Ever notice that someone might look different? Ever notice that someone learns the material in a different way? Or that someone is somehow able to remember everything they read?
On a daily basis, one might say that others look different because they have a different background. Maybe they are born in another region, with different parents, and who speak another language. Simple, right?
Not to everyone.
Among kids, I notice that they don’t think as we do (not yet, anyways). When they see someone who’s taller, wider, skinnier, darker, paler, speaks another language – anyone who’s different, a lot of them will start to ask questions.
As someone in Sociology, it might be exciting to see kids wanting to understand more of the diversity in the small world around them. But from their point of view, they might not have seen anyone who was that different from them.
When they do ask such questions, sometimes the adult tells them to take it back & apologize, as though they meant an insult in asking that.
When I was asked why I was Chinese, I told the child that the answer would be a very long one. However, it is indeed a good question – for someone of whom that doesn’t have any relatives who are actually from China, why am I Chinese? It would make for an interesting sociological study, but for the child, he was told that it’s because my relatives from long ago are from China (close enough, I would think).
Back in the adult world, those kind of questions are rarely asked, maybe because we’ve all had similar experiences as the child mentioned before. Maybe we don’t ask those questions because we’re afraid to be taken the wrong way or that we would be seen as rude.
By reflecting, I start to think that a lot of us are expected to know society’s norms and morals by the time we reach adulthood. However, as I quickly learn in University, everybody has different norms and values that they brought from home. What seems normal to one person from China might seem awkward and uncomfortable to another person who was born and raised here in Canada (and the same vice versa).
To say that we grow to ignore differences is to say that we grow to become blind. Maybe instead, it might be better to say that we accept or overlook the differences to make connections with people of whom have stories that, to us, are dreams that we hope to one day achieve or experience.