I thought this was a nice talk and I wondered what all your thoughts were about this :)
Here is a bit of a ramble from me:
I’ve always seen myself as a fairly one-dimensional person when it comes to my upbringing or locality. I do not have a majority of different rituals from different backgrounds, be they ethnic or geographic. I’ve always been interested by the traditions, rituals or cultures of others (as I am by the inner workings of humans in general, it’s one of the reasons GT has always been close to me. I’ve learned far ore from people here, sharing about themselves, than I could have if I’d read theories upon theories about things). Not in an ‘where are you from, where are you really from, so do you do X at home or what’- kind of way. But by their same-ness and their difference from my own. My own always seemed bland to me. It was straight forward. There was no great story there, no unique dash of colour. It was boring.
At the same time in my own very small and insignificant way I am considered a weirdo from my own tiny culture. My town is small and famous within our country and is often remarked about. This is not something people can see or thankfully hear from me, I (and my parents) took great care to make that so. But when people find out, I suddenly fit into a specific mould. One that never held true to my experience. Not to my family, not to me. In my case that’s not a sad thing, it was a point of pride. It never held me back, because it wasn’t that kind of thing. I know for many others out in the world, it isn’t so lucky. At the same time, my being this slightest bit of difference was my fuel. To see others in a different way than my peers did, to move away when no one would, to seek similarly minded people who were superficially different from me, but intrinsically the same. And to be open to what their story was, rather than what story could be planted on them. This influenced where I live, who my friends are and even the work I ended up doing.
I feel that this concept of locality. Of your personal rituals. Is so much more prudent than nationality ever has been. Especially when I consider the many friends and colleagues of mine who have varied and vast rituals to draw from. That, all combined, make up who they are. But none of them separately do. The concept of nationality as a single defining feature to judge a person on, is restrictive and damaging. I think. This concept might not be perfect, a little bit hard to grasp, but closer to personal understanding than we currently have.
Plus I hate stereotyping so there’s that ;)