‘Enid Blyton?’ The librarian frowned at me. ‘No, we don’t have any books by her (or likes of her) in this Library. After all, this is a public library, you know. Funded by people’s funds.’
I struggled to understand the impact of this statement. My friends and I grew up on the adventures of Secret Seven, followed by Famous Five and then Five Find-outers – all by our favourite author – Ms. Enid Blyton. Of course, before Secret Seven, there were many other delightful stories by the same author – Fairy tales, Magic Wands (oh, much before Harry Potter!) We had nothing to do except let the words caress and tickle our minds, enchant us and at the same time build our characters. But that was in India – a supposedly under-developed country. What do (East) Indians know, eh?
But here, in Canada – a member of G8 and what not – Ms. Blyton was branded a racist. And the reason for the branding? All her characters who were mean or stupid (Golliwog?) were black. Wow! We never made that connection – till we were in Canada. Our young minds were never corrupted to think that if you are not white in colour, you could be stupid – and that you are stupid because you are not white in colour! Fantastic! Give a dog a bad name, and hang him!
And I continued my journey towards enlightenment. Whoever speaks that there is no place for politics in life – has never understood the deep and far reaching impact of the phrase ‘politically correct’. As a new immigrant to Canada – this truth was brought home to me again, and again, and then again. It was no more ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ – it’s politically incorrect. You say ‘HAPPY HOLIDAYS’ – and whole bunch of tweaking was required by my family before I could be taken out in the ‘real’ world! The truth in the statement which I used for my children was applied to me repeatedly – “You can dress him, but can never take him out”.
The gaffs galore – but this is not about me. It’s about today’s situation. The childhood nursery rhyme – Baa, Baa Black Sheep – is no longer correct. It is changed to “Baa, Baa Rainbow Sheep”. Though black is beautiful – it is not politically correct! What? You don’t believe me? Search it on google! And you’ll find it….
Yet – the only place the word ‘BLACK’ is used prominently – and without raising a single eyebrow – anywhere in North America – is the ‘BLACK FRIDAY’ sale. I wonder how this has remained unchallenged. Something or someone gotta give! I foresee the future advertisements –
“ GRAND RAINBOW FRIDAY SALES!”
But why limit it to the word ‘Black’ only. Why not go a step further and ban the word Friday. After all Man Friday was a slave. And the word is a no-no in a civilized world. I repeat only the word is a no-no. The act of having slaves or treating your underlings as nothing better than slaves continues to date. The position of working class is no better than what it was before. Au contraire! In the past, in the golden days of slavery, the masters used to give mandatory 8 hours break, and used to provide food and housing. And permit you to do what you wanted to do – in your break time. In current corporate culture – you are enslaved 24 hours a day / seven days a week and 365 (or 366 in case of leap year) days of the year. The employer knows all, and expects things from her underlings. She also takes interest in what you eat, how much you eat, and all. Your life is no more private – after all you are working for a big corporation, and making mega bucks. So he gobbles up hook, line and sinker – and no regrets. ‘Mega bucks’ takes care of everything! And remember the Big Brother is watching.
“I am a big lover of coffee – and I have always have it BLACK!” Now, is this a racist comment? Not if you are a Barista (euphemism for a server – in ordinary fast food joints, you have a server; whereas in high-end (?), the old wine is christened as Barista) – and everyone is clamouring for BLACK. Hmmm….I wonder when the Politically Correct People will start insisting that the Black Coffee be called a Rainbow Coffee or a VIBGYOR coffee! One day!
So also shall we have a “Rainbow Comedy”? For a black comedy would definitely be derogative to the colour black, the comedy refers to satire and deals with subjects that are usually taboo. So to use the phrase “black comedy” is very, very, very politically incorrect. Don’t you agree?
And all the political and business bigwigs will have to modify their statements. Now they have their ‘rainbow money’ stashed in Swiss and other offshore banks! Wow – the opportunities galore. I am sure a reader will definitely be able to come up with many more politically correct use of ‘rainbow’ instead of ‘black’
So – to conclude – the word ‘black’ should be removed from the dictionary – it’s totally not required in this politically correct world. Similar words which smack of racism, either directly or perceived – should immediately be banned. May be our future dictionary will have only one word “Rainbow” – which definitely will make William Wordsworth proud.
And I continue to recite (much to the consternation of my grown up children) my favourite poem by William Wordsworth:
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
And Shakespeare in me would like to add:
‘Black by any other name, will always remain black’ – FOR BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!
February 19, 2016
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