*I decided to go back through the readings we have previously covered; and discovered the poem “Can You Talk Mexican” from Our Feel Walk the Sky by Amita Vasudeva. Since we didn’t really cover much of the poetry that we read I thought I would cover this poem myself.
This poem is short, but I believe it carries a lot of emotion throughout it;
“Can you talk Mexican?”
They use to ask me.
“No, I’m not Mexican I’m Indian, and besides they speak Spanish,”
I use to reply, waiting listlessly for their best
Attempt at doing a “rain dance”
“Owwow ohh o wow.” Smacking outstretched palms to their little
mouths and hopping around.
“Not THAT kind of Indian – Indian from India,”
I would correct, as soon as they finished whooping.
“Oh … Can you talk Indian?”
The image I receive when I read this poem is an older white male having a conversation with a young Indian woman. I believe I have an image of a white person because mpst whites are less knowledgeable of ethnicity, and the only explanation I have for it being a male is in my experiences males seem less interested in other races outside of their own (Sorry guys). The beginning of the poem gives me an uneasy feeling, due to the ignorance that is stated. I believe it sets up the feeling for the rest of the poem.
When I read the dialog of the poem the person asking the questions seems to be oblivious to their own unawareness of ethnicities. They seem almost like a child with the innocence of asking offensive questions. The person answering the questions had an underlying feeling of frustration, embarrassment, and pity towards the other person. Frustration seems to be the tone of the response, “No, I’m not Mexican I’m Indian, and besides they speak Spanish,” Embarrassment I believe is what they are feeling watching the other person is acting out a chant and hopping around, imitating a “rain dance”. Pity comes from their last question without even a response I feel this pity arise “Oh … Can you talk Indian?” After correcting the talking Mexican comment the person still didn’t realize their mistake and repeated it with the talking Indian.
The poem as a whole can be summed up into one life lesson, “Think before you Speak”. This poem is life lesson for me, I am a victim of not thinking thoroughly before I speak, yet I have never had a situation like this I would never want to be thought of “that” girl that is uneducated and rude.