October 24, 2007

Racism

Posted in Uncategorized at 8: 14 pm by MK

I taught a class tonight at a public library on credit/debt management. There were 12 people in the class and seven were refugee-status Americans. The refugee office sent them my way because they could attend without needing a translator.

After the class a (non-refugee) woman lagged behind to tell me about her personal financial woes. After everyone had left the room she said, “So what were all those people doing here?” I said, “Excuse me?” She asked again, “Where were those people from?” I said, “I assume you were talking about the Burmese Americans in the class?” I then proceeded to give a brief explanation of how someone gets identified and defined as a refugee (one unable to return to his/her country due to war, danger, or persecution). She shook her head and said, “This country…I just don’t get it…accepting all these people and we can’t help our own.” I replied, “I guarantee you if you took the time to know any of the people in this room, or the struggles refugees go through you would feel very differently.” She said, “But what about the ones who come here and don’t work?” I said, “What about the Americans born here that don’t work?” I then encouraged her to become educated on refugee issues.

The sad part is I know there are a lot of people who think like this racist woman.

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