In my parent’s neighbourhood, there is a Uighur family who sets up a food stall to sell naan. Their 2-year-old kid often runs around the stall, with reddish and dirty face. They live in the community but little people know what are their names, what brought them to leave home, how is life for them. Everyday many people pass-by but few people stop-by.
Being in an online master’s program as a minority I start to think about this Uighur family. There are a lot in common between their situation and my situation. Being a non Canadian, non K-12 school teacher in my current online master program of educational technology by a Canadian university makes me standout. Like the Uighur family, we are both in an environment whose primary language, dominant culture, majority of participants differ from those of our origin. We will find it challenging to blend in and be part of a participants of a interest group (online or offline).
So what do we do about it? I feel we ourselves have as much responsibility as the environment around us. Make greetings, ask questions, showing curiosity and rapport are ways we ought to try. Would it work? Would our environment have duty to help us blend in as well? If so to which degree?
Next time when I go to my parents’ neighbourhood, I would very much like to say hi to the Uighur family that sells naan bread.