Day #2 in the A to Z Challenge, which means the letter “B.”
“B” is for Bullying
The Red Kimono opens with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My main character, Sachiko Kimura, is a nine-year old Japanese American who is torn between her mother’s demands to retain her Japanese heritage and wanting to be like her Caucasian friends. Sometimes, she stares in the mirror and wishes her eyes were blue, her hair blonde. Maybe then the kids at school would not bully her.
The attack on Pearl Harbor intensifies fear and anger toward the Japanese. In the following excerpt, Sachi has just been dropped off at school by her father. The scene takes place on December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor:
The school yard was crowded with kids waiting for the bell to ring, and Sachi hesitated to get out of the car.
They will all stare at me.
That was just one of the things she hated about fourth grade. She also didn’t like homework. Or grumpy Mrs. Nelson. And she especially didn’t like the kids who called her slant-eyes.
One day at lunch, a boy in her class had moved to another table, all because she sat next to him. Snickers and whispers surrounded her like moths around a porch light. She left her tray on the table and ran out of the cafeteria. But those moths flitted and batted around her all the way out.
* * *
Here’s a haiku that Sachi wrote about how bullying makes her feel:
A porcelain mask
though inside, a heart beats strong
even the oak breaks.
Yesterday, I found the following quote on Facebook: