day nineteen: the mask that is Southern hospitality… or how to be a racist and get away with it

Phantom Mask

Image by sjsharktank via Flickr

Regular readers of this blog might well remember that I have written a few posts about a dear friend who lives in Turkey.  What you may not realize is that I’ve have an ongoing disagreement with my grandmother centering around my desire to become fluent in Turkish. Why you may ask  should my grandmother even feel entitled to having a say about how I choose to further my own education.The short answer dear friends is that she should not, at the age of 25 most people would say that I have earned the right to be the architect of my own life or the most part.  However because she was originally listed as the executor of a trust fund my great-grandfather originally set up for me, even though I have long since past the age at which I gained sole control over it she oftentimes chooses to ignore that fact and only remember it when she feels it is convenient.I first requested the Rosetta Stone Turkish program almost 3 years ago now when my friend originally invited me to attend his wedding in the reasonably near future  My friend is college-educated and has more than a fair grasp of the English language as does his fiancée but it is also a reasonable assumption that the older members of his family, grandparents etc. may not. I refuse to be present at such an important event in my friend’s life  and not be able to converse well with all his extended family,whether they speak English or not, to do otherwise would be rude and disrespectful to him and his family.  My grandmother helped raise me, she taught me to be polite and considerate of everyone’s feelings, in spite of race, creed, or color.  However since 9/11I believe that in her fear of things unknown she has internally given herself permission to be  just a little less fair to people of Middle Eastern descent The Rosetta Stone computer program costs only about a hundred bucks. Since my original request she has agreed let me use my money to buy a special hand driven bike and a papered Miniature Horse and yet refuses adamantly a simple piece of language learning software, which I can assure you costs far less then either of the previously mentioned items did.  She says she won’t because learning Turkish has no practical application in today’s job market. So far my response that Middle Eastern languages are second  in the demand for interpreters only to Chinese, a fact which I know to be true because it came out of the mouth of a very well-respected professor in the language department of the University which I used to attend, has fallen on  ears. I am left to draw one conclusion, my grandmother, a woman who in most cases would give you the shirt off her back or the last piece of food in her refrigerator, is, at least subconsciously a racist.  Andrew Lloyd Webber is correct I suppose.We all wear masks, the most painful thing some of us will ever have to do is uncover the truth hidden behind them.

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4 thoughts on “day nineteen: the mask that is Southern hospitality… or how to be a racist and get away with it

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