The Tramp Stamp

I was in a Grade 8 English class in Saudia Arabia. I was doing a novel study of “The Outsiders”. There came a page, whereby it spoke of “white trash”.The mostly Muslim students said to me ‘Miss what is white trash?”

I pondered this and thought: hmmm , how do I even begin to explain this foreign concept of white trash?

So I thought for a moment and said “well, its white people who have no education. It’s white people who cover themselves in tattoos.

“What’s a tattoo Miss?”

“It’s a marking that you deliberately do to your body, you know, like “the tramps stamp”

“What is a tramp stamp Miss?”

Now I knew I was way in over my head.

“Well….it’s a marking on your body on your lower back if you are female”

“Hey!”, said one student, one of my favourite kids. My Mom has one of those, right on her back!”

“Back paddle, back paddle”

“Oh well, I must have that wrong. I, uh….yeah….. no I uh mean well anyway, in The Outsiders, they are just talking about white people who are poor.”

The kids still didn’t get it. To them “being white” meant holding ALL the cards and all the money and all the power.

Man, did I have to back paddle that day!!

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