ヒント054 英文読解“Bald, Not Skinhead”

准教授Joe Mckim






Years ago, my hair began to turn gray and fall out. I didn't like it. In the spring vacation of 1992, I decided to start shaving my head every day.

At that time, only African American basketball players shaved their heads. White people almost never did it, and for Japanese people a shaved head meant that a person was either a Buddhist priest, a member of a very strict high school sports team, or a     

boy being punished for bad behavior. In other words, nobody shaved his head by choice.









When the school year began in April, the students at my university had two types of shocked reactions to my newly shiny head:    

1. "What happened to you?"

2. "Why did you become a skinhead?"

People who had the first reaction assumed that my hair fell out due to a terrible illness. "Are you okay?" they asked. "Please don't die!"

I was touched by their concern, but also a little irritated. After all, my goal was to look cool, not sick.










However, the second reaction irritated me much more. I don't know when the katakana word "skinhead" became common in Japan, but at that time people used it to describe any man with a completely bald head. For native speakers, however, "skinhead" means, specifically, a heavy-drinking and very violent madman. . 


◎ specifically「とりわけ、具体的に言うと」 violent「暴力的な」  madman「狂人、きちがいじみた人」







After hearing "Oh, wow! You're a skinhead!" every day, I wanted to say, "I'm bald! I'm just bald! I'm not a skinhead, okay?" and then strangle the student. Ironically, if I did such a thing, then I would be a skinhead. 


◎ strangle「首を締める、絞め殺す」








To become bald is to become a member of a kind of minority group. As a new member of this minority group, I came to realize how important it is to teach people the proper way to talk about all minority groups in English. There are polite ways, as well as rude ways, to talk about African Americans, gay people, elderly people, etc. Based on this experience, I became more sensitive to the need to teach my students the polite ways.





<語注&要旨 佐々木彩子/神奈川大学非常勤講師>





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Joe Mckim
関東学院大学文学部准教授。専門は英語学、英語教育法。米国イリノイ州出身。1990年に明治学院大学を経て現職に就く。研究テーマ:Learners’ planning processes for second-language speaking and writing tasks  Second-language test-taking strategies