A few years ago, I was in an area where white is a serious minority. I wanted to catch a movie. For a hundred miles around, I was part of a tiny minority. In visual range, I was THE white guy.
I walked around the mall a bit, but nothing caught my eye. I went to the box office, and could not get attention. No one would make eye contact with me. I asked for a ticket, and I was told “We don’t have a ticket for you.” Others were getting their tickets, just not me.
Some people would smile, and some would frown. Lots of suspicious looks, but lots of people who just knew I was an outsider, but it did not matter. Fragments of resentment of my outsider money were sprinkled around the edges.
This was temporary. Also, not everywhere was like that.
I got a cab, and went back to my hotel. Taxi driver was social and nice, but he was used to being around every kind if person. A customer is a customer to him.
My favorite food place didn’t care, other than a little squinting when accent differences had to be worked out. Their customers ran the gamut too.
But I got to go back home.
What if every single day was like this How would you react? How long would it take you to snap at someone for mistreating you because you’re an outsider?
Would you yell at someone when you are the only one of “your kind” in a sea of others? Would you feel safe?
What risks do you have in being the outsider that no one REALLY would be too upset about seeing you mistreated?
Who’s your chaperone? Who vouches for you as an outsider that’s okay?
Don’t let people be an outsider. Invite them in. Don’t hide from the awkward feeling. We’re all one big, extended family. Invite your distant cousin to sit with you. Hear a story, and do not worry that your life is different, or theirs is different.
Experience variety, not uniformity. Forgive the people who don’t do things “the right way” and above all else, remember the feeling of love. Feeling tense? Remember love. Frustrated? Overlay love. Angry? Love.
You can love without giving up what you need too. It just helps not give too much hassle to others who are probably feeling just as frustrated.
I may not always understand everything that’s going on, but you’re all my cousins. I hate to see you fight. Let’s get out of here and grab some food.