Thursday, March 15, 2007

Seeking diversity

Since we are about to become a multi-cultural family I’ve been looking for ways to invite more diversity into our lives. It’s not that we have shunned diversity up to now; it’s just that we accepted whatever diversity came naturally into our lives and made no effort to seek out more. It just not something I thought about.

There is and always has been a degree of cultural diversity in our lives. Close friends of ours are a married couple, P and K. P is Hispanic and K was born in India. We’ve been over to their house many times for fabulous Indian food or scrumptious Mexican…of course we have gone over just as many times for sushi or super bowl parties filled with junk food.

Honestly, until I sat down and starting really thinking about the diversity in our lives, I never really considered P and K as culturally different from me. I knew that K was Indian; I’ve met her extremely traditional Indian parents several times. I’ve heard all their stories about traveling to India and how the culture differs from the US. It just never really sunk in at that these folk are “different” and “not like me”. These are my friends and they are like me in all the ways that matter to me. But now that I’ve started thinking about it I wonder…Have I done a disservice to P&K because I haven’t recognized their cultural and ethnic diversity? Have I behaved like the “Ugly American” and overlooked their unique ideas and heritage because I’ve been categorizing them in my mind as “like me”? I’m not sure.

It’s so easy to be white; I can sit back and be color blind. That’s just what it is too… blind. I can let race and cultural diversity go and be blind to it because doing so doesn’t hurt me. I’m at no disadvantage because I choose not to notice cultural or ethnic diversity…other than making a huge @ss of my self of course.

All the books on transracial adoption say the same thing over and over. “You can’t be color blind; you have to be color aware.” I am trying, but like a blind person regaining sight and straining to understand what all the shapes and colors mean, I’m groping for understanding.

In an effort to gain that understanding, I’m taking my family to a community event tonight all about celebrating the multi-cultural lives of children. Normally I probably wouldn’t attend this event, mostly because I hate going out on a school night, but more and more I feel the need to seek out diversity.



Maggie said...

What a good post with such an interesting point. I've never thought of, by being white, it being easy to be color blind. But it's true, isn't it?

Jenny said...

This has really been on my mind a lot, too. I've been trying to think of what opportunities are available in our community that would broaden our 'friend base' and help us meet new people... especially now that Eliana is home. I only know 1 Latina woman in our area. This must change. I must change it.

Mom-of-5 said...

Your post makes a person think. Hope going out was a help. I wish we had events like that in our area. I would love to go.

Swerl said...

This is a very profound post, on a topic that's been preoccupying me recently.

Your blog's been a daily ritual for months, now, and part of the inspiration for me jumping into the fray:

Check it out and link to it if you wish. Thanks for all your great blogging.