at the airport

Posted on December 2, 2010


After sleeping through my alarm and missing my flight to Maui this morning at 5am and moving a million miles a minute and in a thousand different directions to get my stuff together, get through the traffic and to the airport for the next flight I could get on, one thing made me step back, slow down, and take a look at what’s going on around me: the way people were looking at me. It didn’t even register at first, but in my mad dash out the door I threw on a pair of pink pinstriped slacks, my knit pink beanie and the first shirt that would match: my pink “amma” shirt as I call it. It reads

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

It’s written in a font that looks like sandskrit. It’s a peace prayer that means “may all beings in all the words be happy” and it’s one of my favorite shirts. But I think it’s seriously freaking some people out. I had various groups of people stop their conversations as I walked past them, people staring with dirty looks and people looking just plain confused, like who is this tiny haole girl in slacks and heels with a shirt with arabic-looking language on it????

And then it made me think once again… why the HELL are we as a global society and definitely as americans ostracizing and stereotyping a HUGE population of the worlds people -and subsequently their culture- based on the extreme actions of a minority of said population? (obviously there are reasons… like the fact that we want to colonize other parts of the world with natural resources that we want to get our hands on, and the best way to do so – historically speaking – is by villainizing those people, making them subhuman in some way so we can do as we please). Especially when in conjunction with that we have white people who get incredibly offended when we are stereotyped as oppressive, which is way more true.  White people and americans especially have centuries-long histories of being oppressive to people of color (genocide, slavery, jim crow laws, the current wage gap, unemployment rates, racial profiling, the list goes on and on) It is more probable that a white person will be oppressive (unintentionally or otherwise) than an indian or middle eastern person will be a “terrorist”…

Just thoughts as I’m gettin on a plane with my white privilege and my sandskrit shirt. Both/And.