International Educator - May/June 2012 - 128
InternatIonal educator M AY + J U N E . 12
Braids in Beijing
THOUGHT THAT BRAIDS WERE A COMMON HAIRSTYLE until I got to China. Whenever I go out, I always have to put up with crowds of people who want to feel my hair or take pictures with me because I am both black and can speak in Chinese. These pictures are from a recent summer trip to the Summer Palace in Beijing. Some prefer to send their children to ask for photos; others “lie in wait” and spring out of a bush to ask for a photo. At times, I'm sure I have been photographed without noticing. I dislike the attention, and at times, I wonder what these people are going to use the photos for. At first, I found their behavior to be racist (because it is based on skin color), and I would get really offended if someone asked to take a photo with me. I do not mind that much anymore because with the question “Is this your real hair?” comes the question “Where are you from?” And it makes me smile that the first Zimbabwean these people have encountered is one who they consider to be a remarkable one. IE
SENZENI MPOFU, a zimbabwean student, is a sophomore at yale university.
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