It’s usually in sixth grade that our English and History books start mentioning the word ‘nigger’. I admit, before I knew what it meant, and that it was another stupid scheme the world once followed, I had wanted to name my dog that. Too bad that word was horribly inappropriate for a golden Labrador in the twenty-first century.
Anyway, slowly I understood how it was just another round of craziness, and the fact that there were so many movements and they seemed so complete, that felt better. Good that the worst was over by the time I could read about it. I still see the dying aftereffects, but as I said, dying.
I have been reading literature and case studies since, of related crimes, related events, and specially those incidents of discrimination that dotted religion. Religion I find, seeps into every single insane issue, though I don’t say religion itself is insane.
Today, I am posting a poem I found some time back, and how it makes one laugh on no laughing matter. A thing as simple as this, as ironical even, and yet so vulgar.
Dear white fella
When I born, I black
When I grow up, I black
When I go in sun, I black
When I cold, I black
When scared, I black
When I sick, I black
And when I die, I still black
You white fella
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you grey
And you have the cheek to call ME coloured???
So… we have all gone totally mushy on the new born baby, with our shoo shweeettts and baby-voices. We love their scent, their pink-ness. But the man’s got a point. The black kids don’t act like rainbows! Why the hell are they coloured? And I won’t even begin with what that implies to the white race- are they transparent or something that they make coloured seem like shame? I wonder what racists will have to say about me then. I was born white, turned red the next day and since then, have been nothing short of wheatish. And now, as in today, I can show you three different skin shades on my arm. I can really drive racists crazy! They’ll have to make a whole new class for me!
Just what do they find so appealing in that tone of colour? If I was retaliating, I would have called it pale. Where’s the pride? But what I don’t get is how one skin colour can say they’re the ‘normal’ ones and that darker shades are defiled? I don’t know… I would prefer the darker ones… Don’t have to mess with sunscreens.
Exactly my point. You got to take care of sunburns, of rashes, of all sorts of pigment problems showing on your skin! In one picture you’re tanned, in one you’re Snow White. Where’s the normal-ness in that?
I particularly love this part. So, when people are cold, they often go pale, and the skin gets pulled taut. So with black people, it would look like a heroic face… see, dark skin in the middle of white expanses will only glow, certainly much better than white faces that look like they came right out of icebergs. I don’t have anything against black or white people. It’s just that the white, I realised, must look so different so often!
Now how do you describe that? 🙂 Even at my skin colour, being ill is a pain. The nose goes red and the rest of me is yellow! Perfect time to imagine alien deformations! I only wonder what happens to everyone else in times of severe ailments, the ones that drain the blood from the face.
I love that picture. I also love the fact that that’s not really the truth because I could never sympathise with ill people then! How could you stop laughing? That’s like Martians crossed with ugly weeds!
At the time of death, I know no one cares about skin tone. Yet I have heard of those places where they ready the body and I suspect they do powder the person. For me, when the casket (is that what’s it called?) is brought before the burial ceremony, the person, in his suit and polished face, looks more living than ever. I must be setting off more people by the minute. I have seen the smartest of people believe in this racial set up like it’s a gospel truth, and have stained many relationships by showing them I don’t agree. But when I see a dead body in a casket, I actually don’t see black or white (or grey according to the poem), I see calm and readiness. I don’t know yet for what, but it’s like the peace before the ultimate event. I guess they do call passing out from this world the ultimate passing. I wonder if there are colour-coded channels for that.