When I was a child, I got to experience what it was like to be the outsider. A PK (preacher’s kid), I was treated like some alien being from outer space. If I’d been a Martian, it would have been no worse than my daily humiliation at the hands of the children who lived in the towns or villages where I ended up. Why? Because I was a city boy living in the country.
After coming back from the United Kingdom in 2007, I found myself in a similar situation. This time I was an immigrant. It didn’t do me any good to explain that I was returning to my native country, after living abroad for 22 years. “What recent work experience have you had (in Canada)?” Fortunately, I worked at Sobeys for six months in 2006, while contemplating whether to return permanently. But any experience I gained in the UK was somehow unacceptable. And my previous work in the banking industry in Ontario and British Columbia counted for nothing.
So, what’s a body to do?
If I’d had the extra baggage of being a visible minority or a woman, I might never have survived the transition. Being a W.A.S.P. made it a little easier (no, it made it a lot easier) so I cannot truly understand what being a descendant of slaves must be like. But I can imagine, and it must be hell on earth.
We would do well to walk a mile in the other’s moccasins before we judge their actions.