Thursday, March 27, 2008

i-TFTD #107: Colored

When I born, I Black,
When I grow up, I Black,
When I go in sun, I Black,
When I scared, I Black,
When I sick, I Black,
And when I die, I still Black...

And you, white fella...

When you born, you Pink,
When you grow up, you White,
When you go in sun, you Red,
When you cold, you Blue,
When you scared, you Yellow,
When you sick, you Green,
And when you die, you Gray...

And you call me Colored?

(Some sites say this is an award-winning poem written by an African kid but other sites attribute different origins.)

The humour and the irony is immediately noticeable. It also makes us wonder about the ability of language to reveal prejudice and to sustain it. Dominant cultures attribute qualities to colors and transfer it to people with skins in those colors. Even the most liberal-minded amongst us may unknowingly be influenced by such bias as described by
Malcolm Gladwell in his book, "Blink". He also points to the Harvard site containing implicit association tests that can uncover this. Try it, it's spooky. They also have India-flavoured tests there.

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