28 October 2011

Social Interactions

My posting of the flight experience is an example of what I deal with on an almost daily basis. Most of those types of experiences are not as blatant or as humiliating. Mostly, my mother and I only go to places where we know we are welcome, mostly Indian owned and operated casinos and businesses who welcome us.

Most of the social interactions I experience are on the level of waiting 5-10 minutes before being served, being followed by store personnel from the moment I enter a store to outright refusal to serve me accomplished by suddenly having to go on break. When I accompany my mother, it gets slightly worse if she is in a wheelchair. I've had similar experiences quite a few times with people actually shouting at my mother like she can't hear while towering over her in her chair, lecturing me like I'm a simpleton with no concept of how to take care of her, yelling at me that they hate it when someone doesn't do what they're supposed to meaning that they're right and I am wrong.

Now, my father has called me a radical since I was a teenager because I objected to this sort of treatment. He was born before the depression, my mom was born during the depression and I was born in the tail end of the baby boom. We grew up during turbulent decades: depression years, World War II years and Viet Nam War years. My father was sent to an Indian boarding school. My mother wasn't and she objected fiercely to any suggestion that her children be sent. Those growing up years determine how we each respond to discrimination, bigotry and hatred. Even when it's displayed by our own people. We're a loving, generous, and caring family who oftentimes go out of our way to help others.

We firmly believe in treating others as we'd like to be treated. We try very hard not to "treat others as we are being treated" when the treatment being received is negative in some manner. This is sometimes viewed as being a pushover by others. We do have limits on our patience. The difference in our responses shows at those times.

I have learned to walk away when my temper reaches the boiling point. I'd rather do that than deal with the consequences after the fact that I responded with violence or hurtful words. I'd be the one facing the judge in court even if I was defending myself. Sometimes, I do have to speak out. When I am tired and need time alone to recharge, I revert to my childhood mode of thinking where a simple gesture was often enough to express what takes many sentences in English.

With my own people, I must create pictures, images in a manner that corresponds to our native tongue. Often, there are no English words to help with that translation. Especially when vocabularies do not match. That same process causes complications when talking to others who don't have the same sorts of experiences. Twice I got out of my chair in order to be on the same level as the attendants. Attitudes quickly changed once I was standing. I was very disgusted upon learning the person who caused my problem bawled someone out when he was inconvenienced by a short delay.

You may want to reread Home at Last & II. I did get a comment from someone who made me smile about the whole thing. Miigwetch for that. When I can laugh about it, I'll have figured out what I needed to know.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments may or may not be accepted. Remember, there may be children reading my blog as it is public. Miigwetch. Thanks.