City Paper is not for tourists
I FOUND “COLOR BLIND” (1/27) to contain fascinating analysis of American society and its language. As I read, I began to highlight new words and terms, the true meaning of which I had not been aware:
“The “brown bag’ test of color”; “mulatto, octoroon, or quadroon, depending on the amount of cream that spilled into the coffee”; “field nigger/house nigger”; “café au lait”; “high yella”; “nadinola girls.” (This last one finally did it to me. I tried to find it in my dictionary and it isn’t there.)
As I saw these terms’ context, I began to realize the level of anger that they express. Perhaps 400 years of anger are sewed into each and every syllable of these remarks. That language expresses what is held in a soul of hatred and passed on through the generations.
I offer that you need to trivialize these terms. You need to start laughing about them. Because if you do not, that hatred will eat you up. You can look all over this world and you will not find one living soul who enslaved your great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. These people are dead and you cannot take it out on them. Don’t bother taking it out on me because I had nothing to do with it. And stop taking it out on each other.
Now let’s start laughing. Laugh at me for a while. Some think I’m a white American. But I look in the mirror and I see that my ears are actually a little pink. I think I should be called a pink American. No, my backside is bone-white. Call me a butt-white pink-eared American.
Some think I’m European-American. Let’s get specific. My mother’s parents immigrated from Italy. My father’s mother is mostly Hungarian, but immigrated from Czechoslovakia, and his father is mostly Slovakian, although my father’s grandfather was born in what was then Poland. I think I should be called an Italian-Hungarian-Slovakian-maybe-Polish-American, just so there is no doubt. My gosh, my wife’s from Belgium. My kids will need four lines on their driver’s licenses just to identify where they fit into our society.
I hope you are getting my point. Let’s just drop all the prefixes. They’re ridiculous.
Germantown, Md., via the Internet