Stop Classifying People, Start Telling Stories

Mt Si, Washington

Those Chinese, Indian, Hispanic, Somalian, Congonese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Norwegian, etc etc. people that you see in numbers and label as simply “foreign”. Their stories are similar: they are here for a better life, they are here supporting their families, and maybe they’re here so see how the United States works on a deeper level structurally and culturally. These might include starting a business, how to work with different people groups, and so on.

But little, I think, do we whom call ourselves ‘from here’ go beyond those classifying thoughts. Scarcely do we think about each person’s journey to even get to the point where they could be sitting across the table from you, sipping a Starbucks latte and talking American politics. Sure, the United States is a land of opportunity. But it’s also made up a ridiculous number of people with stories of their own individual journeys, their struggles, and their successes; not only while they’re here, but also getting here.

There are so many people that have not been outside their own country, their culture, and their comfort zone. What reason is there to? A couple of months ago, I told a friend of mine that in the future I’d like to move away from my hometown in the Pacific Northwest, he replied, “Why would you ever want to move away? The PNW has all you could ever need and it’s beautiful here.” He might be showing his youth with that reply, but he is right. The PNW is beautiful, friendly, great place to raise a family, opportunity rich, and an all around great place to live. The PNW is right.

But how right is it? For what reasons is it right? Those are up to the individual and their story. My story just happens to be different. The place that is right is the place that fuels my passion for the art of adapting. Perhaps that will change as I age, settle down, and have children. Right now I am inspired by those young and old who jump at the opportunity for adventure. Not because it’s safe or normal, but because it’s scary, new, and wonderful. To some people, being uncomfortable and learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable is both enriching and moving. Like the skydiver whose every human instinct is telling them that jumping out of a plane into thin air is wrong, so must the seekers push themselves to jump into the realms of the unknown.

There are few people who inspire me more than those families who have immigrated from their own countries, cultures, and family members for the prospects of a better future for themselves and their kids. These are the stories that I think should be told.

Do you have a story like this you want to share?

Share it with me! I might just re-share it on the blog for crustaceans to read. 🙂