Sometimes I hear words spouted from people’s mouths and think… wow you aren’t the person I thought you were.
I am struggling with cultural values lately. Maybe it has more to do with society’s lack of empathy for others. It is happening at work, with friends and at home. It very possibly could be me and I am not seeing the whole picture, but suddenly I am feeling like a minority in the way I think. This has happened to me before when I lived in Yellowknife, North West Territories.
I was 6. I was in Mrs. Long’s grade one class. I believe we were the only grade only class but I could be mistaken…I was 6 afterall. I was often one of only a handful of kids who went to school regularly – The aboriginal population would take their children off to the bush and hunt for long periods of time. That left 4 of us in class some days. Me, Maria, Admira (who was MEAN and stole stuff) and Doug – he would eat all the crayons left out. I remember hearing the teachers (who were primarily white middle class from southern Canada) talk about the aboriginal kids and if only the parents would send their kids to school on a regular basis, what a difference it would make to their future…. hmmm would it?
I hear myself saying the same thing in my classroom. This child needs to come to school everyday, what a difference it would make!
Sure it would. They would be able to speak English, have that advantage when learning to read, absorb my values that I deem important. Yikes… Who am I to say what this child needs? I like to think my values are typically Canadian. Girls can grow up and own property, vote, have a say in their lives. Girls should be able to run and laugh without having to worry what the boys might think. It feels like I have to fight for women’s rights all over again when all those women who came before me did a decent job…clearly it wasn’t enough.
I sat in my quite living room with my family last night talking about traveling to Eastern Europe. We talked about visiting Auschwitz in Poland. I want my children to learn about cultural oppression and feel its wrath and wrongness. A comment came up about the horrible feeling going back to Germany. Wait a minute…what? I need to educate my family on the difference between Nazis and Germans. I am German. I did not contribute to the Holocaust. I am helping the fight against wrong doing but teaching what happened to my children. I hear phrases like, how could they do that? Who the Germans or the Nazis? We don’t know what they were thinking being in that position. We can only learn from it and not do it ourselves.
Here I am in the 21st century, starting to feel like I am losing my cultural heritage and feeling helpless because the laws and policies of today are allowing freedoms of others and forcing me to be sympathetic to them…yet no one is seeing that I need the same consideration. I feel like I am drowning in a sea of political correctness while the wolves are being crafty and taking advantage of the good natured Canadians. It makes me want to leave. But where do I go?
Karmic payback for thousands of years? OR do I just not get it?