Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Seven different words for "cookie"

I was reading about diversity among Latin American immigrants in the US, and one article said there were seven different words for "cookie": bizcochito, bollito, craque, galletita, galleta dulce, cuqui, cuque. While recognizing that all those words are generic, I recognize that I have lots of different words for "cookie" but my favorite is "Chips Ahoy". Others include Moravian sugar, Oreos, and tea cakes. European languages have different names for different types of cookies, i.e. biscotti. Some places call them wafers; and in other places wafers are non-sweet crackers.

Life can be confusing in its diversity, but brand names give clarity to our passions. They are specific and not stereotypes.

Guess what we need to do with people is avoid the generalities and stick with the brand names: Miriam H, James S, Mary P. Even with people confusion abounds: here I am sharecropper; on Yahoo groups I am a different name; friends who have known me a long time call me by a nickname; more recent friends call me by my given name; a few still know me by my maiden name; and many who don't know me at all call me "sweetie" (I do live in the South, y'all). Each one of those names has a slightly different perspective of the real person behind the name, behind the writing, behind the crafts, behind the theology and the bs.

Diversity within, diversity without. And, when we've finished writing the nine million names for God, the lights will go out.

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