Thursday, October 4, 2012

Third Culture Kid

So far, I have noticed that the majority of our blog posts have been very much centralized around consumerism. Although what we eat, what we buy, and how we entertain ourselves are important in the contexts of globalization, glocalization and different subcultures, it is also necessary to examine one of the most important aspects of this cycle of human nature which is, of course, ourselves. I have to admit I did chose to discuss this because I love to talk about myself and am maybe a little egocentric (although not ethnocentric!) but I also think it is important that we examine why different people are attracted to certain subcultures, or how we can relate to others around us in a globalized environment. I myself, as a Third Culture Kid, am a product of globalization and often have issues identifying with certain groups whether it be in terms of religion, nationality, language and accents, or just general social groups. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself when people as me ‘where are you from?’ and I panic as to what to tell them, but on the other hand, it is nice to be able to be somewhat of a nomad when it comes to traveling and experiencing different cultures as I have no real attachment to a specific place and am always eager to adapt to new cultures.
This reminded me of a brief section of our reading, which mentioned supermarkets of style, and shopping for subcultural identities. For me, often traveling and settling in many different places, I end up trying out different groups, fashions and identities until I find some sense of belonging. When I lived in Singapore, I was very active in the middle school cheerleading and dance scene, and yet in Qatar I was more inclined towards socializing with very diverse groups of people, some of whom have pink hair and wear studded jackets.
Some view this bouncing back and forth between countries, cultures and subcultures as an inability to fit in and a sense of being an outcast. Yet I feel my ability to blend in and look at these different subcultures from a more external perspective helps me understand people better in terms of why they do what they do, whether it is due to a deviance and resistance issue, or a conflict of power between different groups.
Skip to 0:55 to avoid the sappy poem - and learn more about the melodramatic lives of these Third Culture Kids
Additionally, something that I always find intriguing is how certain people in Qatar react to my white-ness. I suppose it has something to do with the notion of white privilege, but from my experiences, this has not been a positive thing especially being a girl, I face a combination of racism, sexism, and also being idolized due to my skin color (which is always awkward).
Friends sometimes comment on how lucky I am to be white because my parents aren’t strict, or that I can drink and do whatever I want, but I also get harassed by some people who label me as being ‘a whore because you’re white’ or having police officers and really creepy Lebanese men constantly ask me which part of ‘Amreeka’ I am from.
My favorite comments, which I get a lot of, have to do with my freckles, which aren’t even that obvious. “You have dirt on your face”, “there’s something on your nose”, “do you want something for your sun spots?”, “when did you get that skin disease?” Mostly these comments come from Arabs and East Asians, which amuses me because really - have they never seen a white girl with freckles before? Imagine what will happen if they see a ginger. When this happens, I have to remind myself that not everybody subjects themselves to, or are open to the idea of globalization and different subcultures. I suppose certain areas of Qatar, or places where they are coming from, are not as globalized and full of western expatriates as you would expect.

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