Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Two tribes of people

My reading class is reading a juvenile novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian." It is absolutely hilarious and poignant. My students are mostly from China, Saudia Arabia and Korea in this class, so we write a lot about cultural differences, etc. One thing that came up in the discussion is the relationship between men. In Korea and Saudi, men touch. They can put their arms on each other's shoulders. In Saudi, they even hold hands. (I'm not sure if most of the men I know in the U.S. even have close friends.) My students know that they can't touch a man here or everyone will think they are gay. Isn't it ironic that the country with the most rights for gays in some ways is the most homophobic?

Anyway, the kid in the novel is living between two cultures, native American and white American. There is this great line: I used to think the world was broken down by tribs. By black and white. By Indian and white. But I know that isn't true. The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not."

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