My friend Shira made a post on difference and that invoked a though.
On the reference to sameness and difference, I think it’s fascinating how I didn’t instantiate that notion until I visited China for the first time in 17 years. For that first time in my life, the concept of sameness hit me. It might be the same for those of LGBTQ to for the first time in their lives comes out into a place where their worlds are accepted, or when a color person goes to a city where they are the norm. Even after living for so long that I don’t feel any form of active oppression, well not to the extent of self-hatred, that I’ve made being different the normality of this existence.
I’ve often found that it’s interesting when people wants to be unique, wants to be different, that they wish to be a special place in the universal, I realized that it’s a very privileged position that one can have the social power to choose the power of being different, that they wish not to be the same. Sameness is very much culturally preferred, and historically has a power of inclusion rather than exclusion.
Being an immigrant, and typical immigrant story line goes especially the first generation, when I came back from China, and see the festivities that my Chinese relatives go through, the holidays, the ceremonies and rituals that they do in celebrating a traditional holiday, I finally felt different and missed out. Christmas didn’t exist to me, Thanksgiving doesn’t exist to me, they all have no meaning for me that Americans feel when they grew up in that culture. The image posted on top are my aunt and baby niece celebrating lunar New Years, a festival that I haven’t experienced since 1999.
The power of being different is scary.
With referenced to racially segregated neighborhoods, Ypsilanti is slightly racially segregated, but the schools were not as much racially segregated since the majority of the school were the minorities. 65% black. I think without the superiority of race in that school it helped me develop in an environment where the minority accepted each other. I’ve heard stories of bullying and racism from majority privilege white schools and that never happened as much as my school.
Also, even as a place where color diversity is so vast, it’s still America, and it’s still not the same as being in a homogenous environment that gave birth to you.