Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Happy birthday Da! While up in Vilankulos, one day we were all sitting at tables in the shade at the backpacker’s hostel just reading and playing cards. There were two Mozambican men sitting at another table and one of them yelled to their friend to get his attention (in English) “hey my N*****.” I was appalled and turned to my friends to see if they had heard it too. Then they did it again a few minutes later and I must have obviously reacted because they asked us why we didn’t like when they did that. Trying to explain 200 years of culture, events, and history in a language you are still learning is really difficult. We tried relating it to apartheid in South Africa which made a bit of a connection. They said that a black American Peace Corps Volunteer from a few years ago had actually taught them to say that. They asked if it was the kind of word that whites can’t say to blacks but that blacks can say to each other. I said that in America blacks do say it to each other sometimes, but that I personally didn’t think anyone should use it because of all the negative connotations it holds. And I told them that especially since they aren’t American and so don’t really have the experiences and knowledge to make the decision for themselves whether or not they want to use that word, I don’t think they should. It makes me really angry that a PCV would teach people that who have no understanding of all the history behind that word.