What is the standard?

12:41:00 AM BB 0 Comments

When I say “I’ve never seen Dirty Dancing, any Aflred Hitchcock movie, any Star Wars film, the Die Hard series, the Terminator movies, that dancing one Kevin Beacon is famous for, Top Gun, a James Bond movie, etc”, you should see the look on people’s faces. Black people who have immersed themselves in dominant culture kinda give me a “really?” look, but white people are simply flabbergasted. They’re confused, lost, sometimes offended. But then if I ask them “well, have you seen Coming To America, Crooklyn, Lean On Me, Raisin In The Sun, Do The Right Thing, School Daze, Harlem Nights, Women of Brewster Place, The Color Purple, etc”, those same white people seem taken back that they would have been expected to see those films/play.
It’s like this entitlement to have your cultural phenomena known and appreciated when you clearly refuse to even acknowledge the contributions of others.
Not only do people of color tend to be intimately familiar with the cultural tastes of white people while having our cultural contributions ignored when not being appropriated, we’re expected to… and that’s where I have a problem.

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The quote above is something to think about. When we consider the various ways diversity presents itself, one cannot deny that there is a hierarchy. A hierarchy that determines who and what is important and valuable. This hierarchy is probably more obvious to people originally from the Global South who feel like they constantly have to educate people about their experiences.

I remember moving to North America almost 5 years ago, and wondering why I was expected to know so many North American cultural references. My African, specifically West African cultural references are no less important, but people here were unaware about them. This made me feel like my cultural roots were not as valuable i.e. devalued.

There should be no expectation that I should know things about a culture that is foreign to me. Culture and life experiences should not be held up to a certain standard in order to be deemed valuable. It follows that North America is not the standard the rest of the world should be judged by. I believe that it is truly rewarding to step out of our comfort zones and seek to learn respectfully from people and experiences that we consider different. 


Thanks for keeping your comments thoughtful and concise :)