White Lady



Hey White Lady!!

April, 2002

I can't stress enough how weird I am here. And I've made it worse - I've started running a little in the evenings, and there couldn't be much stranger than me...I'm white...I'm wearing shorts which proves my legs are white at least up to my knees...a grown woman doesn't wear shorts...and I'm jogging for exercise, something you never see people doing here. I really create quite a scene, especially with the kids. I try to time my running so that I don't pass a school when it's letting out. That would just be too much excitement for me.

Everywhere I go, I hear little kids announcing my arrival to other kids...Hey - here comes the white lady! The white lady is here!! They all come running just to watch me pass. Usually I find it cute...they're just curious and I am an oddity for them. You can't agree to spend two years in West Africa and then get mad when people comment on your skin color. I sometimes stop to talk or introduce myself and shake the kids' hands. I usually try to at least tell them my name so they don't call me "the white lady" anymore.

The other day I was just starting my walk when two little girls - perhaps 6 years old - called "Hello white lady!" Here is what ensued:

Me: My name isn't "white lady!" My name is Tantie Kate. Can you say Tantie Kate?

Girls: Tantie Kate.

Me: Good job! What are your names?

Girl 1: I am Deborah and this is Cynthia.

Me: Nice to meet you Deborah. Nice to meet you Cynthia. I'm going to go jogging now. I'll see you later!

Girl 2: Goodbye white lady!

So much for trying to get them to use my name. Maybe next time.