Special-ism

Announcing HYBRID AMBASSADORS: a blog-ring project of Dialogue2010

You met our multinational cultural innovators this spring in a roundtable discussion of hybrid life at expat+HAREM. Now in these interconnected blog posts some of them share reactions to a recent polarizing book promotion at the writing network SheWrites. Join the discussion on Twitter using #HybridAmbassadors or #Dialogue2010

I am special. I really am.

I’m from a small country. That makes me special, there are only so many of us out there.

This small country has still made a large impact on several nations in this world; generations of immigrants have sired children eager to get in touch with the ‘auld sod’. These immigrants, while special, were not always welcomed for it.

Ireland has known more than it’s fair share of division. Beliefs running deeper than blood sometimes; political, religious, ideological. The wounds are still barely covered by a paper-thin skin.

I live in a country that has not experienced a flood of Irish immigrants, though a trickle of holiday makers arrive every year. That I live permanently makes me special.

Turkey has known it’s fair share of division. Ethnicity and religion again the cause of strife. This is a gaping wound, still bleeding profusely.

That I married into a rich and varied culture at a global crossing point, makes me special.

Surviving the culture clash this inevitably involves leaves me living as a hybrid, a foot in several worlds. That I can accommodate several points of view makes me special.

Yet I am part of lots of groups.

Group me with Irish, with Turkish, with expats, with writers, with mothers, with entrepreneurs, with women, with family, with friends. Group me with inspiring, uplifting people with whom I can have a meaningful dialogue.

Do not group me purely for skin-deep reasons.

Do not perpetuate those stereotypes you claim to despise.

Do not make the mistake that nameless, faceless commercial interests do. Do not alienate me by grouping me for superficial reasons.

Do not demean our uniqueness by whitewashing our differences with broad labels.

More thoughts on this subject from my fellow HYBRID AMBASSADORS:

Sezin Koehler’s Whites Only?

Rose Deniz’s Voice Lessons from a Hybrid Ambassador

Anastasia Ashman’s Great White People Book Club

Tara Lutman Agacayak’s Circles

Catherine Bayar’s Thicker Skin

Jocelyn Eikenburg’s The Problem with “Chinese Food”

Judith van Praag’s We Write History Today

Elmira Bayraslı’s The Color of Writing