Tuesday, October 26, 2010
What is it about foreign things that scare Americans so? For a country populated mostly by immigrants, we seem very quickly to forget our roots. And though we have a poor grasp of our own language, we're very quick to judge other people for knowing less than we do, forgetting that it's not their native tongue. Next time you get impatient with the clerk who is mixing up her verb tenses, by all means, try speaking to her in her first language. We are a people, seeking to distance ourselves from the old world and become new, who have created a culture devoid of grace. No doubt, there is "American" culture. It has a lot to do with the concept of lifestyle. Much of the world can hardly afford to live, let alone choose what they look like while doing it. It is an immense blessing that even the poorest among us has rights, and the ability, through effort, to live and work relatively as they please (I realize this is oversimplified, but as compared to much of the world, this is true). We're just so afraid of being perceived as weird, fearful of things we don't understand and unwilling to expend any effort to explore something new. At no point in history were the greatest nations and prevailing cultures the only ones of interest, yet many Americans act as if ours is, by inherent right of being ours, the best civilization that has ever been. That we are a superpower is too obvious to contest, and I feel immensely blessed to have been born into the nation I was. Otherwise, I couldn't be complaining about it. ;)
All this to say, I got into an interesting discussion about why I listen to foreign music. "You can't understand it, why listen?" was the main point on the opposing side. For one thing, music is sound, conveying more than merely the meaning of words. But even the words have a music to them. Words are sounds. What is poetry? Musical writing, conveying emotions. You dare to claim that music that "sounds weird" to you isn't worth listening to? Fine. Stay in your little world. But I live in a world that isn't mass produced in California and worn by obnoxious suburban white kids. A world with bizarre beauty and sweet suffering. A world where some people are just not attractive, but they are loved instead of mocked. A world where Christ came to seek and save the lost from every tribe, tongue and nation. How can we love our brothers and sisters if we totally ignore them, or worse, look down on them because they're not "like us"? Get off your western high horse and go love your neighbor. Listen to some world music, or if that's too far out, try this. My nanny kiddos absolutely love it. Seriously, it's on repeat.