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what we say about the others

Noi despre ceilalti

Pe vremea cand eram inca la universitate am avut un curs foarte interesant care se intitula “Noi despre ceilalti”. Mi-a sunat un pic ciudat la inceput. Veneam dintr-o copilarie in care crescusem printre oameni foarte interesanti. In timpul scolii generale aveam colegi din China, Coreea de Nord, SUA si Israel, si toti studiam in limba Engleza. Cred ca din cauza acestei interactiuni de la varste fragede nu m-am gandit niciodata la diversitatea rasiala sau sa ma fi uitat diferit la acesti oameni fata de colegii romani.

Dar cursul de la facultate m-a ajutat sa studiez un pic mai profund subiectul in istoria noastra ca tara. Am avut si ajutorul unui om foarte simpatic care reprezenta o comunitate etnica din Romania. Mi-a dat niste carti care descriau felul in care romanii se uitau la alte etnii inca din perioada medievala. Era o lume noua pe care abia o descopeream. Nu stiam ca rasismul nostru data de atatea secole. Credeam ca este efectul cercului inchis al societatii comuniste. Totusi era o tendinta europeana inca din vremuri medievale pe care am urmarit-o si noi. Apoi am inceput sa inteleg importanta cronicilor vechi despre tarile romane. Era un punct de vedere in acele scrieri lipsite de sens. A iesit o lucrare in care am pus foarte mult suflet si s-a dovedit folositoare in educatia mea. Mi-a deschis o perspectiva cu totul noua si m-a invatat despre diversitatea culturala si importanta ei in contextul dezvoltarii europene.

Astazi, in contextul globalizarii, cand cetatenii prefera sa se numeasca cetateni ai lumii mai bine decat sa depinda de o anumita natiune, fiul meu are sanse mari sa vada nationalitati diferite chiar in parcul de langa casa. Sunt fericita sa il vad cum se integreaza perfect. Este speriat de barbi si de palarii, dar nu are nicio problema cu alte etnii sau oameni de alta culoare. Imi place sa cred ca nu suntem nascuti rasisti, dar devenim asa din motive de frica. Trebuie sa intelegem de ce apartinem si ce ne face speciali, diferiti de ceilalti si cum sa relationam cu vecinii nostri sau cu alti “straini”. Imi doresc ca fiul meu sa invete despre diversitatea culturala si sa se integreze in aceasta societate multiculturala fara sa isi piarda propria identitate.

What About The Others?

While studying at the University I had a very interesting course called “How we see the others”. I found the title kind of strange at first. I had a very diverse cultural background as I grew up among many interesting people. During gymnasium I had colleagues from China, North Korea, USA and Israel, and we were all studying in English. I guess because of this interaction I never thought about race diversity or looked at these guys any different than our Romanian colleagues.

But the university course made me go into a deeper study. I had a highly appreciated help from a very nice man representing an ethnic community in Romania. He gave me a bunch of books which described the way Romanians looked at other ethnicities since medieval times. It was a whole new world I was discovering. I had no idea our racism dated back so many centuries ago. I thought it was the effect of the closed circle of the communist society. Yet it was a European trend since Medieval days and we have aligned to that. Then I finally began to understand even the importance of old chronicles about Romanian states. It was a whole new point of view in some “non-sense writings”. It turned into a piece of work I have put a lot of heart into and turned out to be very useful to my education. It opened up a very different perspective and taught me cultural diversity and its importance in the European development.

Nowadays, in the context of globalization, when the citizens prefer to call themselves citizens of the world rather than belonging to a certain nation, my son has a big chance of seeing different nationalities even in our park. I am happy to see him blend in. He is scared of hats and beards, but he has no problem with other ethnicities or different skin colours. I love to think we are not born racist, but we become such because of our fears. What is it exactly we are afraid of? We are afraid of exactly the unknown. We have to understand what is it we belong to, what makes us special or different and how we relate to our neighbors or other “strangers”. I wish my son could learn about cultural diversity and to integrate in such a multicultural society without losing his own identity.

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