Aug 12, 2011

Political Misnomers


Justin: Black American guy

Sewa: Nepali Brahmin girl

Scene: Living room with news on, playing Obama’s speech

Sewa: Are you proud of having an African American president?

Justin: I hate the term African American.

Sewa: Why?

Justin: Come on, why should I be called African American just because I am black? I was born and brought up in America, who cares if my ancestors came from Africa, that was hundreds of years ago. I am not from Africa, if you are calling ME African American, then what will you call the people who are coming from Africa now and settling here?

Sewa: What’s the difference anyways, the new African immigrants are black and you are black. Like look at Obama, his father came from Africa but no one can tell that!

Justin: There's a lot of difference. Not all real Africans are black. There are a lot of white people in Africa, descendants of colonizers. Haven't you seen white cricket players, or football players, from South Africa?

Sewa: Hmm. True. I wonder what those whites feel about Obama, as he is supposed to be the pride of African Americans and everything?

Justin: Which African Americans do you mean? Me, or the new immigrants from Africa?

Sewa: Haha, funny. What do you want to be called then, instead of African American?

Justin: I just want to be called black American. By the way, are there any black people like me in your third world nations?

Sewa: I hate the term third world nations.

Justin: But why? It’s a simple numbering system to identify countries.

Sewa: For starters, where is the second world?

Justin: Oh, those are the countries behind the iron curtain.

Sews: Never heard of a curtain big enough to hide an entire country.

Justin: it’s just a metaphor, silly. It means communist nations. The First World was the United States and its allies, the Second World was the Soviet Union and its allies, and the Third World was the neutral and nonaligned countries. You see it is not a ranking system, those numbers have no meaning.

Sewa: Oh yeah, if the numbers don’t have rankings, then why are we third anyways? In Nepal third class automatically means stupid or of low quality. The worst grades in school are called third division, and the worst taste in anything is called third class. IS IT A COINCIDENCE THAT WE ARE NAMED THIRD WORLD? WHY IS IT ONLY USED FOR COUNTRIES WITH POOR ECONOMIC STATUS, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE ALLIED TO? (slightly hysterical by now) IF THE NUMBERING IS RANDOM, THEN WE WANT TO BE THE FIRST WORLD!!! WE CAME FIRST ANYWAYS, ALL HUMANKIND ORIGINATED FROM AFRICA, AND THE OLDEST CIVILIZATIONS WERE FOUND IN ASIA!!!

Justin: Calm down. The politically correct term “developing nations” was invented for people like you who started yelling about such stuff. To be used for people of diverse nations like Nepal, Ethiopia, few countries in the middle east...

Sewa: What is the middle East in the middle of? Where is the rest of it?

Justin: Well, there's near and far east...

Sewa: Near to where? Far from where?

Justin: From Europe of course...Look at the map, everything that lies east of Europe is called East. The nations like Turkey and others are near to Europe and are called near East, and others like China are far from Europe so they are called Far East.

Sewa: That doesn't make sense. I don't live in Europe, why should I use directions meant for Europeans? China is next door to me, why should I call it far? The middle East should be in the middle of something neutral like east east and west east. Or maybe top east and bottom east...

Justin: Phew!!! Never mind, forget middle east. Many of those countries are rich anyways. Some other South Asian people are also from developing nations, like Bhutanese, Sri Lankans, Indians...

Sewa: Which Indians do you mean? The Indians from the country next to Nepal, or the Red Indians of America?

Justin: Haha, it is all Columbus's fault. The bungler landed in America and thought he was in India. After that, everybody calls Native Americans “Indians”.

Sewa: Sure, blame it on poor Columbus. Why are you guys intent on giving foreign names to your natives anyways?

Justin: Yea right, blame it on us, do you have any better terms for your natives?

Sewa: We call them backward castes.

Justin: Why? Do they walk backwards?

Sewa: No, because they are left behind in the race to progress. It’s supposed to be an improvement over terms like scheduled castes….

Justin: What do you mean scheduled? Do they have strict daily schedules?

Sewa: Phew! No, the British listed a few Indian tribes in a schedule, that's why they came to be called so! In Nepal we call them dalit which means downtrodden. But many people dislike the term and prefer to use "indigenous people".

Justin: But you still call them downtrodden? That means you continue to tread over them.

Sewa: Of course not! I never trod on anybody, it’s not a literal term.

Justin: Yeah, right! Who are you kidding, Brahman lady?

Sewa: Shut up African!



Anonymous said...

Sewa, this is a great post, as usual. But your note at the end caught my attention. It doesn't mean much if TKP rejected this, except perhaps that they know no shit and instead rely on the much easier option of nepotism or stupidity for making their judgment. A few years ago, I sent a lot of things to them and they neither responded to me nor picked one to publish--but I have always seen far less significant stuff by their own people for a long time. It means nothing when they "reject" a submission.

sewa said...

Thank you for your comment anonymous. TKP has actually been nice to me so far by publishing a few of my articles. The dialogues in this one, i guess, dd not fit their format! Thank you for your support :)

Sulochan Dhungel said...

Hi Sewa ... I enjoy reading your posts. This one was interesting but the characters seemed annoyed at each other which made the reading not as enjoyable as your other writings...

sewa said...

hahaha thanks for the comment sulochan, ma bhawishyama patraharuko sauhardrata lai pakkai dhyan dinchhu :)

mahesh said...

Sewa: We call them backward castes.

Justin: Why? Do they walk backwards?

Interesting. I like Justin's part.

Anonymous said...

this is the guy mentioned in the post i did not know u were gonna post it lol but its cool i hope i opened youre mind as u have done for me babe

~ bhoowan ~ said...

यती सुन्दर कल्पनामा कसरी खेल्ने होला ! जे लेखे पनि फुर्क्याईहाल्नु भन्ने होइन, तर यो साँच्चै दमदार छ !

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