Saturday, February 7, 2015

the culturally curious and how we see news

I am going to give a name to a group, a group I am seeing a lot more of ever since moving away from home and especially since entering the legitimate workforce. I believe it coincides with a social trend that is telling of our times. As the world is getting crazier and more interconnected many people are finally accepting how diverse the world really is and are making an attempt to understand the changing times, to varying degrees of success. I call them the culturally curious.
I first became aware of this trend while working on nights with a crew full of, sorry if this offends but, ignorant rednecks. Most of them were good guys but I could tell most of them had grown up around mostly other white people and had little experience dealing with someone like me, on multiple levels. As I said in my first post I am culturally Mexican, but I more identify with my sub-culture of nerd and multiple subsets there in such as; gamer nerd, anime nerd, cosplayer, and many more. No aspect of this did they have much personal about. I was the only Mexican on the crew and the first nerd they had ever known proud of being a nerd. So like I said these people were not bad people, they were just had limited experiences. But being good guys they were willing, and even driven, to learn more. This led to a very open work environment where every night some subject would come up about race or culture and they would ask me how I see things from "my point of view", i.e., the Mexican view, nerd view, ect. Racial  perspective was a big one, and it was around this time that I first read the famous article from Peggy McIntosh, "White Privileged: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack". One point she made really rang true with me, number 15 " I am never asked to speak for all the people in my racial group". I was doing this nightly. I felt good doing it in this context though, doing the world good by spreading knowledge. Living this for so long I have begun to notice a similar trend in many forms in modern media.
It amazes me what some news casters will do to get an interesting perspective on a story. Any time there is a story where a specific race or culture is represented it seems they need to find a member of that group and question them about it no matter their level of interest in the issue. This is true from asking black people if they felt outrage over the murder of Trevon Martin, to asking homeless people if they too had special talent like the golden voice bum Ted Williams. As our society becomes more and more connected it is becoming more and more impossible to keep looking at the world only from one point of view and efforts are being made to fix this, with varying success like I said, (asking bums about Ted Williams was a painful news report to watch). While some have seen this as offensive, that somehow someone naturally has an opinion about an issue or that their opinion is somehow more relevant just because they are somehow seen as having traits that link them to those involved in the case, I think it’s a move in the right direction.
Our world is changing, it is important to realize this change and adjust. For some that is much more difficult, and thus making that change it has to become part of their personality. This is not a bad trend, though it can be trying on those around individuals seeking to educate themselves. A piece of advice I have for anyone who finds themselves in my position, be patient with them, try to take the position as an honor, and don’t falsely educate, if you don’t know why people in your group do something just say so.

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