Thursday, March 14, 2013

watch your language

The natives are restless.
They were on the war path.
It was a war party.
Get out the war paint.

The kids in play group today were nuts. Spring fever was in full swing, and what they lacked in numbers they made up for in decibels and in mileage tracked around the room. Everyone had fun and no one got hurt--success!--but the screeching was so persistent that many of us moms, sitting on the few adult-sized chairs to the side with our little ones tucked cautiously around us, felt the need to comment. Other than one reference to "banchees," all of the comments, like the ones above, referenced American Indians.  The thought struck me with a bit of horror at how casually such racists comments--linking Indians with wildness--tucked themselves into our language.

"How racist," I commented to a friend after I noticed the connection.

"No it's not," she said. "They could be natives of anywhere."

If not racist, let's go with "patronizingly colonialist," shall we?

So now I need a new description, because there's still plenty of snow on the ground and those kids won't be able to run outside any time soon. A mechanical metaphor, perhaps? Something to do with springs, slinkies, or wound-up gears?

No comments:

Post a Comment