Hi guys 🙂
Sorry for my absence of late, exciting things are ahead so I was rather busy living my life and working out some stuff concerning my future. Anyway, I will not get into further details here yet and try to get straight to my actual topic I want to touch upon. What I want to talk about is identity-Who are we, what do we see ourselves as and what are we considered by others?
I obviously think that mixed raced people or children of immigrants are affected by this issue a lot stronger than I a. Still, I have been confronted by this on a smaller scale quite a few times as well, as probably everyone has. I grew up in Upper Austria, where pretty much everyone speaks the Upper Austrian/Bavarian dialect and embraces it. For some reason, however, my brothers and I never picked up on it despite our parents even talking in dialect. Due to me always speaking differently than anyone else, I was always mistaken for someone from either Germany or the Vienna area. It still happens to me now when I am home. For example, when I go to a night club in Linz and my group of friends gets to know someone there and they ask us where we are from, the people never believe me when I say that this is my hometown. In Vienna, the same thing happens though, as well as when I am in Germany. To tell the truth, I have been pretty frustrated by this and it made me question my identity quite often in the past: No one seemed to consider me “one of them”, I was regarded as a foreigner no matter where, even in my birthplace. That is probably the reason why I feel so comfortable speaking in a foreign language. When I speak English or French, I simply have a German accent for the person I am talking to-they obviously do not cannot make out any further distinction. This makes it somehow easier for me to approach people-they roughly know where I am from and do not question my heritage any further.
Despite me reflecting a lot on identity due to my experiences, I cannot imagine how much harder it is for children of immigrants or mixed race people to figure out that issue. Most of them have been born in for example Austria and consider it their home since they have never lived anywhere else. By the population in their home country, however, they are regarded as foreigners, Turks, Bosnian or any other nationality they probably do not identify with. Or concerning mixed race people: While it can be awesome and incredibly enriching to be part of two cultures, those people will most likely not be regarded as one of them by both countries or cultures. The realization to be torn between two cultures and not quite fitting into each of them can be tough mentally, for children and adults alike. The people who never had to go through this internal struggle are probably not even aware of it-that’s why I am writing this blogpost: To make you all conscious of the issue a lot of people in our globalized world are going through.
So I encourage you all to do one thing: Treat everyone you meet, regardless of their possible foreign looks, as one of us. Otherwise, we are excluding other and building an invisible barrier for them when they possibly want to be part of your “group”.