What I found interesting about the story was how quickly ownership of the robots seemed to become. Since the story takes place after slavery during a time where everyone can see the ramifications of it and how it affects society, it really makes you wonder why everyone was so quick to buy robots modeled after slaves.

Chelsea Cooper said...

I can honestly say I was shocked beginning at the second paragraph. Anything dealing with slavery instantly makes me cringe. What grasped my attention was the clear display of modern day slavery. The master didn't stop at African Americans robot's, he thought that to make different races to fit the consumers desires. In the end, the masters controlling ways swayed him to sabotage his creations. I feel this is a reflection of the world today. There is only so far an African American can thrive and succeed, until a group of higher status sees this as a threat to their control and creates barriers to shut them down.

~Chelsea Cooper

Chidi Anyamele said...

For me the most interesting part about the book was how the robots literally acted like a metaphor for how African American SLaves where treated. And additionally how Jim's Creator called Jim's censor of history "a gift". "The gift" being one that mainly helped the creator.
-Chidi Anyamele

David Bankole said...

I personally am a fan of the story especially the twists and turn. Especially how Jim for most of the story was unaware that he was a slave and was happy doing what he was doing. But what I loved the most was the robots rebelling against humans I thought that was interesting.
-David Bankole

David Bankole said...

I personally am a fan of the story especially the twists and turn. Especially how Jim for most of the story was unaware that he was a slave and was happy doing what he was doing. But what I loved the most was the robots rebelling against humans I thought that was interesting.
-David Bankole

David Bankole said...

I personally am a fan of the story especially the twists and turn. Especially how Jim for most of the story was unaware that he was a slave and was happy doing what he was doing. But what I loved the most was the robots rebelling against humans I thought that was interesting.
-David Bankole

Keiahjah said...

The thing I found most interesting about this story is how he came up with the ideal to paint robots black and to give them big red lips dress them like lawn jockeys and to sell them to white folks. Like black people haven’t already been through enough already slandering and abused etc. he basically wanted them to go back to slavery again like that was okay I just didn’t understand why he it thought it was okay. Another part of the story caught my interest is the N word calling and saying how they can dress up as different races it was just mind bowling how you think times had past us but nope we still here.


-KEIAHJAH Mosely

Keiahjah said...

The thing I found most interesting about this story is how he came up with the ideal to paint robots black and to give them big red lips dress them like lawn jockeys and to sell them to white folks. Like black people haven’t already been through enough already slandering and abused etc. he basically wanted them to go back to slavery again like that was okay I just didn’t understand why he it thought it was okay. Another part of the story caught my interest is the N word calling and saying how they can dress up as different races it was just mind bowling how you think times had past us but nope we still here.


-KEIAHJAH Mosely

Keiahjah said...

The thing I found most interesting about this story is how he came up with the ideal to paint robots black and to give them big red lips dress them like lawn jockeys and to sell them to white folks. Like black people haven’t already been through enough already slandering and abused etc. he basically wanted them to go back to slavery again like that was okay I just didn’t understand why he it thought it was okay. Another part of the story caught my interest is the N word calling and saying how they can dress up as different races it was just mind bowling how you think times had past us but nope we still here.


-KEIAHJAH Mosely

Keiahjah said...

The thing I found most interesting about this story is how he came up with the ideal to paint robots black and to give them big red lips dress them like lawn jockeys and to sell them to white folks. Like black people haven’t already been through enough already slandering and abused etc. he basically wanted them to go back to slavery again like that was okay I just didn’t understand why he it thought it was okay. Another part of the story caught my interest is the N word calling and saying how they can dress up as different races it was just mind bowling how you think times had past us but nope we still here.


-KEIAHJAH Mosely

Keiahjah said...

The thing I found most interesting about this story is how he came up with the ideal to paint robots black and to give them big red lips dress them like lawn jockeys and to sell them to white folks. Like black people haven’t already been through enough already slandering and abused etc. he basically wanted them to go back to slavery again like that was okay I just didn’t understand why he it thought it was okay. Another part of the story caught my interest is the N word calling and saying how they can dress up as different races it was just mind bowling how you think times had past us but nope we still here and some people just don't know how to move on from it.


-KEIAHJAH Mosely

ArTerrious Thorpe said...

I thought it was funny how both Dr. Lucinda and Monica were being passive-aggressive to each other and arguing over their children. Also considering they don't seem to be worrying about anything else in life seeing how successful these black women have become.- ArTerrious T.

Nyah C. said...

I found it interesting how servitude is portrayed in the story. Jim is grateful to serve his master because that is all he knows and he knows no better. He thought highly of his master's satisfaction with him.

After Winston said, "We can't take that to Meratti...They'll...they'll...God, look at that thing," Jim noticed that others had problems with his appearance. This began a small change within him and he realized he needed to serve better to make up for his "distract[ing]" appearance.

Then when Master uploaded the virus, Jim finally got a taste of freedom, he wanted to keep holding on. Master acted as if he was doing Jim a favor by not letting him get the murderous rage of the virus, but Jim has realized his situation and does not want to let go of the truth.

Tiffany Ellison said...

I found it interesting how Jim's master gave him a patch to block history, but Jim is still questioning things that I feel like he shouldn't be questioning if he's supposed to be happy.

-Tiffany E.

Jania G said...

I found it interesting that the robot did not know it was a slave and how the master thought he was right to keep its history a secret. I also found it interesting that when the robots were injected with a virus, they were then able to realize they were slaves.

Jovahna Williams said...

There were many interesting aspects to the story but what I found most interesting was that they never really revealed the race of the creator. You would think that the creator wouldn't create slaves that would be similar to the appearance of themselves, but they listed a lot of different races when they were marketing the robots. It's amazing how someone will put themselves 100s of years back for money.

Jovahna W.

Jay Mitchell said...

Belle letters is a instresting story. This story is started off when Fatima started a rumor about Christina killing her hamster by a dryer/ washer. This leads to the parents, Monica and Lucina, getting into a heated debate over email which leads them to nit picking about the other kid and bragging/boasting about their own. This comes to a stop when Fatima and Christian get into a fight which leads the parents being leadi into the pricipal office and forced to make up.

Bria Brandon said...

What I found interesting was how the creator of Jim could keep Jim in the state of unknown when it came to slavery and the aspects of enslavement. In the meanwhile the robots were somehow able to comprehend the issues and the inhumane savagery within slavery, which in the end resulted to them rebelling.

Kiya R. said...

The part of the story that I found the most fascinating is the use of the term "master" and the use of other racial slurs that are being used so freely during modern times. At first I had thought that the story was actually set in the past due to the fact that Jim had called his inventor "master", and that his master always refers to him as the N-word. This is eerily similar to how people were referred to in the past during times of slavery, and I found it interesting that Scott made a point to use this type of language in the story to capture how the story is about modern-day slavery.

Keaira C. said...

I definitely find this story to be thought-provoking, and as a young Black woman I'm trying to figure out how to fully interpret it. We never get told the race of the Master, and the ending really lingers and makes you think about the ties and connections to Black History. I also was even able to make connections to current day society, and how we as people get accustomed to working for others and even finding joy in it as LNJ did. And how the "virus", "alternating currents", or the "colors of blessed rage" that he spoke of when talking about himself in the end, resembles the urge, the fire, and the fight (revolt) that I think we all may at times feel and suppress when working for others and wanting to revolt against certain systems that aspects of ourselves aren't in full alignment with. Also, it's interesting how quickly the readers are made to see and understand how many ironies there actually are within this story quickly after "LNJ" mentions it. I feel that there are many parallels from the Master's life (even though we don't know their race) and experiences to the robot's experiences, possibly from his projected problems and feelings/ views onto LNJ while making him. For instance, LNJ being created after the Master's divorce could have created a possible yearning within LNJ to connect with others like him. Him being made from a revolt within the Master's marriage, leading to divorce divide/splitting, and then LNJ wanting to revolt to connect with other Riffs even feels like an ironic foreshadowing of events. This was definitely an interesting read with many possible meanings and takeaway messages.

Byron Coulter said...

The most interesting part for me was the fact that the robot would emulate the life of slave, knowing that it was a slave, but was content with that life. Knowing how AI technology works and how it adapts overtime based on what the master puts in front of it can bring about some alluring theories. It was surprising to me that seeing the other robots rebel didn't some how trigger some type of adaptation even though it was being given a "gift".

Alexis H. said...

I thought it was interesting that his partners were against the look of the the robots, but was okay with what they were created around. It was obvious they were created to be slaves, they just didn’t want it to be in their face with the robots appearance. It was almost like they wanted to hide who they truly were (masters) when they created the robots (slaves). He even went on to say that customers can have them made to look like anything they want. This was too loud of a saying for his partners.

Alexis H.

Lexis Lewis said...

I found it interesting that Jim's Master blocked the virus to stop him from rebelling with every other RIF. I interpret that as he did not want him feeling what being free would be like.
Also at the beginning of the chapter, they had described painting the robots black with big lips. This is what the people imagine the stereotypical African American to look like. Which they predicted that the only way the RIF would sell would be to turn it into something they know would sell.

Cheyenne Carpenter said...

I found the entire concept of "slave robots" interesting mainly because why was the idea to recreate slavery okay? I feel like it was disturbing how Jim's master programmed him to be happy with being a slave. This entire story made me uncomfortable because slavery was real and people in the real world are actively trying to bring it back.

Unknown said...

I found it interesting that the master thought that it was a "gift" to hide the history from Jim, but the whole time he just wanted Jim to not turn on him and try to kill him.

-Richard Haley

Dasmin L. said...

I found it interesting how the author gave the robots humanistic characteristics such as loving to serve, feeling pain, and having angry. Others can say that it was in his programming to feel those things, but it doesn't explain the end of the story when RIFF is still searching for the virus on his own after The slave owner provided him with a "block" of history. It makes me wonder if RIFF robots are real or human.

Jamie Tabron said...

To start, this excerpt was quite uncomfortable to read. Even though it didn’t describe the gore of slavery, the thought of such manipulation is terrifying and it still upsets me to this day just imagining all that my ancestors went through. Anyway, I find it interesting that the master wanted liberation for all the riffs other than his own. He was really that selfish and small. Either he just needs to feel superior over something/someone or he really wasn’t for the advancement of society. Instead, he planted the virus as revenge against his former business partners since he got the short end of the money. Overall, I don’t understand the necessity of needing to belittle anyone or anything, hurt people hurt people. I really hope Jim was able to find the virus in his system.

Jamie Tabron

Victoria Chandler said...

What I found the most interesting was the development of Jim. I connected the change in him to be like the change people go through as they get older. We all start our lives looking different and understanding certain situations differently. As we age, we mature and see things from a different point of view. Jim received updates and interpreted his surroundings how he sought fit. Kind of representing a nature versus nurture scenario.
-Victoria Chandler

Jalen White said...

I was really intrigued by its use to merge such wild futuristic concepts with historical precedents. Robots being used and subjugated as sub servants was an interesting idea to mesh the outlandish with the real. The choice to paint the robots black stood out as quite a shocking moment in the story for me, making the parallels rather obvious. The robot evolution also calls to criticize the capacity of evil that humans can enforce.



Jalen W

Anonymous said...

I find the master's term of "gift" interesting. In the master's mind it was a gift to be able to "block out the disease of history." Despite his efforts to make Jim content, there was something deep within Jim that caused Jim to long for the feeling of the "blessed rage" of the virus.

Jacqueline Smith

Unknown said...

I found the most interesting aspect about the reading is the fact that the master was able to create stereotypical African slaves and no one shut him down. Racism should not be okay and the idea that he was allowed to do this without an uproar was interesting to me considering this story seemed to take place in the future. It also makes the reader consider the idea that maybe racism will never go away---Kiarra Chark

Anonymous said...

I thought it was interesting the way Jim's creator withheld valuable information from him. I've heard people say " What they don't know can't hurt them". I've always found that to often be inaccurate, like in the passage, because there are times where what we don't know will appease us, even though it's not in our best interest.

-Will Akpan

Ta'mya Cummings said...

I thought it was interesting how they still tried to have some type of slavery by creating those robots not only to do what a slave would normally do, but to also make a mockery of them by mimicking how they feel like they look. It also surprised me how they robots turned evil on them and stopped doing what they said.

Daeja Daniels said...

The things that I found most interesting was how robots were modern day slaves.
And the fact that once they found out from the virus they understood now that they were mistreated. They were also able to understand slavery and what it means. This was an interesting twist on the idea of slaves and technology.

Torian henry said...

The main thing I found most interesting is how they implemented the aspect of slavery or forced servitude. It kind of gave me a grim realization of that slavery and exploitation will likely never go away in civilization. Torian H

K carter said...

I think the most interesting part is how stuff was the past was incorporated in modern day time. This is not very uncommon. The past always comes back in a different way.

Erin Myers said...

I found it fascinating how Jim’s creator assumed he was doing him a solid by keeping him content. It was also shown that the master was very manipulative towards the robots and it would have been possible for Jim to reprogram himself but it wasn’t said if he truly wanted to. -Ashanti Young

Erin Myers said...

I found it interesting how there is this ideal that those in positions of power feel that lying and taking advantage of those they have authority over is a way they can prevent rebellion. And what is even more interesting how often it happens to the point where we as people are blind to it. We read about it and notice how bad it is when it happens daily in work areas, or in political positions sometimes. I just don't understand why people with authorities as such can't be honest because rebellion is partially also due to a lack of trust between those who rebel and those who are belong rebelled against.

- Brooke Harris

Unknown said...

I found this reading very interesting and found it very comparative to Detroit Become Human, which surrounds a future where AIs are heavily depended upon, but are enslaved and disrespected. Then a revolution unfolds as the AIs become sentient. There were numerous parallels to the lives of slaves, such as how the reading emulated slavery.

Erin Myers said...

I found this reading very interesting and found it very comparative to Detroit Become Human, which surrounds a future where AIs are heavily depended upon, but are enslaved and disrespected. Then a revolution unfolds as the AIs become sentient. There were numerous parallels to the lives of slaves, such as how the reading emulated slavery.
- Ilysa Walker (October 4, 2021 at 2:59 PM)

Erin Myers said...

I found it interesting how this story is futuristic but has a lot of history tied to into it. I feel like the virus that the master created is similar to the jim crow laws seeing that they were both meant to cause destruction upon a population of individuals.

-Ehriana C. (September 29, 2021 at 9:11 PM)

Erin Myers said...

What I found most interesting are the parallels between this story and what's been surrounding black people for the longest time... oppression. This story makes me think about how sometimes we can become robots in a sense, by going through life with the same routines and never truly breaking free of an oppressed state brought on by our white counterparts. However, LNJ1 was in competition with himself, which is what I think I must do to stay ahead in today's society.

-McKenna C. (September 30, 2021 at 9:58 PM - A1)

Erin Myers said...

I found it interesting how this story is futuristic but has a lot of history tied to into it. I feel like the virus that the master created is similar to the jim crow laws seeing that they were both meant to cause destruction upon a population of individuals.

-Ehriana C. (September 29, 2021 at 9:11 PM A1)

Anonymous said...

After reading this chapter, I was left confused because I could not figure out at what period the event was taking place. The mention of slavery and technology was not making sense. However, I am still digging to understand the meaning of technology in this genre. I believe that the author is telling us something that is more profound than what we are reading.

-Geonel M.

Erin Myers said...

Carah Frazier:

For me the most fascinating part of this story was the fact that is sort of follows what is happening right now. From what I’ve seen and heard from the news and social media, different school teach American history is various ways. It seems that not everyone is taught the unbiased truth of what happened during slavery times and the civil war. This correlates to the story since everyone else but Jim was given the virus. Instead, he was given the opportunity to block history, and live his life in a sort of “blissful” ignorance.

Darius Campbell said...

What I found most interesting about this chapter is how Jim was so happy to serve his master. Even though, he knew he was created only because his master no longer had a wife to carry out certain tasks. I feel like this really relates to past slavery in America because there were some slaves that were happy or content with being slaves. This being because their masters would brainwash them into thinking that they should be happy to serve.

Anonymous said...

Rotrisha Epps

What I found most interesting about this first chapter is that it was in the future. Slavery and robots were something interesting to put together. I did like to see the change in Jim and him understanding his role. Maybe it was him growing up. I still find it strange how things are mixed together, but I'm willing to find out their true connection.

Erin Myers said...

Courteona C.:

Me personally I still haven't quite found in The beginning thins fascinating although I can say the focus of the situation with the robots seems like it ties in with social media's perception of how the world will be someday. The content itself isn't bad but as far as speaking upon slaves and the way the robots operate quickly I would love to see where this story goes.

Erin Myers said...

Kaelyn C.:

I feel a bit disturbed by the notion of slaves being likened to robots or vice versa because slaves are usually sentient human beings and not mechanically predisposed objects made for work. I am interested to see how the character arc will delve into exploring whether this notion is correct or if I’m missing a link between the two after all. I feel once we finish the book we’ll almost have a new sense of what is a slave as well.

Oyeyemi Efunkoya said...

The story had different plot and twist, at some point it started to sound like the master didn't really care about his invention which was the robot. But has I continued to read it, it got to a point i was disturbed about the robots looking like slaves because it will be a huge advantages to the white rich folks. Which will make them see the software/ program packed installed in the robot. My problem is why do they have to make the robot look black? But anyways it got interesting towards the end, the master helping by releasing a virus which helps other robot see the reality, while the master's robot wasn't part. The masters robot was the most obedient one.

Mahlik G said...

I found it interesting that Jim is able to identify and recall the happenings of the Riffs and their revolt, but isn't able to self-adjust and stop serving the Master. It was said in the text that Jim is able to self-update. To me, it sounds that Jim desires to tap into the virus and turn murderous, though thanks to his "gift," he can't. That was no gift to Jim but a gift to the Master, from the Master. Mahlik G.

Bria Brandon said...

I found it interesting how Jim was so eager and thrilled to serve his master even though his master only created Jim to use him due to the fact that his wife couldn't do the task anymore. This shows brainwashing at its finest, which also exhibits how some slaves use to think back during slavery. Slave masters would try and brainwash slaves into thinking this was God's wanting or doing, how their purpose in life was to serve their masters and how slaves should enjoy doing so. This relates so much to Jim because he is too a victim of brainwashing! When in reality being a slave is not enjoyable, having freedom is but Jim was brainwashed to think otherwise which relates back to old slavery times.