sticks and stones

Missing Duck, Goat Farm, France © Jim Korpi

They may not break my bones, these names, but they hurt.

Lately I’ve been haunted by the name wasichu (pronounced wah-she-chew). It is Lakota for “non-native” but has come to mean greedy, or “the one who takes the best meat for himself.”

My plate is full of meat, and I sit across from a Bengali whose tray has broth with few vegetables and a piece of bread. He sops up his broth, drinks his glass of steaming water, and makes his way to a job likely to last late into the night.

In the stores of Saudi one can buy soap for “skin whitening” or lotion with “skin bleaching agents.” I’ve gone from a town in Ohio with more than five tanning salons to a place where people are doing everything they can to look white.

Whites want to look dark to give the impression they’ve vacationed some place with a beach and had little to do but relax in the sun. Others bleach their skin to make it appear as though they are not the peasants in the field laboring. Both groups aim for the illusion of those privileged with leisure.

Martin Luther King Jr. hoped for a day when his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” When will this day come?

Posted December 9th, 2011 in Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , .

One comment:

  1. Pops:

    When will this day come? Good question..will it ever come? Seems like it has been this way forever. Looks like it is this way everywhere. I have no answers. We all started this venture in the same way, we are all of the same mass. So when will this day come? Someday I Hope…

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