My Prius C blue car has been scraped in the parking lot a couple of times, once when the perpetrator at a local hotel did not even bother to stop, and I was not able to note down his full plate number, but the scraper was yellow and it left a telltale mark on my hind fender.
My students loved to tell me that they saw my blue car, either while I was driving it, or when it was parked in the school parking lot. I said that, my yellow car has a streak of blue from the scrape of another car. For a while, the students were adamant that the car was blue but the frequency of my repetition took hold and before I knew it, the students were referring to Mr. V’s yellow car.
More than the power of suggestion, it was also the power of authority as Mr. V said it is yellow, so it must be yellow. It was terrifying to note the implication of this discovery to the learning proclivity of my class. Their minds were so pliant that a teacher could very well just decide to lead them down the path of imagination and unreality.
No surprise on how this thing came about. The Wehrmacht of Germany, for instance, took the discipline of the nation and grab an ancient notion of Aryan supremacy in Persia that began when Zoroaster divided reality into good and evil. Strangers and foreigners were bad, and the black Africans were definitely inferior to the glories of the Aryan race, a notion that the darling of social Darwinism, seeing the apex of evolution in the lilywhite color of the skin.
We’ve said this many times before. The discovery that chemical skin whitener was the best selling pharmacy item in Sinosphere, stunned. Yes, I am clear about racial “prejudice” and the lighter skin is preferred in many cultures, but skin whitener among the yellow skinned?
It has not been a century since the Nuremberg “Seig Heil” and the swastika banner draped movie screens but the frenzy shown in that spectacle is baffling to the mind. A picture of “Achtung” with the arm extended out front was once shown with a single person not following the command, later vilified and shunned, probably accused of being a “Jew.” The whole German nation was mesmerized by an Austrian corporal’s message that Teutons were a superior race, and the scheming Jewish capitalists and intellectuals were the rats on earth.
I lived in the outskirts of Washington, D.C. in the ’90s and one of my Vienna neighbors was the National Rifle Association, a powerful lobby in Congress that had nothing to do with gun control. The right to bear arms was guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, it was claimed, and no foreign or alien Commie can convince the faithful otherwise.
I attended theology school in Dallas in the late ’60s, and one of my commuting classmates who had a pastorate in a small Texas town outside of the city came to school on weekdays in his pick-up and a hunting rifle proudly displayed on his back windshield. He had other guns, of course, which he delighted to show us “aliens” so that we do not mess around with the natives lest we get bored with a bullet hole.
Oh, we were in no danger of getting shot at but the otherwise pleasant older fellow was in earnest about his guns (the rapid automatic was a prized possession) and adamant that the homeland and the women needed to be protected from “foreigners.” My being a guest in the land, along with the rest of the token foreign students, was more tolerated than welcomed. I was one of the increasing number of foreigners (Kennedy opened the flood gates in ’63); I rode the Greyhound in ’65 from Sacramento to Lexington, KY via Chicago. I alarmed many, and those of us we used our brains were more suspect than others. Definitely, we were a threat to the Aryan way of life, American style. We were made to understand that we were watched over rather than related to in a friendly embrace. The white cowpokes were nothing but superior to the lot.
Which is my roundabout way of saying that my first car was a compact, and it was colored “yellow.” My blue car on Saipan with the yellow streak to my students was yellow. I was dark skinned and the Latinos from the Hispanic influence across the Rio Grande were my cousins. My name, after all, was in Spanish. And I was definitely “yellow.”
I later drove a blue VW square back sedan but it didn’t matter. I was still yellow, and that did not refer to the color of my skin.
The car is a status symbol among many cultures in the Far East. The loudness of the exhaust pipe’s V-room was the measure of one’s importance and potency.
I transited in Nauru many times and mined out phosphates were covered with trash where locals raced their 1100 cc motorbikes brought back from Japan on the empty containers. The winner took over ownership of the losing members’ motors. The Japanese ships brought fresh potable water, with the bikes the consolation of parties in both government and those who those who stayed to mind the phosphate.
My Kawasaki in Cebu was 275 cc. It was blue but I was yellow.