Wednesday, March 13

Ask Who I Am, Not What

Just recently, I had a conversation with a friend who said even though she was born and brought up in USA, she constantly gets asked "Where are you from?", not "What is your ethnic background?". Her offense? The color of her skin. When I heard about the Race Card Project on NPR this morning, I thought of that conversation first. Listening to some of the stories that have been collected over the past two years for the project, I was reminded of this incident. We are lucky that we live in a diverse community and I truly believe no one around me is biased by race, but then there are those little things people say that gets me once in a while. At International Night at kids school, we made a poster for weddings in Bangladesh. Someone asked "Where's the elephant?" Err...not all weddings have elephants! Actually, I dont think I've been to any weddings that had elephants! If you are going to use Indiana Jones movies as your sole cultural reference to South East Asia, I don't have much to say to you! Then there's always the "How did you learn to speak English?" In Bangladesh, by going to school once I was done fetching water and food from the jungle! Thank you very much! How do we break down these cultural barriers? There are people I know who are very interested to know about my background and they are not afraid to ask questions. They are truly the minority. May be its time I volunteer to the PTA and start a open discussion on Diversity among parents. I truly believe its much better with our kids. They are growing up in a multicultural environment and they accept that different people have different backgrounds, stories. Raffae's class just did a project on immigration and I thought that was very cool. We need more projects like that on a bigger scale!

My Six Word Story:

Judge me once you know me

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