Sunday, October 2, 2011

Diversity Exists!

I was not aware that RainyTown was the whitest city in America until I moved to CrazyHellTown. I'd heard rumors, but diversity was a huge deal to us!

The teaching program had an English as a Second Language component built into it and a motto of 'Educational Justice for All Races'. We had Martin Luther King Boulevard!

We were horrified every time something racist happened in cities where there actually were non-white people to be racist against! We said African American and Latino ALWAYS! In fact, if some of us forgot, we were horribly offended!

We loved all this about ourselves and congratulated us regularly by talking about 'diversity' and 'ending discrimination' any chance we got.

Now I see that that was all completely fucking ridiculous. Who the hell were we doing all that for?? There were virtually no 'African Americans' or 'Latinos' there to impress with our insane amount of sensitivity! And those few that are there were pretty much not impressed at all.

During the summer school class of 11th graders I taught, there were two white kids in my class. Two!! And guess what? Nobody called anyone African American and Latino. Nobody got offended if they were called 'black' or 'Mexican.'

Meanwhile I was tripping balls trying to be culturally sensitive just like I was taught, terrified I was going to start some kind of race riot.

"Could you give this worksheet to the African American boy with the glasses?"

"The who?" (Smirking)

Sigh. "The black kid in the back row."

If anything being tense and uber-senstive only makes things weirder and much more awkward for everyone. So white people: Just stop it. Act like a normal person, you are not the 'white person ambassador to the world'.

I was pretty much the only one that cared or noticed that I wasn't black, Mexican or Arabic. Nobody else gave a shit.

Best of all, nobody asked me what race I was!! Nobody cared to what extent they had to sensitize everything they said depending on what form of non-white I turned out to be.

Little Awesome is the only white kid in her whole class (some might think since I'm 'Native North American of Aboriginal Descent' that my kids might be kind of brown. They are wrong. My genes did not win that battle and my kids are super white).

Mini-Fantabulous is one of 8 or less kids in every class that's white.

I performed an inquisition on them to find out what it was like to suddenly be in the minority after being in the uber-majority for so long.

"Do you get picked on?"

"No." They said

"Are they like, hey, there's the white girl!"


Neither of them wanted to talk about it, finding the whole thing not that interesting.

Mini-Fantabulous did tell me a story about a white kid that was illegally selling candy to kids at the school. One day his money was stolen from his backpack.

The kids at the table had a discussion to decide who it was.

"Are there any white kids in your class?" A white kid asked.


"Well we can rule them out."

Everyone at the table agreed, including the black and Mexican kids.

"It was probably a Mexican."

The Mexicans agreed.

So obviously things aren't perfect. But at least they were all getting along enough to incriminate the minorities together.

Then there was the time during the teaching program that an 'incident' occurred at a social event.

(I didn't go, obviously.)

But apparently there was a black guy pretending he was part of the group so he could get free food.

The black women in the program where like, "I was just sitting there thinking, 'why did it have to be a black guy!'"

A white person pointed out that they shouldn't feel somehow responsible for that guy just because he was black.

All the girls agreed that they shouldn't but said, "Whenever a black person behaves badly, I feel like it's a reflection on all of us."

My mind was blown.

It would never in a million years have occurred to me to feel that people thought less of me because some white person was acting like a douche in front of everyone.

So in conclusion, there is a whole lot you can learn about diversity by living some place with actual diversity. I'd say pretty much all of it.


Sarah said...

Living in Costa Rica made me very aware of all the dumbass things white people do on a daily basis and how that reflects on me.I used to tell CR taxi drivers I was from Canada so they wouldn't charge me extra! How did you escape this in Korea?
I love that people aren't concerned with the PC words of other nationalities that are drilled into us. I was always worried about referring to Native Americans as Native Americans in CR but they always looked at me like I was a crazy white girl who says Native American. They called them Indians! I had to unlearn that one when I came back.

SuperFantabulous said...

In Korea, they thought Americans were the most awesome people on earth, as long as you weren't black.
I usually say Native American, just so I don't have to add, "Casino Indian, not Quicky Mart Indian." afterwards.

Anonymous said...

You claim to be culturally sensitive after spewing all that hate toward Koreans. Get over yourself. By the way, most "African-Americans" that I know like to be considered as blacks.

SuperFantabulous said...

Yeah, I know. I was kind of a bitch in Korea.