unpacking the past

I’ve got a new essay up at Hunger Mountain—here’s a short excerpt:

Canada is a former British colony, and so I grew up reading (and loving) British “classics.”  Looking back on it now, I am not at all surprised that my fifth-grade teacher would select a seventy-five year old book for her students.  What I cannot forgive is the book’s appalling depiction of “dirty” (yet “shiny”) “savages” who—with their “brown coppery” skin and Afros—just happen to match a description of me at age nine.  Did the video include this tropical scene with drum-beating, wildly dancing natives whose language sounds to the white children like “Oo goggery bag-wag”?

(illustration by HR Millar, from The Phoenix & the Carpet)

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~ by elliottzetta on March 23, 2011.

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