Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I had a lightbulb moment (well actually two). I wa...

I had a lightbulb moment (well actually two). I was talking to one of the WFP employees who is from South Sudan but has been living in the United States. He is one of the very few people here I believe that has some understanding of my background and perspective. I told him about some of my skirmishes around here. Well he told me that if he were to go into some neighborhoods in the United States, he would be subjected to the same kind of treatment. And he is right. He would not be welcomed in a small town with no ethnic diversity -at least not without someone who is from there. He could be accused of trying to intergrate the place, and since cross burning is not so popular anymore there might be swastikas and racial slurs spray painted on the property where he stayed and he would be subjected to various forms of harassment. Being an outsider and an African could make him a kind of target. Many Americans do not experience diversity in their own communities, and without a doubt are suffering from a lack of exposure to the world community. So essentially, anytime one moves around from country to country, depending on social realities, the community's level of openess to foreigners and a host of other factors, there is a chance that some people just won't like you. Hmmm.
My second epiphany is that over years of living in inner-city ghettoes I have developed a fighting spirit and confrontational tendencies. I, however, try to keep those characteristics in check and use them only when issues of justice arise. The problem with a fighting spirit and confrontational tendencies is when you are immersed in a population that has been in conflict for most of the last 50 years and they possess those same characteristics. They clash. So who would have guessed; I am like the Dinka Agar. This would be interesting research; ( I am sure it has been done and proven). Does being raised in urban ghettoes in the United States produce the same social chracteristics of people who have lived in protracted conflict in non-industrialized societies? So now I am thinking I should feel right at home here.

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