Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Shifting Homeland: Homeland in Relation to Past Experience

          Imaginary Homelands touched on the idea of a multicultural identity that is not fully incorporated by into any of them.  As an Indian formerly from Bombay, he sees himself as Indian, especially as he looks at his memories through the "shattered mirror", but at the same time he very much sees himself as British and loves living in England.  This multicultural identity is, however, strained by the fact that, at times, he feels like he does not have a present homeland in either country. To this effect he talks about the reception of his book in Indian and how it was poorly reviewed, because, he implies, that he is not Indian to the subcontinent's inhabitants, or at least he does not have the right to talk about India in the same way a true Indian can.  On the other side, the author does not always feel entirely a part of England because he is seen as different, e.i. when he is being interviewed and is asked if he accepts the word "wog", which is a person who is not white.  Instead of allowing this struggle to either break him and become a part of neither culture or conform completely to one culture, he takes a page from many black American writers in how they both retain their personal identity as black, not always necessarily as "African", and their identity as American.  This is a sentiment shared by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
          Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shares a similar multicultural identity as Rushdie, that he is a proud member of the "Negro community", but wishes to also be an American, as he feels he is one.  The government of America sought to make a single tale of what an American is, primarily a white individual that ethnically heralded from western Europe, which excluded those who have given much to American culturally and otherwise, in this case the black community.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sought to recreate the American tale into a multi volume edition that did not just include ethnically western European white people, but people of all nationalities and creed, including the black community.  This was not just in response to the poor treatment of the black community, though it was an important driving factor, but to the fact that the black community found it nearly impossible to find pride in their American identity because, logistically, they were excluded from being American.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the avenue of education to bring this single tale into light and ultimately rewrite it and this in many ways is Jesuit ideals put into action as Kolvenbach talks about in his manifesto on Jesuit service in faith.
          The Jesuits, in America particularly but also worldwide, have always focused on aiding the poor and in the process spreading the message of Christianity, but Kolvenbach looks at the shift in mission objectives during a meeting of the Society after Vatican II.  The mission switched primarily in that it did not hold the spreading of Christ in the same regard as it once did, instead it switched much of its resources to education and the spreading of faith and love, non-denominational ideals that were highly valued by Jesus.  Through education, the Jesuits sought to unite the individual self, the communal self, and the world self into one conscious being.  That is to say that through each of these selves we learn more about the whole, thus through community service and awareness we not only help those in our local or global communities, but also develop our person through discernment.These three interrelated articles actually touch very closely to me in both being and in belief.
          In my younger years I traveled much more than most people travel in their lives and by living out my developmental years mostly abroad, I found myself in a very awkward place when I settled down for high school.  I was use to bowing to elders in Japan, listening to the Islamic call to prayer in Jerusalem at the wee hours of the morning out of my window in the King David Hotel, and drinking coffee with my brother and the local village women when I was in Ethiopia.  Suffice to say that readjusting to life in America was a difficult task and it broke me.  I was anxious all the time and even though I physically fit in being a middle class white man, i could not have felt farther from my peers.  It wasn't until I went to a private school because I couldn't fit into public school that I felt at home.  So many cultures were bouncing around in my mind a soul and it was at this private school that I could once again feel at home because this was no ordinary private school.  The school I went to had people right off the boat from Korea, Ghana, Peru; and those who were not directly from another country were many times first or second generation.  Even though I was one of three in my graduating class that was white, I have never felt so comfortable.
         It was a hard transition to Loyola for that reason because it felt like I was back in public school with all the white NY/NJ niches dominating the school, but even here i found the culture I needed, mostly in the city of Baltimore itself.  Red lining was/is a horrible practice, but it truly has made a very charming and unique city.  I can walk from Little Italy to Little El Salvador in a matter of blocks and experience completely different cultures.  Even right off campus, I can sit on the steps of CVS and talk to a lady who was hit my a bus a week or two ago who's down on her luck talking about her crazy daughter who won't buy a pair of shoes under $100.  It's these experiences here and abroad that makes me who I am and its these moment of communication that bring me a sense of home.  I do not think of myself as Japanese, Israeli, Ethiopian, or American; I consider my home to be wherever I can sit down and share communicable experience even for a moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment