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Friday, August 15, 2008

Alternatives to the Statue of Liberty

In some of my reading in the past year I came across the revelation (duh!) that the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island has her arms open wide to Europe, but her back turned to Native Americans, Latin Americans and Asians, and not exacting addressing head-on the Africans to her right. So I came across the scrawled notes I made in a moment of my own revelation (or insanity, you judge):

If Lady Liberty only represents the European experience in America, who might best represent others' experience (as it has been, not as we would like to think it to have been)?

Jus-Trus-Tus Man at Jamestown, VA facing inland: a white Englishman with a mischievous smile and wampum and pipe and a pen extended to sign the treaty at his feet.

Aunt JeMine-now and Don Forgetit at Charleston, SC facing ESE: large black woman in scarf and apron on one knee, with white man hovering over her, whip at his side, eyes leering.

Senor (with the curly thing over the "n") Sorryboutdat at Brownsville, TX facing SSW: stereotypical Mexican in Sombrero with smile and hands pulling empty pockets inside out, hunching his shoulders as if to say "What can I do about it?" while holding redrawn map of Mexico, with top 40% (N. of Rio Grande) Xed out.

Coolie CmonGedout CmonGedout in San Francisco Bay, CA, facing W: flimsey cardboard figure, crouched, hands on knees, leaning inland or out toward the sea, depending on which way the win is blowing.

And the latest addition, since 9/11 (the problem was there much earlier, but not brought to the "Park Service"'s attention until then): Mister Y.R.U. Heer Muslindoo in Washington DC: South Asian or Middle Eastern-looking (they're indistinguishable to most whites' eyes anyway) with ripped up Koran and Hindu sacred texts, along with denied passports and terrorist lists, at his feet

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