Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"They"

After responding to Myrthe's comment in the post below, I decided that I wanted to share one quote from Dorothy Allison's essay "A Question of Class."

The first time I heard, "They're different than us, don't value human life the way we do," I was in high school in Central Florida. The man speaking was an army recruiter talking to a bunch of boys, telling them what the army was really like, what they could really expect overseas. A cold angry feeling swept over me. I had heard the word they pronounced in that same callous tone before. They, those people over there, those people who are not us, they die so easily, kill each other casually. They are different. We, I thought. Me.
-Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison is talking about her own experience growing up poor in the U.S. South, but the same language is used to justify oppression and conquest all over the world. This is the language that the U.S. is currently using to justify the War on Terror.

Would it be such an unrealistic dream to change all "theys" to "wes?" Would we finally understand and have compassion for one another as equals if this happened?

2 comments:

Myrthe said...

That is one frightening quote! Thank you for sharing it. I am all for changing 'theys' into 'wes'. That would make for a huge change of perspective.

frida said...

Amen. Again and again. I haven't read that quote before but I have felt it many times. It upsets me so much and it is most of the reason I've left NZ to live and work in Palestine, Afghanistan etc. Thanks for sharing!