Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Overheard At Parent/Toddler Drop-In

His words, asked in a friendly tone but with no "hello" or introduction or chitchat or preamble or "How old are your little ones?", to a woman speaking Spanish: Are you speaking Arabic?

What he actually meant: You are speaking not-English-not-French. I have no knowledge of languages to inform my guess but I really need to categorize you and you kind of look like an Arab to me. Are you an Arab?

She answered.

His very next line: You're not from Sudbury, are you?

What he meant: Your language and skin colour mark you as Other and there aren't too many Others around here (not to mention that my whiteness means I don't tend to incorporate those that are into my mental construction of "here"). Your presence disrupts in a small way my expectations for my city, my place of belonging, and I wish to obtain at least some minimal narrative to reconcile this discontinuity in my world, even if doing so treats you as interesting solely becasue of the markers of not-belonging that embody your placement in structures of oppression, and even if doing so treats you as a phenomenon which needs to be explained rather than as someone to be engaged with as a whole person. So please put some work into making my world make sense again.

She answered very briefly. Each spoke another line or two as a form of uncomfortable disengagement and the conversation ended.

2 comments:

Cupis Maris said...

Hey dude,

Inyour brief bio you said you moved to L.A. in May 2004 "for a little while" or something like that. Did you go back to where you came from yet? regards,

Cupis maris from L.A.

Scott said...

Oops...good point...I haven't updated that bio yet. I moved away from LA in July 2005...not exactly back to where I came from, but in the same general area of the continent.