Zizek : Quiet Slices of the Peace Camp

Ziabari : Waging War Against The Wrong Country

Wright : Litvinenko was MI6 Agent


Wilhelmson : Sad Story from Sweden

Wilhelmson : Revoking Israel UN Membership

Wilhelmson : Forum for Living History

Whitney : Why CFR Hates Putin

White : The Usury Paradigm

White : Ezra Pound American Giant

Weiss : Out From the Shadows

Weiss : Elders of Zion to Retire

Weir : Israeli Organ Harvesting

Webster : Israel Lobby in Britain

Weber : Why Judaism is Not Like Other Religions

Watson : War on Shampoo

Walt : Attacks From Ideological Opponents

Wall : Zionists Freeman Robinson

Wall : Who Gave Bibi Permission

Wall : Man Kills His Parents and Begs for Mercy Because He Is an Orphan

Wall : Joe Biden in Israel

Wall : Israels Trauma Trail

Walberg : To Leave and yet Stay

Walberg : Stars and Stripes

Walberg : Review of Al Azmeh Against Culture

Walberg : Return of the Repressed

Walberg : Requiem For An Overweight

Walberg : Recess Games

Walberg : Publish and Perish

Walberg : Prison of Nations

Walberg : Power Behind Throne To Be

Walberg : Political Poison

Walberg : New Auschwitz

Walberg : Muslims and Jews

Walberg : Masters of Discourse

Walberg : Israel In Canada

Walberg : Georgia Attacks South Ossetia

Walberg : Freeman and the Lobby

Walberg : Defining Diplomacy

Walberg : Cakes Not For Eating

Walberg : Bushs Divine Comedy

Valenzuela : Untermensch Syndrome

Uhler : Protocol of the Elders

Tucker : Open Letter to Uri Avnery Noam Chomsky and Jimmy Carter

Tillawi : Nice Soldiers Die First

Tibbs : Interview With Stuart Littlewood

Stone : Robinson Investigation and Protest

Spritzler : Why They Voted

Spritzler : They Destroy Our Society

Spritzler : Anti Gentilism

Spritzler : A New Way For Israel

Sniegoski : Transparent Cabal Smeared

Sniegoski : Israel Nukes Obama

Sniegoski : Gaza Resolution Illustrates Power of Israel Lobby

Sniegoski : Anti War in the Age of Obama

Smith : Illegal Settlements in America

Singh : Gandhi and US Israel

Sharon : The Complete Guide to Killing Non Jews

Shamir : Zionist Crook

Shamir : Yiddishe Medina

Shamir : Yeti Riots

Shamir : Wrong Lizard

Shamir : Wiki Chaos Controlled

Shamir : Walking About Jerusalem

Shamir : Translating the Bible into Hebrew

Shamir : Third Force

Shamir : The Snatch

Shamir : The Rise and Rise of the Neocons

Shamir : The Poverty of Racialist Thought

Shamir : The Man Who Stayed Away

Shamir : Texas Body Snatchers

Shamir : Talmud Impaled

Shamir : Slow Down

Shamir : Shamir in Italy

Shamir : Shadow of Zog

Shamir : Seven Lean Kine

Shamir : Self Determination

Shamir : Secularism

Shamir : Scorpion Logic

Shamir : Say Not Fatah

Shamir : Sages Rule

Shamir : Russias Daring Vote

Shamir : Russian Intifada

Shamir : Right Ho Lobby

Shamir : Return of the Body Snatchers

Shamir : Resurrection Sunday Blessings

Shamir : Regards from Ankara

Shamir Readers : Zionist Takeover of Italy

Shamir Readers : Top Stories February 2008

Shamir : Reading Douglas Adams in Yanoun

Shamir Readers : Should The Jews Be Deported

Shamir Readers : October Omnibus 2007

Shamir Readers : March Omnibus 2007

Shamir Readers : February Omnibus2 2008

Shamir Readers : February Omnibus 2008

Shamir Readers : Christmas Songs

Shamir Readers : August Omnibus 2007

Shamir Readers : August News 2007

Shamir Readers : About Ron Paul

Shamir Readers : A Letter From A Catholic Friend

Shamir : Rape of Dulcinea

Shamir : Pope Not Welcome

Shamir : Peter Edel On Zionism

Shamir : Pakistan in Turmoil

Shamir : Our Congratulations to the People of Turkey

Shamir : Oscar for Obama

Shamir : Obama Lynching Party

Shamir : No War For Heroin

Shamir : Not Only About Palestine

Shamir : No Deal

Shamir : Noam Chomsky and 911

Shamir : Merry Christmas 2007

Shamir : Mauro Manno is gone

Shamir : Mahler In Vanity Fair

Shamir : Madoff Affair

Shamir : Lead Rains of Gaza

Shamir : Keep Shining Cuba

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Shamir : Jews Can Be Trouble

Shamir : Island of Faith

Shamir : Interview with Sweden

Shamir : India Comeback

Shamir : In Defense of Prejudice



Find More Articles By Raboteau

transcript logo
The TragiComic Mulatto
by Emily Raboteau
http://www.transcri pt-review. org:80/sub. cfm?lan=en&id=4803
The security personnel of El Al Airlines descended upon me at Newark International Airport like a flock of vultures. There were five of them, in uniform, blockading the check-in counter. They looked old enough to have finished their obligatory service in the Israeli Defense Forces but not old enough to have finished college, which put them beneath me in age. I was prepared for their initial question, "What are you?", which I've been asked my entire life. Really, there is no satisfactory word for what I am. "Mulatto" is now considered taboo since at its root is the four-legged beast that results from the union of a horse and a donkey (though I am told mules are smarter than both of those breeds). "Mixed" is a more proper adjective for a cocktail. "Interracial" is too vague, and "bi-racial" is similarly unspecific. Though it chafed me, I knew the canned answer that would satisfy: "I look the way I do because my mother is white and my father is black." This time the usual reply wasn't good enough. This time the interrogation was tribal.
em"What do you mean black? Where are you from?"
em"New Jersey."
em"Why are you going to Israel?"
em"To visit a friend."
em"What is your friend?"
em"She's a Cancer."
em"She has cancer?"
em"No, no. I'm kidding. She's healthy."
em"She's Jewish?"
em"How do you know her?"
em"We grew up together."
em"Do you speak Hebrew?"
em"Shalom," I began. "Barukh atah Adonai..." I couldn't remember the rest, so I finished with a word I remembered for its perfect onomatopoetic rendering of the sound of liquid being poured from the narrow neck of a vessel: "Bakbuk."
emIt means bottle. I must have sounded to them like a babbling idiot.
em"That's all I know," I said. I felt ashamed somehow, but also pissed off at them for making me feel that way.
em"Where is your father from?"
em"Mississippi. "
em"No." By now they were exasperated. "Where are your people from?"
em"The United States."
em"Before that.Your ancestors. Where did they come from?"
emThey looked doubtful. "What kind of name is this?" They pointed at my opened passport.
em"A surname," I joked.
em"How do you say it?"
em"Don't ask me. It's French."
em"You're French?"
em"No, I told you. I'm American."
em"This!" They stabbed at my middle name, which is Ishem. "What is the meaning of this name?"
em"I don't know," I answered, honestly. I was named after my father's great-aunt, Emily Ishem, who died of cancer long before I was born. I have no idea where the name came from. Possibly it's a slave name.
em"It sounds Arabic."
em"Thank you."
em"Do you speak Arabic?"
em"I know better than to try."
em"What do you mean?"
em"No, I don't speak Arabic."
em"What are your origins?"
emI felt caught in a loop of that Abbot and Costello routine, "Who's on first?" There was no place for me inside their rhetoric. I didn't have the right vocabulary. I didn't have the right pedigree. This is what my mixed race has made me: a perpetual unanswered question. This is what the Atlantic slave trade has made me: a mongrel and a threat.
em"Ms. Raboteau. Do you want to get on that plane?"
emI was beginning to wonder.
em"Do you?"
em"Answer the question then! What are your origins?"
emWhat else was I supposed to say?
em"A sperm and an egg," I snapped.
emThat's when they grabbed my luggage, whisked me to the basement, stripped off my clothes and probed every orifice of my body for explosives. When they didn't find any, they focused on my tattoo, a Japanese character which means different, precious, unique. I was completely naked, and the room was cold. My nipples were hard. I tried to cover myself with my hands. I remember feeling incredibly thirsty. One of them flicked my left shoulder with a latex glove. "What does it mean?" he asked. This was the first time I'd ever been racially profiled, not that the experience would have been any less humiliating had it been my five hundredth. "It means Fuck you," I wanted to say, not because they'd stripped me of my dignity but because they'd shoved my face into my own rootlessness. I have never felt more black in my life than I did when I was mistaken for an Arab.
************ ***
This is an extract from Emily Raboteau's essay 'Searching for Zion', originally published in Transition 97.
(c) Emily Raboteau, 2007.

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