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Old Today, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
23,445 posts, read 10,715,524 times
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Originally Posted by TroutDude View Post
Unless, of course, they're gay and want equal treatment -- then it's Fundie Tantrum Time!
You beat me to it.
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Old Today, 02:28 PM
 
222 posts, read 31,838 times
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Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
Back in about 1960, when I was 11, our methodist church minister -- who had previously been the youth minister at Cornell University (which was about a 90 minute drive from our town) decided to encourage parishioners in our town to host foreign students (mostly African)...not on a live-in basis, since that was not practical, but for weekends, holidays, and vacations. It kicked off on a Thanksgiving day when my grandmother (whom I lived with) hosted a Kenyan student, an Indonesian student, and a Nigerian student for the day. The Kenyan student spend many holidays and vacations with us for over two years. His name was Stephen Machooka, and if you look him up on Google you'll find he was the first Kenyan long-distance runner to compete in the United States, and he became the first Black student-athlete to earn first-team All-Ivy League honors in cross country. My grandmother was on a civil rights kick of sorts. Another year...perhaps 1962 or 1963...when we went to visit my mother in Florida, my grandmother decided that as a family we should go to an all-Black church one Sunday. It was a mixed experience...some welcomed us, others were clearly nonplussed by our presence. But back to Stephen Machooka. Even though I was only 11-12 years old when Stephen was visiting us regularly, one day as I listened to my grandmother talking to him I suddenly realized what my grandmother always seemed to emphasizing, albeit subtlely: Aren't we wonderful for opening our home (and in going to the all-Black church) to these poor African/Black people. It was about her, when it really should have been about them. It was about inculcating the greatness of America -- and her religion -- on them. I remember one day one of the neighbors saying to her, "Someday when Stephen goes back to Africa, you can go visit him". "Oh no", she replied. "We couldn't do that!" Why the hell not?

A little over 20 years later, I began my almost yearly travels to Southeast Asia -- Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, a little bit of Indonesia, and mostly Thailand. I don't know why or how, but my goal in those travels (and eventually living in Thailand for a couple of years) wasn't about expressing to them wonderful things about America or christianity (I was still a christian...at least at first)...not something I had any desire to talk about. I wanted to learn from them. Learn about their way of life, their customs, their histories, their cultures. I don't remember a single time that my grandmother ever asked Stephen about Kenya and his culture.

I mention this all because of your comment about "the inherent good of Western intervention". We Americans (and I think at various times in history other Western nations) have an awful ego that we must fuel about how great we are and about how our cultural realities should be inculcated on other nations. It's really quite nauseating, especially because all too often it's not about "them"...it's about "us" needing to validate our beliefs about our own nation/culture. We don't take it as far as the sun never setting on the American empire, but we do take ourselves all too seriously.

At 70, looking back, I have few regrets. But one is that I never visited Stephen in Kenya, where he went back to. He became a lecturer of agricultural economics at two Kenyan universities, became Field Controller in the Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning, worked at the Pan African Institute of Development in Zambia as a consultant and senior researcher, and worked in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Swaziland, Malawi, Lesotho and Botswana. He later became the managing director of a non-profit organization that consulted with farmers about modern farming.
That was really interesting! Thank you for posting. That might explain why I cringe at some of those programs where you "sponsor a child." It's not that I have anything against sponsoring a child, but the whole narrative is that of the Western savior-hero. There is a good way to help others, and there is a selfish, vain way to help others, and it can be hard to discern one's motives.
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Old Today, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
23,445 posts, read 10,715,524 times
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Originally Posted by kmom2 View Post
That was really interesting! Thank you for posting. That might explain why I cringe at some of those programs where you "sponsor a child." It's not that I have anything against sponsoring a child, but the whole narrative is that of the Western savior-hero. There is a good way to help others, and there is a selfish, vain way to help others, and it can be hard to discern one's motives.
Agreed.
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