Marilyn Dumont Oct 9, 2008 2:40:32 GMT 2
Post by louisa on Oct 9, 2008 2:40:32 GMT 2
Her ears stung and she shook, fearful of the other words like fists that would follow. For a moment, her spirit drained like water from a basin. But she breathed and drew inside her fierce face and screamed till his image disappeared like vapour.
Indian women know all too well the power of the word squaw. I first heard it from my mother, who used it in anger against another Indian woman.'That black squaw,' she rasped. As a young girl, I held the image of that woman in my mind and she became the measure of what I should never be.
I learned I should never be seen drunk in public, nor should I dress provocatively, because these would be irrefutable signs. So as a teenager I avoided red lipstick, never wore my skirts too short or too tight, never chose shoes that looked the least 'hooker-like.' I never moved in ways that might be interpreted as loose. Instead, I became what Jean Rhys phrased, 'aggressively respectable.' I'd be so god-damned respectable that white people would feel slovenly in my presence.
squaw is to whore
Indian maiden is to virgin
squaw is to whore
Indian Princess is to lady
I would become the Indian princess, not the squaw dragging her soul after laundry, meals, needy kids and abusive husbands. These were my choices. I could react naturally, spontaneuosly to my puberty, my newly discovered sexuality or I could be mindful of the squaw whose presence hounded my every choice.
a man who is seen with lives and laughs with a squaw.
a man is a man is whiteman until
he is a squaw he is a squaw he is a squawman.
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