Cultural Clash


Nuance number four came up at the wedding reception last night.

Weddings are always interesting because you end up sitting with a group of people you don’t know, and are forced into a small-talk situation for the duration of meal.  Think about it.  Where else would you walk into a restaurant setting, and randomly join a table of six for dinner?  Wedding receptions.

Naturally, the “so how do you know so and so,” and “what do you do for a living” questions come up and when I discussed my residency in the US, the standard CanAM debate ensued.  For those Americans who do not know, Canada is one proud little country who recognizes that they are above a world super power but refuse to acquiesce to inferiority.  Instead, we focus on the things we do better…milk in a bag, chocolate, health care, to name a few.

Those were not part of last nights discussion.  Instead, the idea of “race” came up.  My cousins wedding was very multi-cultural, something not uncommon for anyone from my home and native land; but we acknowledged that a wedding officiated by an Indian, with African brides maids and a smattering of other cultures on the guest list might be considered, at the very least, odd in parts of the US.

That fact is so foreign to me. Multi-cultural was how I was raised.  I was the minority in my high school, and my first best friend growing up was Janelle Josephs; a tall beautiful black girl who I would love to  meet up with again someday.  She ended up moving to Newmarket when we started high school and we lost touch.  As I told that story at dinner last night, the couple that got stuck at our table (a beautiful Indian woman and Caucasian male), echoed my Canadian childhood memories: color was something that was just acknowledged as different in the same way we might notice someones hair or eye color is different from our own.  Yet, as we exchanged stories about travels through the US (particularly in the south), we found ourselves in the midst of racial discord and incredible unaware of the cultural clash as it was not part of the fabric of our Canadian lives.

Something that was said before dessert arrived was, “We (Canadians) may have our issues, but thankfully that just isn’t one of them.”

I will never forget what a woman said to me during my undergrad in VA.  Towards of the end of our conversation, she looked at me and said, “You don’t see color, do you?”

I see it, but to me, it is what makes humanity beautiful.

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One thought on “Cultural Clash

  1. Even the difference between the Northern and Southern U.S. is profound. I think that, unfortunately, the issue has become so programmed into the culture that it will never go away, because everyone reflexively holds onto it at some level. Sad…very sad.

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