Excerpt from “Roots:” A Father’s Advice Regarding Europeans

In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,

“Two tendencies govern human choice and effort, the search after quantity and the search after quality. They classify mankind. Some follow Maat, others seek the way of animal instinct.” — African Proverb

“Roots” is a tremendous epic by Alex Haley who owns the other notable accomplishment of retelling Malcolm X’s autobiography. It begins with the birth and boyhood of Kunta Kinte, son of Omoro and Binta in the town of Juffure in the Gambia. In this excerpt, Omoro tells Kunta and his other son Lamin about the toubob–Europeans. The advice holds true today. Avoid them.

Not everything is told. As the Europeans enslaved so did the Asians and the Asians enslaved brutally, please see the post on Islamic Enslavers. Moreover, a more personal and detailed account on European Slavery can be read in Martin Delany’s “Blake or the Huts of America.” See the corresponding posts (Part 1 and Part 2.)

The above proverb on those who seek quality and quantity is a statement on Race (the African and non-African respectively.) The excerpt reveals how evident the toubob is in his animal instincts (see how he is tracked); the evidence is compelling today too, but many of us have lost the ability to see it. Through Organization alone can we Protect ourselves and Self-Protection is a necessity. Think of the African youth killed or missing in your area for being alone with your enemy who now tactically surrounds you, polices you and miseducates you. Join the African Blood Siblings to make a difference. Donate to keep our Newsletter running.

A Father’s Advice Regarding Europeans
Excerpt from “Roots”
By Alex Haley

The next chance he had, Kunta asked Omoro, “Papa, will you tell me how you and your brothers saw the toubob at the river?” Quickly, he added, “The matter needs to be told correctly to Lamin.” It seemed to Kunta that his father nearly smiled, but Omoro only grunted, evidently not feeling like
talking at that moment. But a few days later, Omoro casually invited both Kunta and Lamin to go with him out beyond the village to collect some roots he needed. It was the naked Lamin’s first walk anywhere with his father, and he was overjoyed. Knowing that Kunta’s influence had brought this about, he held tightly onto the tail of his big brother’s dundiko.

Omoro told his sons that after their manhood training, his two older brothers Janneh and Saloum had left Juffure, and the passing of time brought news of them as well-known travelers in strange and distant places. Their first return home came when drum talk all the way from Juffure told them of the birth of Omoro’s first son. They spent sleepless days and nights on the trail to attend the naming ceremony. And gone from home so long, the brothers joyously embraced some of their kafo mates of boyhood. But those few sadly told of others gone and lost—some in burned villages, some killed by fearsome firesticks, some kidnapped, some missing while farming, hunting, or traveling–and all because of toubob.

Omoro said that his brothers had then angrily asked him to join them on a trip to see what the toubob were doing, to see what might be done. So the three brothers trekked for three days along the banks of the Kamby Bolongo, keeping carefully concealed in the bush, until they found what they were looking for. About twenty great toubob canoes were moored in the river, each big enough that its insides might hold all the people of Juffure, each with a huge white cloth tied by ropes to a tree like pole as tall as ten men. Nearby was an island, and on the island was a fortress.

Many toubob were moving about, and black helpers were with them, both on the fortress and in small
canoes. The small canoes were taking such things as dried indigo, cotton, beeswax, and hides to the big canoes. More terrible than he could describe, however, said Omoro, were the beatings and other cruelties they saw being dealt out to those who had been captured for the toubob to take away.

For several moments, Omoro was quiet, and Kunta sensed that he was pondering something else to tell him. Finally he spoke: “Not as many of our people are being taken away now as then.” When Kunta was a baby, he said, the King of Barra, who ruled this part of The Gambia, had ordered that there would be no more burning of villages with the capturing or killing of all their people. And soon it did stop, after the soldiers of some angry kings had burned the big canoes down to the water, killing all the toubob on board.

“Now,” said Omoro, “nineteen guns are fired in salute to the King of Barra by every toubob canoe entering the Kamby Bolongo.” He said that the King’s personal agents now supplied most of the
people whom the toubob took away–usually criminals or debtors, or anyone convicted for suspicion of plotting against the king–often for little more than whispering. More people seemed to get convicted of crimes, said Omoro, whenever toubob ships sailed in the Kamby Bolongo looking for slaves to buy.

“But even a king cannot stop the stealings of some people from their villages,” Omoro continued. “You have known some of those lost from our village, three from among us just within the past few moons, as you know, and you have heard the drum talk from other villages.” He looked hard at his sons, and spoke slowly. “The things I’m going to tell you now, you must hear with more than your ears for not to do what I say can mean your being stolen away forever!” Kunta and Lamin listened with rising fright. “Never be alone when you can help it,” said Omoro; “Never be out at night when you can help it. And day or night, when you’re alone, keep away from any high weeds or bush if you can avoid it.”

For the rest of their lives, “even when you have come to be men,” said their father, they
must be on guard for toubob. “He often shoots his firesticks which can be heard far off. And wherever you see much smoke away from any villages, it is probably his cooking fires, which are too big. You should closely inspect his signs to learn which way the toubob went. Having much heavier footsteps
than we do, he leaves signs you will recognize as not ours: He breaks twigs and grasses. And when you get close where he has been, you will find that his scent remains there. It’s like a wet chicken smells. And many say a toubob sends forth a nervousness that we can feel. If you feel that, become quiet,
for often he can be detected at some distance. ”

But it’s not enough to know the toubob, said Omoro. “Many of our own people work for him. They are slatee traitors. But without knowing them, there is no way to recognize them. In the bush, therefore, trust no one you don’t know.”

Kunta and Lamin sat frozen with fear. “You cannot be told these things strongly enough,” said their father. “You must know what your uncles and I saw happening to those who had been stolen. It is the
difference between slaves among ourselves and those whom toubob takes away to be slaves for him.” He said that they saw stolen people chained inside long, stout, heavily guarded bamboo pens along the shore of the river. When small canoes brought important-acting toubob from the big canoes, the stolen people were dragged outside their pens onto the sand.

“Their heads had been shaved, and they had been greased until they shined all over. First they were made to squat and jump up and down,” said Omoro. “And then, when the toubob had seen enough of that, they ordered the stolen people’s mouths forced open for their teeth and their throats to be looked at.”

Swiftly, Omoro’s finger touched Kunta’s crotch, and as Kunta jumped, Omoro said, “Then the men’s foto was pulled and looked at. Even the women’s private parts were inspected. ” And the toubob finally made the people squat again and stuck burning hot irons against their backs and shoulders. Then, screaming and struggling, the people were shipped toward the water, where small canoes waited to take them out to the big canoes.

“My brothers and I watched many fall onto their bellies, clawing and eating the sand, as if to get
one last hold and bite of their own home,” said Omoro. “But they were dragged and beaten on.” Even in the small canoes out in the water, he told Kunta and Lamin, some kept fighting against the whips and the clubs until they jumped into the water among terrible long fish with gray backs and white bellies and curved mouths full of thrashing teeth that reddened the water with their blood.

Kunta and Lamin had huddled close to each other, each gripping the other’s hands. “It’s better that
you know these things than that your mother and I kill the white cock one day for you.” Omoro looked at his sons. “Do you know what that means?”

Kunta managed to nod, and found his voice. “When someone is missing, Fa?” He had seen
families frantically chanting to Allah as they squatted around a white cock bleeding and flapping with its throat slit.

“Yes,” said Omoro. “If the white cock dies on its breast, hope remains. But when a white cock flaps to death on its back, then no hope remains, and the whole village joins the family in crying to Allah.”

“Fa”–Lamin’s voice, squeaky with fear, startled Kunta, “where do the big canoes take the stolen people?”

“The elders say to Jong Sang Doo,” said Omoro, “a land where slaves are sold to huge cannibals called toubabo koomi, who eat us. No man knows any more about it.”

6 thoughts on “Excerpt from “Roots:” A Father’s Advice Regarding Europeans

      1. sadly, in some caes, we do not have “family” just (blood)”relatives” who we happen to know, or better yet, “bump” into it

      2. Brother-King,

        “A phenomenon always arises from the interaction of complementary. If you want something look for the complement that will elicit it. Set causes Horus. Horus redeems Set.”

        This situation of blood relatives whom by chance we know and by chance we bump into elicits our seeking of friends. A phenomenon always arises from something. The European who mistreats you pushes you to good treatment of Africans. Nothing is to be regretted, everything one should learn and be grateful for. In the end, if you pursue a life of virtue, you can gain happiness, longevity and Community. So learn, teach, build, win.


  1. Trivia: Every episode of Roots and Roots The Next Generations has at least one sympathetic white character in it. Ed Asner as the conscience-stricken slave ship captain was the first one. My guess is that the writers included these characters in the production to increase the series’ appeal to the broader TV viewing audience. If every white character had been a villain, not as many people would have watched it.

    1. King,

      A phenomenon always arises from the interaction of complementary. If you want something look for the complement that will elicit it. Set causes Horus. Horus redeems Set.

      I have not yet watched Roots in its entirety. From what I watched, which appears to be Chicken George’s story, the European characters always seemed to betray the African; with the exception of the ignorant whipper. I could not tell if less people would watch where every European is a villain, yet in reality, where there is War, everyone of the other Nation is an enemy. A villain? No. One with vices? Not necessarily. But an enemy? Absolutely. Though the ignorant whipper in Roots seemed to be friendly; he still contributed to a Power Structure which kept Africans Powerless and that Powerlessness is what makes Africans victims. And at the end of the day, there’s no African Self-Determination that comes from Europe; much like no Liberated Lion retains anything from Zoo life (he won’t have an exercise ball in the Savannah.)

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