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American Indian English class at UWM. Metanarrative assignment.

 

Prologue

People have come a long way from the early days of the Garden of Eden, wherever and whenever it existed. Humans have become various races following many religions in countless languages. The journey of people from the past through today has been long and often difficult. Wars and unhappiness have plagued people ever since time began.

We fight for many reasons. Sometimes we want to protect what is ours; sometimes we want what is someone else’s. We might fight to win the love of a woman or just to show someone who’s right. Most of all, fighting involves the issue of power.

The people with the most power are thought to be the happiest. They have more of what everyone else wants. Power can give us money, toys, servants, and the best of whatever is desired. The quest for power is so dear to us that we use whatever means possible in order to feel more powerful.

The perceived flaws of others give many people the feeling of being more powerful. A man might feel superior to a female because he is better at baseball. A white man may claim that he is smarter than a black man. We might enforce negative stereotypes about others in order for us to seem better than them.

Stereotypes are easier to identify when the person that we put down has perceivable differences. We can see when someone has darker skin or blonde hair. We can hear how people with foreign accents talk. A homeless person might smell bad and wear tattered clothing. We can see women who complain and men who just don’t care. We never look deep enough, though.

People should look at themselves in order to avoid hurting others. “Who are you?” is always a good question to ask while gazing into a mirror. Self-inspection may not change the world, but we might realize that who we are is completely dependent on who everyone else is.

1.

When the beginning came, all people had the same skin color. Nobody knew any different. A young man named Solan decided that he wanted to be as powerful and bright as Father Sun. One night he asked Moon what made the sun so powerful. Moon replied, “In order to be as powerful as Sun, you must hide from him, like I do. See how bright I am when Sun goes to sleep? You must flee from his brightness, and cover yourself wherever he shines.”

Solan decided to flee from the bright place where he lived. He walked for many years, but he was only able to put an arm’s length distance between himself and Father Sun. All of the clothing he wore to hide himself was very heavy, so he took it all off and questioned Moon one night. “Why have you made me leave my home?” he demanded. “I am no more powerful than before, and I am not even as bright as you.”

Moon was angry at Solan for questioning him. He said nothing to Solan that night and left the man to figure everything out in the morning. The morning was very cold, and Solan was angry at Father Sun for not giving warmth to him. Solan then realized that he was still naked from the night before. As he reached for his clothing, he saw his skin for the first time in many years. His skin had become much lighter. Solan said to himself, “I am starting to become bright like Moon. I must keep covered and keep moving so that I will surpass Moon and Father Sun in brightness and in power!” Solan called the new land Your-rope so that he would never forget to tie his rope around his waist in order to keep his clothing on tightly.

Human beings may have originated in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. Some scientists believe humans emerged from Africa. Skin protects the body from harmful solar radiation. Melanin is the pigment that causes darker skin, while carotene creates a yellow hue. Skin color is believed to have evolved because of the drastic differences in climates where humans have populated the Earth.

Last year I interviewed my best friend since Little League for an education class. I began by asking him, “Who are you?” He told me that he was an American with a girlfriend. He told me where he worked and what school he was attending. Later on in the interview I wanted to know, “Who are your ancestors?” He paused for a moment, and then he told me that his parents are both of German descent. He wasn’t sure where his German ancestors had come from. He began to think even more, and then he said, “I guess if we go back far enough, we’re all supposed to be related. Then it really wouldn’t matter.” At that moment I should have again asked him, “Who are you?” but I think he knew.

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