THE WHITE HOPE
Pic.: Natrajan Ramsubramani
“Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.”
I was teaching a young girl, this morning. While she was writing, my attention went to what was written on her wrist: ‘White Hope’.
“What does that imply?” I asked the young-one, just out of curiosity, “Any special reason for having it there?”
“Yes sir, there is a reason,” my student said, “I went through a disturbing phase a couple of years ago. During that time, I came across an inspiring article in which I found this phrase, ‘White Hope’, for the first time. It instantly caught my fancy. Ever since then, it has been there on my wrist as a constant reminder – not to lose hope in life.”
“Beautiful!” I nodded, “May it continue to bring you white hope, always.”
Jack Johnson was the first African-American boxer to hold the World Heavyweight Championship (1908-1915). Racism was rampant in America and domination of boxing world by a Black boxer and the kind of adulation he was showered upon was unpalatable for those who propagated racism. So, the White wanted a boxer who could defeat Johnson… Yes, they wanted ‘The White Hope’…
This morning, I narrated to the young girl this story… how the phrase , ‘White Hope’, had originated.
“Hope is patience with the lamp lit,” said Tertullian. It is impossible to manoeuvre through the dark moments in our lives without this lamp called ‘Hope’… Aptly, my young student has etched it permanently on her slender wrist… Yes, it is her ‘White Hope’.