Part of my learning experience throughout my placement is to try to learn about different cultures.  I thought this might be a realistic goal, I am beginning to question it’s realism.

So I set out to write a blog post a week about this.  We are 3 weeks in, beginning week for, and this is my first post ….  Why?  Well for two reasons really.

1 – If I am honest with myself – I got caught up with learning how to do the job, and lost sight of some of the details that I had initially set out to do.

2 – My local area (yes yes I know, for anyone salivating to know what it is to track me down and cyber-stalk me, I’m going to make you work for that) my local area is really very mono-cultural and bland, disappointingly so.  That’s not to say that there are not people of other cultures and faiths around, but they appear to be few and quiet about things.

So I have learned a lot about the white, European based, Christian privileged culture, and a lot about what it sees as being ‘open minded’ and how the bigotry fails to be noticed.

Having spoken to several clients who were asking about things like ‘welfare friendly landlords’ or landlords who were ok with different races and cultures …  or clients who were ok with any landlord “as long as they aren’t packie” makes me cringe and get all bitter inside.

I ask, is this area so insular, so privileged, so bigoted as a whole that these things are necessary or practical?  I want to say no, but I know the answer is yes.  I’ve been here now, about 8 years.  I saw the first sushi restaurant open and start making success, I have seen ‘ethnic’ food places struggle to survive.  Recently a Persian food joint opened up near where I am doing placement and where I volunteer, I stopped in on their second day to say hi and sample – Ohhhh the food is good!!  Now I am not going to get into the whole halal being humane/inhumane debate here, but being a Persian food place, their meat is all halal of course.  Whatever your feelings about that – the food is tastey, healthy, and just plain delicious – and their service has been fantastic.

I was pleasantly surprised to see people other than those of middle eastern ancestory going there.  I think they may have been surprised to see me (being almost as white as they come) turn up in their early days, but I have become a regular and get the same great service and food every time.  I have done my part to encourage others to go, and had more success than I expected.  Our favorite sushi restaurant we have had less success with, but I really think that the area is ready to have it’s collective mind expanded.

One of my self-care goals is to start a social group for people with similar philosophical outlooks.  I’ve been a little leery of doing this, because I have been rather nervous about the response of the public.  I don’t know that this area is ready for a skeptics, humanists or atheists social club yet.  This is very sad to me as I would love to engage in that kind of social interaction without fear of censorship, or without having to self censor.

I spoke to a classmate about the whole field at one point …  well, actually he spoke to me about it.  He questioned my wisdom in posting things of that nature to my facebook page.  I really wasn’t sure if I should or wanted to take offence at that.  I know his intent was not to offend in any way, but the idea that just discussing the concepts, and raising issues for debate would cause me problems in potential work or day to day life I found, well, frankly, offensive.  I would have been offended by the society really.  I didn’t like how that felt.

I want to speak out about this, I want to be the lightning rod for all locally who feel the same way.  But I worry about the repercussions on myself, but more for my family.  And I question my ability to be well knowledged or articulate enough to carry that torch…


~ by scawalrus on June 5, 2012.

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