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I recently travelled to a section of the city that I’ve never really been to before. I got the distinct impression that because I wasn't a member of the local ethnic group currently living there that the niceties were going to be nonexistent. Cold stares, rolled eyes, if I was even acknowledged at all. Did I hear even one "excuse me?" when I was bumped into or pushed past? Nope.
This leads me to ask, how do any of us treat people who are not a part of our group (ethnically, economically, educationally, linguistically, geographically, etc.)? We’d all like to think we’re generous and kind to strangers but are we really? It’s human nature to tribalize and exclude anyone we perceive as “other.” I’m sure it’s a trait that has developed for survival. But if it’s not a matter of life and death how do we reconcile our natural instincts with the extension of the most basic of common courtesies to our fellow human beings? Is a smile really too much to ask?
I guess what troubles me is that I’ve travelled around the world and have been treated far better than I was not more than 15 miles from my house. I wasn’t expecting a welcome to the neighborhood party … well ok… maybe just a little one with ice cream and cake, a DJ, a few balloons. I am loath to judge a group by the actions of a few… many… most, but what’s a girl to think?
Perhaps that when I’m on the other side all comfy and cocky in my tribe I need to be more mindful. Culture is cool but we’re sharing a planet here, people. Can we focus on our commonalities and curb the hostility? Please?
The Urban Erma, the longest running column on StageTimeMagazine.com, was created and written by stand-up comedian Leighann Lord. Listen to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. If you enjoy The Urban Erma please leave a comment, Like it on Facebook, follow on Twitter, And share it with your friends. (Share it with people who are not your friends and maybe they will be.) TheUrbanErma@gmail.com Get her free e-books of The Great Spanx Experiment and Sometimes I Wish Facebook Had a Hate Button.