The world does not have a place for everyone. The world does not automatically accept you on the basis that you exist. There are differences between individuals that make us stand out, that make us separate and therefore excluded from certain groups.I should get angry about people’s notions of me as a person but that is really their opinion and they are entitled to it. The world generally has views about everything and these views are different and dependent upon different aspects including but not limited to culture and background.
Society divides people. This is why there is racism, xenophobia and discrimination. All because of socially constructed differences. When you are a minority in any group, be it gender, race or sexuality you feel different, only because people around you…the majority, make you feel that way. Try as you may to fit in…you will always be an outsider looking in.
I sound negative. But so far my experience of being a black girl in Ireland has shown me how society is built. When I was back in South Africa where I stayed for almost ten years I did not feel this strongly or perceive society in this way. But that was different because I had never been on the other side. I was part of the majority, even though I was of a different nationality and tribe. My problems were different (xenophobia and structural racism at work in Cape Town). Now I am more aware than I have ever been of how society brings about alienation and unequal power relations because when you do not fit in, you are automatically designated to being “other”. And you can feel it no matter how hard you try to ignore it.
I should be angry that the simple act of looking for a part-time job in Ireland lends some the opportunity to assume I might be interested in pornography or nude modelling. I struggle to know why this is so…the only compliments I get are “you are so exotic”. Having a different look in a small town where there is a handful of brown people makes me exotic? Why not assume that I am here to pursue my academic goals in this country which I actually happen to be doing right now with my Masters in Social Policy. All I get are questions of why I am here so far away from home…always in a tone of “poor you”…No one cares to know the full story of why I am actually here.
This is in no way a criticism of all Irish people. I do not generalise. I am simply commenting on the observations I have made and experiences I have had whilst being in this place and from a position of being a visitor in a foreign land. Call it culture shock. It has led me to look at the differences in society and how they perpetuate oppression of people as well as how the “other” is a socially constructed notion.
I am aware now that society is a place where once you are different, you are either perceived as a threat(think xenophobia mindset) or you are considered with a mix of curiosity and a certain ignorance that is baffling. But I will observe some more in the interests of finding out whether real integration is possible or it is just a myth. I would hate for people to form superficial relationships based on curiosity and not a real need or love for human race as ONE!!!
On a positive note though…