Originally posted Jan. 30, 2012, at CoBBlog. Republished with permission of the author.
After a weekend with the interns of Concordia, Moorhead’s Office of Intercultural Affairs, the third annual Power in Diversity Leadership Conference (held at St. Cloud University) was a smashing success — despite driving through a blizzard, missing a few sessions and getting lost after filling the gas tank.
I particularly enjoyed the diversity, coming from the boring, mono-ethnic culture of Fargo/Moorhead.
One of the many things I realized at the conference is how much race affects everyone on a daily basis. Being at the conference, where White people were suddenly the minority, I also realized how much race affects me.
Let me try to clarify. In every community setting, it is very natural to try to fit in. I have been surrounded by White people since the day I was born; the idea of having an all Asian network of friends and co-workers is something I just cannot fathom.
When I told new friends about my upbringing, they couldn’t understand my situation at all. Because of these differing viewpoints, there is a divide in culture even between cities that are three hours apart. Astounding, isn’t it?
Even at the conference, where there was so much racial diversity, I still did not fit in comfortably. Why? Because I knew that I did not have that sense of unity with different people of the same race.
Race not only unites but also divides.
I may be Chinese-American on the outside, but on the inside I am white as snow.
Overall, the sessions were powerful, and the speakers equally as influential. I particularly enjoyed Tim Wise, who spoke about “color-consciousness.” That, and the concurrent session on becoming an ally against racial discrimination (even racial jokes are a form of racism!) were memorable.
I hope to be able to come back to Concordia and influence the ways of thinking back home. Cultural acceptance is becoming more and more important.
Find a link to Amy Tran’s entry on the blog CoBBlog at Lutheran Blogs.