When we are young we tend not to notice the physical or visual aspects that set us apart. It is not until much later that outer influences such as media, community or social contexts create divides or an awareness of these differences. When diving into module six, “Race and Identity in the Digital Age” the topics within the readings and videos really resonated with our group. We decided to share a scenario based on a group members diverse and challenging background.
I grew up as a third culture kid. Some of you may not recognise that term and it isn’t how I identified myself until late into my teen years. I was born and raised in a small country called Malawi in Africa and although my childhood and experiences were rich and exciting I will never truly be African. I hold a Canadian passport and have lived in Canada for many years now but it was not where I was born or where I grew up. I will never truly feel Canadian. So, I linger in the third culture, which means I have aspects of both these significantly different worlds deep rooted in me.
There were moments I felt extremely isolated on both continents. Not having the right color of skin or being labeled “Mzungu” meaning foreigner in a country I had always assumed was my home. Being told, I don’t belong there and I should leave their land and go back to my real home. Arriving in Canada not understanding their interests or hobbies. Being made fun of because I didn’t have the same “cool clothes” or cell phones as everyone else. Listening to jokes, music or movies and not being able to relate or sometimes even understand the context. Crying in the grocery store when I couldn’t find the one toothpaste brand I recognized in the sea of 60 options available. Feeling lost and overwhelmed by the environment I was now supposed to call home.
Media and the culture around media directly affected so many aspects of my life. Whether it was a direct visual like seeing posters of girls dressed in clothes i didn't have access to or the lack of connection to media and feeling left out of the loop. Looking back now i would have found great value in being noticed or included. If i had the opportunity to search for like minded people to share my story with or to find some way to connect. A network of people or positive media forms to identify with to help close the gap i was always feeling.
Thanks for Reading,