Living these past few months in Indonesia has granted me copious time to think. Not in terms of language, which I have to think about every time I speak, but about culture, ethnicity, and diversity. Despite living here for almost three months, people are still shy around me, children still stare at me from a distance, and I still get yelled at, “HAII, MISTERR!” every day.
Every day I am reminded of my differences, and some days it can be overwhelming, but I realise not many “bule” live in Semarang, ID. I’m not sure what I represent, but I do stick out quite a bit because of my outward appearances.
People still question or find strange some of my actions, but those are only cultural differences. However, I guess these feelings extend to other places around the world. Coming from the States, it is hard to describe a collective culture, diversity, and ethnicity because so many exist in the USA.
Many people claim acceptance of others or tolerance, but there also exists people who are not well educated in diversity. There are people who do have prejudices, discrimination, racist attitudes, etc. People who say, “Go back to where you come from,” and all that nastiness.
But then again, perhaps this “tolerance,” this accepting, the almost harmony we claim is describing myself more than others. Perhaps we as people from the USA need to become more aware of each other. Perhaps we need to be better educated on diversity, race, economic situation, culture, whatever it may be.
Perhaps to stomp on majority and minority so we as humans of this Earth can become sisters and brothers rather than supreme or third-world.
Yes people are frustrating, but they are just like you, yet very different from you. And that is the beauty of humanity. We have the potential to be like one another, but also have unique qualities. Are we over night going to hold hands and wipe each others’ tears? No, but we can start taking steps towards acceptance, towards tolerance (which CAN be a good thing). Acknowledging each other as citizens of this world, changing the us and them and realising it is just us.
This isn’t peace, love, and hippie crap, but a way to stop acting like spoiled, secretive brats and actually strive for peace rather than the bastardization of the term. Have we not learned from Cain and Abel or do we consider that to be just a story for Jesus-thumpers and other religions who use that story? We need to acknowledge what’s wrong in out lives, honestly, truthfully. Instead of thrashing around in a temper tantrum, come at the wrongness together with out the use of destruction, without the use of degrading language, without the notion of good vs. evil, of wrong or right, of who owns what, of entitlement.
Perhaps peace is as simple as listening. As simple as laughing with those who laugh at you.