Friday, March 5, 2010
A Great Conversation Summary...
I hated how the length of the conversation I had with my roommate looked on the blog. So I decided to delete it. However! I DO want to summarize the points that she and I mentioned.
First of all, let me give you the setting that invited this intense conversation. While Gloria and I were in the room, one of our hall mates came into the room and began speaking to me about her plans to go on a mission trip to Jamaica. In addition to the trip, she began speaking to me about how she wants to devote her life to helping others, especially in impoverished countries. She spoke about her disdain of our current global situation, and her desires to try to bring awareness to the different conflicts that plague others. She spoke sincerely, and kind-heartedly. However, while she was speaking, my skepticism and criticism of her grew.
The thing is that I have heard the exact phrases she used time and time again, but by other people. And what were some of the characteristics of these "other" people? They, like she were white, female, young, college-aged, religious, middle-class. Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with anyone who shares those characteristics, but this is a pure GENERALIZATION of what I have seen. Consequently, as this one particular hall-mate of mine spoke, I was reminded of the countless other females I had encountered who had told me their goals of helping impoverished peoples as well.
Immediately what I thought was: "Oh, here comes another rich white girl who wants to go to an impoverished country, work with little orphan children, and come back and say how 'life-changing' her experience was." I know, I know, how cynical of me! But I only came to that conclusion because I have already seen it done SOOOO many times. I was angered. And actually, I still am angered to a certain degree.
Let me be real. You know what I don't like about some of "those" girls is that they view going on these "life-saving" trips as a checklist on their "How-to-be-a-better-person checklist". The thing that angers me is that many times they go to these countries not knowing a thing about the people, their culture, their struggles, and their point of view. Additionally, it is pity they show instead of genuine concern. You see, if many of "those" girls were GENUINELY concerned, they would have begun their research and their dedication to a cause at HOME. Ask yourself, how can a person who lusts over "GOING TO AFRICA!" and "HELPING POOR AFRICANS" be effective in their endeavor if they don't speak to, spend time with, or learn about "AFRICANS" on a daily basis?
Oooh it frustrates me so much! And unfortunately I believe that I unfairly took out my frustration on the dear hall-mate of mine. I was tired of seeing countless ignorant people wanting to "change the world", when THEY themselves needed to change their way of thinking! More so, what so many people DO NOT understand is that sure these programs help certain people for a little while, but once they leave, the people they initially came to help revert to their old ways of living, which means STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE. You know what REAL change involves? It involves DEDICATION. Dedication and time that many people are not willing to devote.
More so, I do not like the way these trips promote stereotypes of people in developing countries. Not all of we "Africans", "South Americans", or "East Asians" need the great 'white saint' to come and save us. Do you know what we need? We need money. We need better infrastructure in our countries. We need CONSTANT publicity about our plans, not just when it is convenient. Ugh.
You see? Unfortunately all these emotions swelled up when I was talking to her. And, honestly, I let her have it. I kind-of grilled her. I un-fairly did, but all I wanted was for she to reflect upon her reasons for going to Jamaica and her desires to help other people. Is it because of a religious obligation? Moral obligation?
So this is my official apology hall-mate. Not of the points I mentioned or the ideas I brought up, but of the way I did so. I did not mean to grill you. I wanted you to think. And like I said to you before, start your process of change on a local level. Genuinely learn to love and care not just about the people you want to help, but of their culture. And please, the LAST thing we minority peoples need is pity. And lastly, maintain your dedication to whatever endeavor you embark upon. That is the ONLY way you will see the change you desire. And I sincerely want you to enjoy your trip to Jamaica. Be safe, and be happy.
That is all.