As the host of this expat focused podcasts, I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to chat with fellow expats located in different parts of the world to share their experiences of how they overcame living in different cultures that are far different from the cultures they were born in. These fellow expats have shared with me their issues with learning a local language and adapting to the culture of their host nations. The majority of the expats I’ve spoken to over the past few months felt that their overseas experiences has helped them to not only learn about other cultures and languages, but also quite a bit about themselves. Most expats learnt that by having a positive attitude and open-mind, they were able to gain access to opportunities that go far beyond a physical or financial reward.
As an American expat living abroad, I’m seeing things in my home nation that can not be ignored or simply swept under a rug and this disturbs me. It’s true that, because of my long stay overseas, I probably have become desensitized to many of the local issues my family and friends are going through back home. This may simply be one of the reasons why they feel that I am unable to comprehend the tensions they have to live with daily. However, from my perch overseas, I can’t deny that I’m seeing the results of hate being expressed in the physical world that has a direct connection to me in my far away location. Sadly, a rekindled and concentrated form of hatred has now taken hold of the world and is refusing to let go of its ill-informed and misguided views and objectives.
It is also true that this state of hate as existed for long time, especially in my nation of birth, but is now finding the impetus to, once again, make an appearance and raise its ugly head. Sadly, this appearance has in someway been legitimized by people who were placed in charge of leading my home nation and its policies towards other nations and their people. This has not only been confusing to me, but also, at the same time, frightening. It is true that all lives matter but when people who share my similar complexion say that Black Lives Matter all that it stressing is the point that people who share my similar complexion are the ones who are being targeted the most violently and are succumbing in far larger numbers to this new rise of open doored hatred.
Desperate individuals have always resorted to the spread of hatred and fear. Hatred and fear have always been the tools desperate individuals, who lack proper guidance, use to force others to conform to their way of thinking and this has to be stopped before their rotten core affects the souls of people who aren’t given an opportunity to choose or learn from others who don’t look or sound like themselves. I feel that we should promote activities or events that can show people, on this blue ball we call Earth, that we share more in common than we think. I hope this podcast has promoted this point of view.
When people are given the opportunity to interact with one another, a learning process begins and friendships are formed which builds trust and lowers the chances of blind hatred and fear. Positive interactions between people can’t become a reality if we allow ourselves to remain separate from one another. If we become interested or overly concerned with building walls around ourselves, we will only stifle positive needed developments (i.e.: technology, medical, environmental, global warming, etc..) because, in the long run, walls can never completely protect anyone nor keep people in or out.
Let it be known that the façade of this newly disguised hatred isn’t impenetrable and I believe that it can be brought to its knees if we just open our minds, and sometimes hearts, to the differences and uniqueness of the worlds people and cultures. It’s a fact that our uniqueness is the element that has enabled us to survive within our cultures, but at the same time, we shouldn’t create an obsession with imposing what we consider are our uniqueness on people who value their own culture and uniqueness. Imposing a group of peoples’ perceived supremacy on another isn’t the solution to enforce or build commonalities. Commonalities are essential to ensure cooperation and the building of positive social attributes between people who have different backgrounds and cultures.
During my stay abroad, I have left a positive impression on the minds of people who had never before met a person of my skin color. Although slight cultural differences do exist, in the end, it became very clear that at the core, we are not that much unlike each other. I’ve had people in my host nation share their personal thoughts with me of how they felt people who looked like me were and, in many cases, what they revealed to me still leaves me scratching my head. In the end, I’ve found that relationships had become even stronger.
Standing on the sidelines isn’t enough. You may not realize it, but this overflowing reservoir of hatred affects us all regardless of our skin color, history or faith. I am reminded buy an interesting quote I saw today. It says: “If you are being chased by a taxidermist, don’t play dead”. There are clearly groups of people who may not want to see of people of different cultures unite. It may be for social or financial reasons why they want us to remain separated and ignorant of each other.
It can’t be denied that hatred is dangerously infectious. There are many reasons why people have become infected with this hate. Many of these “hate carriers” harbor disgruntled feelings based on what they feel are the dispossession of their lifestyle or civilization. What civilization are they speaking of? Do they understand that my home nation was built on the backs of slaves and immigrants? They are simply seeking to purge people who aren’t of their so-called “pedigree” based on ethnicity and genetics.
Their way of thinking is selfish and there isn’t anything benevolent in their platform or stated goals that could advance people as a whole. It’s a fact that the constitution of my home nation wasn’t specifically written to protect people who share my common roots but today it is the responsibility of the people in my home nation to reset the focal point of this document and follow the written words that said “…. all men are created equal”.
I’m old enough to remember the day Dr. Martin Luther King was taken away from us. And I can remember the sadness on my second grade teacher’s face, Ms. Cooper, when she announced to us that this man of peace had been violently and viciously taken away. I could also see on her face that she deeply feared for my future and the future of every other student in my second grade class at P.S. 146 in the Bronx. Now today, I’m feeling the exact same way as the moment my second grade teacher made her sad announcement.
In the back of my mind I can hear Rodney King’s now famous words “Can we all just get along?” I’m not sure if words like these are enough to help us make changes from our current destructive course. I just know that we must stand on the right side of history because we can’t go back.
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