“We Still Have Much to Learn” by Jan Jasinski

Written by plumtree

Topics: Archive (2012-2019), Uncategorized

 

“We Still Have Much to Learn”
by Jan Jasinski

After living in Europe for all my life to date, and passing more than 4 months now in the United States, I shall admit, that Europe, or more precisely Europeans, have still much to learn. Most of America, even when struggling with the refugees’ problems, or the killings of black teenagers, is much more tolerant and open to other cultures than the ‘old’ continent. Many European countries present experience problems with accepting people from Syria or other Middle East countries, while the majority of the Americans understand that refugees are not necessarily something that will invade their lives and destroy local traditions. As it seems the key factor in the discussion is the security and efficiency of integration rather than general acceptance of diversity.

Another question is the hospitality of the Americans towards people from outside of the States. This stroke me from my very first days in the USA: People I am meeting over here ask where I come from, but not in order to see if I am an alien to the American culture, but to learn how can I contribute. Most people in Europe would rather think about me not belonging to the society and why I should “return to my country”.

My younger brother, Jeremi is a living example to what I claim. His peers back in Poland would be surprised to see someone who has a different skin color than themselves. Yet he spends time in his nursery with Afro-Americans, Latino and Chinese kids alike. He is not estranged to anyone and everything around him is natural to his perceptions and observations.

Another case was recently told by my mom, working in the Embassy, who was invited to give a lecture about Poland and Polish traditions in the elementary school in Anacostia. The local kids, so cheerful and bright, were shown a photo of their Polish peers – all Caucasian. And asked about the differences between them and young Poles responded: What do the play? What music do they listen to? Do they know football and baseball? They never sneered, questioned or disliked what they saw. The American kids have shown lack of stereotypes and a pure interest in learning new things.

The last case is linked to a daily life. Imagine no international cuisine, no foreign music, no books written outside your country, no science and travel. This would be the end of modernity, civilization as we know it. To this end and open society, encompassing different trends, yet keeping its gist firm, is the world I want to live in and I am happy I find myself surrounded by it while living in the DC Area.

I believe it is not easy to contribute to the diversity debate without cracking a cliché. This is why common, daily practices of different folks in the communities can deliver an objective picture, a live assessment of what works and what still needs improvement. Living in the United States has already given me a plenty of opportunities to see how one can use his entourage to claim ideas and concepts. I also think that living with different people with varying ideas and believes made me notice that even though we are different, our humane features are the same. Yet one shall become ever watchful of any signs of discrimination.

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