Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hard To Be You

Hard To Be You

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD - Up here, you will often hear, ‘It’s hard to be Indian.’ It’s true, it’s hard to be an Indian, despite the inexplicable fascination held by Germans and claimants as descendants of the Cherokee Princess.

It looks different up close. “It’s beyond dysfunction,” said Deb Cook at her kitchen table near Oglala. "It's beyond Prozac."

On the back way over to the internet cafe shop through the speed-bump-regulated streets of Crazy Horse housing, I studied the homes. No, they all weren’t run-down and trashed out. You could see some of the people were trying with trees and bushes. But the overall impression was run-down and trashed out, reflective of the village as a hole, the districts, and the overall reservation.

These were the hard-core, steeped in poverty, these Indians. Dead-end streets for their kids.

And then, it would be hard to be Mexican, too. Lupe’ can tell you all about it. He just did a 39-day stretch at the local facility. And it’s hard to live as a black man, all over the world, even at home, in Africa, and Chinese experience low-grade antagonism wherever they go, and white folks say it’s hard to be them, too.

So, so what?

Is it hard to be you, locked inside a color, locked inside a race? There’s nothing special about it. It’s hard to be anybody.