Tag: refugee

Off the Wall 010710

Series 2010 …

May 13: “This Could Ruin Our Summer”

May 6: Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

April 29: The Island Who Decides

April 22 (Earth Day): Mother Honor

April 14: Meta Nina

OFF THE WALL: Im willing to make a commitment to a weekly Essay every Thursday, however I can’t promise I’ll stay “on topic”, so it’ll be open-ended. I have a definite tendency to wander off and go on tangents (in case you haven’t noticed!). Sometimes, my thinking, and subsequent remarks, leapfrog and may seem like they are just Off The Wall. I’ll try to leave a trail in here. If I can stay on track for a while, my hope is to broaden, enlighten, and embrace my own, and yours, world view through review of world cultures and crises. (and maybe Ill learn to text wrap too. lol)

So. Here we go. heh.


My spark this week was from a great phone conversation with Diane G and we somehow got onto a topic of diversity, multi-cultural, etc. I forget how we even got started on that. But it made me realize that my life experiences have been anything but homogenious or culturally boring.

This subject, world cultures, is something that you could write about every week for a year and still not cover it. It’s …. complicated.  Even just with a normal-ish approach. However, you will not get a normal-ish approach to it from me!

For some inexplicable reason, I’ve always had a fascination with world cultures and variations of the human theme. It hits me from several angles. It’s fascinating, really. Then it morphs and extends into areas of human rights & justice, then global stuff, then ya know enlightenment and One Love and all that! (lol Pinky & the Brain: “And Tomorrow, Conquer the Worrrrrld!”) So, I’ll just see how this takes shape.

Aside from my B.A. in Cultural Anthropology, I mostly tap in to my personal experiences when I get into this arena. The degree thing, well, I’m not much of an academic and my poor Advisor had to constantly nudge me to take more on Theory. Poor guy.

I grew up in the 60’s & 70’s in neo-Miami, alongside a sizeable population* of Cuban refugees. (*approx 400,000 from 1960-1974) Strange city to grow up in. In some ways, a suburb of New York, but truly quite unique. Tourist town.  From there, a whole life’s worth of experiences. limited geographically but broad in other ways. Most notably, a year or so working in a refugee services agency (RSA) in 1992, grant-funded, unbelieveably challenging and an incredibly enriching time for me. Humbling. Profoundly humbling.

Most definitely not the first, but certainly the most profound “cross-cultural” experience was my interactions and friendships with a particular few Cambodian-Americans back in ’92. They stole won my heart. In my recent google-hunt, I came across this post which makes a statement that I’ve felt … in my bones …  for some years, but was never able to articulate as well as this woman does here. She cuts to the quick. This goes to the core of my activism.