When I was 11, my family moved toEthiopia, on the Horn of Africa, for four years. I soon learned the language and it quickly became obvious to me that we’re all the same, and we all want the same things from life.
The advent of Facebook revealed that some, but not all of my former school mates came away similarly impacted. “Great White Hope-ism” and primitivism still occur, subconsciously or not so much, amongst all of us raised in the Global North, and I personally never considered there can be an end to my own growth.
I credit travel, my parents’ and family’s encouragement to question authority, and learning the language and culture of my hosts as important factors in my early discovery of our universal commonalities.
I believe humans probably generate adequate capital to educate every parent and every child born in a similar manner, if we stopped spending it on war and self-aggrandizement.
Until a day when such a utopian ideal could be achieved, I think something actually doable is to create such opportunities by the millions, for as many young people as possible. Opportunities to meet, live and work with diverse Others in extraordinarily meaningful ways, on genuine shared problems, in an evolutionary redesign of international exchange programs. With 21st century collaboration these could go on to create a 21st century “peace corps” no longer under the spectre of colonialism and white supremacy.
For such a movement to gain traction to the point of having impact it would still require massive mind shifts and reallocation of resources, and like such efforts would meet overwhelming resistance every step of the way.
So let’s get started.