Queen–a woman noted for her beauty and accomplishments.
Quest–a journey in pursuit of a lofty goal.
Maybe The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen should change our name to The Literary Quest of the Traveling Queens.
Okay, maybe not. But, truly, the words we use to define ourselves are important. This past weekend I was lucky enough to travel with my friend and Sister-Queen Jan Morrill to Little Rock Arkansas where we were gifted with the privilege of a guided tour of the work of Wendy Maruyama:Executive Order 9066 at the Arkansas Arts Center.
The wavering towers are the exhibits most striking visual art. These towers are made up of replicas of the 120,000 tags worn by Japanese Americans imprisoned by their own country during WWII. Their own government. That would be America.
But the piece of art that stayed with me, followed me home, was a tiny screen that, at a child’s eye level played an old cartoon that showed a pants-wearing-rodent or perhaps a daffy duck chasing a caricature of a jap. Bucked teeth. Yellow skin. Everyone my age and older carries this war-based image.
A rose by any other name may smell just as sweet, but a little girl or boy is not a rose.
A little girl who hears her father call every woman driver that cuts him off in traffic, every woman who challenges his manhood, or just irritates him in some small way, by a name best reserved for female dogs will carry that identity in her soul her entire life. A girl child who hears joke after joke after joke, her entire life that portrays women as stupid and crazy and good for one thing only, will absorb that opinion.
Any person of color in this country, and most other countries as well, could give me a couple dozen hateful names they carry within them. They may have figured out the alchemy of turning that hate and fear into gold, but the names are still there, peering out at them on bad days.
A rose by any other name may smell just as sweet, but a child called enough names, withers and dies.
Words can be used to make powerful, ugly weapons or beautiful, elegant art.
This has been Queen Pamela bringing you the letter “Q”.