Inclusion and Exclusion in Our Daily Lives PART I: CHILD'S VIEW
JODI L. HOTTEL
In a darkened theater you stare as Shirley Temple dances on the screen— those chubby cheeks and beaming eyes that make everyone smile. “You look just like her!” all the adults tell you. So you practice your curtsy, pointing to the dimple on your cheek, flashing that smile that says you’ll be a star.
When did you discover that what people told you was a lie? You can never be the next Shirley Temple with your jet black hair, your slanting eyes.
idealized images did you grow up with as a child that came to seem as
alluring and alienating as Shirley Temple was to girls of different
races and religions in the 1930s and 1940s?
mother has always had a movie star’s smile. Even now, although she’s
82, people comment on her radiant smile. When I was young and pressed
her, she would tell me tidbits about her childhood. She would giggle
with embarrassment as she related that people used to tell her that she
looked just like Shirley Temple, her favorite movie star.
sixteen, she and her family were removed from their farm in the Yakima
Valley of Washington and interned at a concentration camp in Wyoming
during WWII because they were Japanese. She was reticent to discuss
this part of her life, as were most Japanese Americans of her
generation because it brought back too many painful memories. But I was
always yearned to know more. I came to understand that she felt shame
for being Japanese, although she had done no wrong.
motivation for writing this and other poems about the Japanese American
experience is to understand my mother but also to tell the story of a
passing generation of men and women, to serve as a reminder so that
loss of liberty due solely to race will not happen again.
JODI L. HOTTEL
is a writer and retired English teacher, living in Santa Rosa, CA. Her
work has been published in the English Journal, The Dickens and
anthologies from the University of Iowa Press, Tebot Bach, and the
Healdsburg Arts Council. At age 16, her mother was interned at Heart