Thursday, November 20, 2008

Things that make me sad: Monoculturalism

I grew up in Sydney at a wonderful school with great exposure to a diverse mix of cultures - there was nothing but integration, inclusion and acceptance there...well maybe we were also too young and innocent to have much prejudice.

I feel sad that these days I rarely witness this same beautiful vibe.

In my new class this year, a distinct line down the middle separates the people with black hair with the people with any other coloured hair. When I first came to this new class, I had issues...I had NO IDEA which side of the line to sit on! By all superficial aspects, I knew which side of the line I belonged on but I didn't have a whole lot in common with that side of the line. But then again neither did I have too much in common with the other side of the line...after all I'm a Third Culture Kid ;) I was BORN to be a I went for the middle :)

Anyhow, I was organising dinner with some asian friends and looking forward to eating something a bit different...african, spanish I suggested...I was not happy when I got an email back from a very good friend (who was actually born here so by some logic should be less Asian than me!) saying she REFUSED to eat either cuisine(has she even tried it?)...I also felt shocked when another 2 asian friends told me they had never tried Spanish food in their life!!!!!!! It was at this point I felt some serious frustration with how narrow minded and monocultured many people can be...

I don't think there is any way in hell I will EVER understand me there's no attraction- it's just absolutely hands down BORING AS HELL...a primitive attitude that belongs in the past and definitely has no place in this jetplane, internet connected GLOBAL society...

I think I'm going to have to practise some "narrow-minded Exclusivism" of my own from now on... if you wanna be part of MY Clique you can't be an Uncultured Monocultured unprepared to venture outside your own doorstep for even one night! Grrr.'s that for Dis-crim-in-ation?! LOL, that's probably my first attempt at un-inclusivism - I think I'll get better with practice though haha.

Honestly, I've not really noticed any discrimination until the last year or so...surprisingly, it's taken being back in this huge "melting pot" to actually notice it...(and it's right up there on the most disgusts me list along with smokers)...although we are such a richly diverse city I can't believe how much each clique still sticks to themselves so there are just separate pockets of cultures co-existing on the same turf with little interaction with each other. Maybe that is normal? What are your experiences with multiculturalism where you are?!

addendum: 21-11-08 interesting topical piece


Dina said...

It's funny. I guess because I'm somewhat ethnocentric...I think of monoculturalism as being about Caucasian people. I mean I never actually saw that term before until I saw the title of your blog. But when I saw it, I immediately assumed it would be about white people. I pictured those white people who eat steak and potatoes...their idea of exotic is an egg roll at the Americanized Chinese restaurant down the street.

Now my mind is opened. Of course other cultures/races would have monocultural people as well.

Anyway, I'm totally with you on the monocultural thing. I like variety.

And I also hate smoking too.

Caroline said...

OMG...that's so sad! I LOVE Spanish food! I could roll in it I love it that much. I am pretty picky too...but I'll try almost anything (except tripe and those mini dried fishes that is a Korean staple). I laugh at my "whiteness" but being married to a Filipino has totally opened my mind.

Funny how you mention what side to sit on...when I fill out forms for my kids that ask for it Asian? Yes! White? Yes! Spanish? Yes! Geez, talk about confusing!

Shannanigans said...

They have no idea what they are missing. I am a caucasian woman who wishes her skin was darker, loves Indian and Thai food, and listens to an ecclectic barrage of music from all over the world. You are absolutely correct...anything else is BORING!

Anonymous said...

I agree - I love multiculturalism. A while back I was talking to a plumber who was giving a quote on some work for us. He was so racist and didn't even know it. He was saying there are lot of Asians moving in to our town - yeah, your point being? I'm ashamed to say I didn't challenge him point blank - but I didn't give him the work either. Honestly I couldn't wait to get him out of my house.
It was the same with a woman in my writing class, I was saying how much I loved Vancouver cos it was all cosmopolitan and she said 'All the Chinese have come over from Hong Kong and taken all the jobs and housing' - talk about exaggeration! And I happen to like Chinese culture - and when I was in Vancouver I had the best Chinese food ever in my life! It was sezchuan chicken and so hot that I had an endorphin rush - and had to keep going back for more (bit like heroin I was instantly addicted).
I don't really bother with narrow minded people - and at the end of the day their mindset is stopping them from having all sorts of interesting experiences and learning new things.

Anonymous said...

I have a P.S. In Britain I'm proud to say that we are very multicultural - I mean, we had an Asian transsexual win Big Brother - you can't get more broad minded than that! ;o)

mscherrylane said...

D...don't get me started on the Caucasian flip side of it!!! omg in this current day and age...I have witnessed parts of the community refer to anything that's not pure caucasian blood as inferior "mongrels"(!!)

Caroline...haha my first reaction was "Right on sister!" but that's not actually how I would Talk so...

Spanish is My fav food and Latinos are arguably one of the best looking ethnic groups (and they are a mix!!)

I am very picky re food and I too do not eat tripe, entrails or those bowls of whitebait koreans eat with hundreds of freaky eyeballs staring at you- I have no idea how they do it!!

Do your kids look more asian or caucasian or just plain eurasian? one set of niece and nephews looks eurasian but the other set barely could pass as totally caucasian! It's pretty weird!

I also met a half Chinese girl with green eyes and red hair(not kidding). The results are just so fascinating/intriguing (and very often supersmart and goodlooking ;) when you have such a diverse gene pool to work with in conjunction with meiosis!

Shannon, yeah! I guess that's what compels you to dye your hair black too LOL you're a wannabe!! haha, j.k

mscherrylane said...

H.S, yeah compared to the Dutch and the Canadians we're still pretty backwards gay marriages etc.

I think Sydney has been totally bombarded with asians compared to when I was a kid and hence that has fuelled a lot of the racism which I never noticed growing up...honestly China is set for world domination and it's pretty obvious in Sydney! I think in a way it's similar to other places where there is resentment of Jews who are typically successful in business and "getting ahead".

The worst part is being unable to identify with any culture- you end up getting flamed from both sides!

Shannanigans said...

You will all catch up to the Canadians

We're like that polite person who watches the world with spinach in their teeth but don't point it out ;)

And yes, I am a wannabe. I have only recebtly accepted my whiteness, although I am still not overly excited about it. I would tan but I'm not a fan of skin cancer