I haven't actually heard of "coolie" being used as a derogatory
term towards the Asian peoples before, I suppose I should remember that in the future. In any case, I noticed that while there are several nodes about it being a racist word, no one mentioned the actual item the word stems from. A hat.
The Coolie, an extremely wide semi-conical
hat made from bamboo
is both light and extremely functional. It provides effective protection from the sun, while allowing ventilation to the scalp. It doubles as a hands-free umbrella, strainer, and carrying basket. A durable hat, it can withstand weather and weight far exceeding what what would expect, and a strap holds it in place against high winds. Should emergency kindling be needed, non-essential parts of the hat can be used. If the bamboo portion is boiled sufficiently it will make an unpleasant but nourishing emergency meal.
How this came to be a derogatory word for the Asian people, I will never know, because quite frankly it's one of the most clever inventions out there with more uses than a bandana
. Perhaps because when these areas were first being visited by Yanks
, it was the majority of the people they saw.
Considering that rice
makes up a very large part of the lower-budget meals even in modern-day times, and most rice grows in paddies along shores, this would not seem too surprising. The ones gathering the rice were the European
equivolent of serfs
, and the American
equivolent of indentured servants
I find it very ironic then, that either Anglo
species should find this to be at all unusual. I find it even more ironic that this rather ingenious hat should be the item picked to represent their scorn. Because in teasing the Coolie hat, they tease ingenuity
, and intelligence
But then again... look at high school. It's the same thing.