From a different perspective
After a weekend with the interns of Concordia, Moorhead’s Office of Intercultural Affairs, the third annual Power in Diversity Leadership Conference (held at St. Cloud University) was a smashing success -- despite driving through a blizzard, missing a few sessions and getting lost after filling the gas tank.
I particularly enjoyed the diversity, coming from the boring, mono-ethnic culture of Fargo/Moorhead.
One of the many things I realized at the conference is how much race affects everyone on a daily basis. Being at the conference, where White people were suddenly the minority, I also realized how much race affects me.
Let me try to clarify. In every community setting, it is very natural to try to fit in. I have been surrounded by White people since the day I was born; the idea of having an all Asian network of friends and co-workers is something I just cannot fathom.
When I told new friends about my upbringing, they couldn’t understand my situation at all. Because of these differing viewpoints, there is a divide in culture even between cities that are three hours apart. Astounding, isn’t it?
Even at the conference, where there was so much racial diversity, I still did not fit in comfortably. Why? Because I knew that I did not have that sense of unity with different people of the same race.
Race not only unites but also divides.
I may be Chinese-American on the outside, but on the inside I am white as snow.
Overall, the sessions were powerful, and the speakers equally as influential. I particularly enjoyed Tim Wise, who spoke about "color-consciousness." That, and the concurrent session on becoming an ally against racial discrimination (even racial jokes are a form of racism!) were memorable.
I hope to be able to come back to Concordia and influence the ways of thinking back home. Cultural acceptance is becoming more and more important.
Originally posted Jan. 30, 2012, at CoBBlog. Republished with permission of the author. Find a link to Amy Tran’s entry on the blog CoBBlog at Lutheran Blogs.
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