Monday, April 25, 2005

The Little Asian Girl

Today in AP English we continued our discussion of a film called The Color of Fear." The conversation turned to and then orbited around the use of language: Is it racist when somebody refers to Mexican gardeners?

"No, I have Mexican gardeners--that's what they are. It's simply the truth."

"But why do you have to say Mexican? Why not just say gardeners?"

"If somebody said they had a gardener in California, it's most likely they are Mexican. And I garauntee that if anybody here was asked to picture a gardener they would automatically picture a Mexican gardener. So why is bad to say what everybody is thinking?"

And the debate raced on. Then she raised her hand just as the bell rang, and I told the class they had to stop and listen because I already knew what was coming...not the specifics...but the thing which she needed to say and everybody needed to hear.

"When I was a Sophomore two kids were walking behind me and one of them said 'Get out of the way little Asian girl.'" She cried as she tried to find the words. Of course she found them because she had been thinking of them for two years. "What they said was true...I am Asian and I am little. That's the truth. But even though it was true, there was more behind the words. That is what hurt."

She is the best teacher these kids have ever had, speaking of what lies behind the truth, seeing it and finding the courage to speak of this place which is beyond words.


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