Saturday, April 18, 2009

You May be the Best Culutural Learner, but You Still Will Always Look a Little Stupid

I am in the midst of briefing a group of African-American staff and students who are going to serve in South Africa for a 1 1/2 years.  Sort of a little strange in itself.  Especially since two others helping me are white too.

But its been really good and I have enjoyed just serving and learning from them rather than being the one with all the answers.  In fact, these past few days have been awesome.

 I decided to have us all go to a West African Ensemble on CU campus for a fun outing last night.   I had seen the ad for it on facebook.  All I knew is a professor from Ghana leads the group and they were having a special guest artist from South Africa.

What I didn't get is that the ensemble was made of up CU students and therefore all white.  All White.  So as the lights came up on the first song, I was sinking in my seat thinking my friends probably think I am stupid that I brought them to this.  (They were gracious.)  Actually it wasn't bad just not near as good as it could have been.  And it was great these students got to learn about other culutures.  But... it was still white folks wearing African clothing trying to dance and sing like Africans.  Many danced more like me than my friends. 

All I could think was: "This is what we look like when we go overseas.   No matter how much we might learn language or culture, we are always still an outsider and look a little stupid."  

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