Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anger and Peace

Right off the bat I want to let you know this post mentions a little about politics.  I try not to say my opinion one way or the other on this topic.  I hope I do a good job, if not then please write your local congressman / senate representative.

I had a little confrontation with one of the sisters.  I don’t know why but Haitians can ask some very tough questions.  Questions that leave you wondering; are you serious? 

Sr. Martha is the embodiment of habit-wearing, phd-having, nun-awesomeness.  Teaching theology to students in Haiti is only a ¼ time job for her.   Being highly educated, she spends the rest of her time in Rome teaching “formation” which is the process by which a woman becomes a nun.  Above all else she is humorous about and considerate!  Example, after Joyce left she moved MY seat over to her table while I was up getting food so I wouldn’t sit alone,  did I mention she is awesome?

We were having a civil discussion about Obama.  I told her that he had made a lot of promises that have not been kept (like every president).  We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan and we have a brand new Health Care Bill that is just too long (read it here).  But I also said I can see him trying. 

Side Note: Senate Bill and Reconciliation Package. You can read it yourself if you don't think it's a little long!

Both Lincoln and Napoleon were people who were trying, and I’ve yet to see where he is going.  I never once said one way or another that I did or didn't like him.

How could anyone hate this guy cuz he's black?
Sr. Mary Karmel comes into the kitchen from another room and asks me “Ou pa remnem Obama paske li nwa?” (you don’t like Obama because he is black?)  If I wasn’t so angry at the time I would have said something funny and deflected the question, making her look stupid.  But anger has this way of seeping into every fiber of my being and making me seize up.

Well at the time I didn’t know how angry I was.  I don’t know what I said after, “You do not ask an American that!  You say that to an American and you are insulting them.”  I forget the rest but she left before too long.  I guess everyone else in the room knew how angry I was before I did.

But seriously, how dare she?  How dare she ask me if I am a racist?  How could one of my “friends” here at the convent think I was a racist?  On top of that it was one of the OTHER sisters who told her about the conversation that was happening in the kitchen!

Sr. Martha still in the kitchen with me allowed me to explain that we DO have racists in America.  We have people who judge others based on skin color.  America has history there and it is not pretty.  Yet I managed to explain this all to Sr. Martha and even did it in a calm voice.

I had recently talked to Joyce about the exact same thing.  The kids said that she liked Rosemellie best because of her lighter complexion.  I didn’t even know Canadians were allowed to say the word racist!

I almost didn’t go down and play with the kids that night, but I’m glad I did.

When I got down there they were playing, “American Idol.”  I walked in the doors and was immediately escorted to a seat.  I passed a line of girls “waiting to sing.”  I use the term line loosly…  Haitians haven’t quite mastered the art of line standing.

The girl who was singing stood in the middle of a large circle.  I guess that was the stage.  Even when a girl messed up the attitude was jovial.  Yet, I could still tell the girls who got up had a lot of gusto.  There was no music, there was no clapping; they just got up and sang.  If they sucked they heard the laughter before the judges got to them. 

The judges seemed to single out girls who sang in English.  Mostly because they forgot their words but it was still brutal.  One girl chose to sing Michael Jackson, big mistake!  But all in all it was a blast to hang with the girls.  It was nice to get a chill pill.

I’ll talk to Sr. Mary Karmel but not today. 


  1. You're right: "racist" is a bad word in Canada. The R-word, we call it. =P

    Yes, being accused of racism can be biting. You almost want to ask them, "Why would I be in Haiti then?!" *sigh*

    Bon courage! (Bon kouwaj?)

  2. You'd think that as part of her experiences in Rome she'd have learned not to launch ad hominem attacks. What an uncharitable and obtuse way to end a conversation on an issue!