Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Phenomenological Reflection on Ethnic Conflict

Editor's Note: It is my pleasure to publish this important and honest reflection from one of my Qualitative Methods students. The personal is the professional.

By: Safeer Tariq Bhatti

Growing up in America, one of the biggest difficulties I had was trying to be like the population I embraced every day. But, exclusion and the definition that I was not one of them was paramount. On the school bus, there was not segregation against black and white, but segregation against difference. My difference was my normalcy in many things, my difference in color, my simple clothing, my simple English and my simple habits. I wanted to be the best simply, but I was not the best in many things. I never knew what challenge was until I received it-until given the opportunity to be better than those who made me an outcast in every way possible. Once I achieved beyond the norm, my acceptance gained prominence.

Throughout my experiences, I could not understand why my ethnicity- why ME, was not accepted here in America. I thought going to my birth place, to a place that looks like me, acts like me and feels like me would accept, but they did not too. I had no identity. My identity was disputed. My territory was disputed. One day, when I was very young, I went to the Beach and I was sitting in the water and the sun gazed on our brown backs. In the water, they were many people that all looked like me. But, as I got closer, everyone had their own groups. Each group was speaking their own language and their own culture. This culture and that language were all different. People prided on their languages and their cultures. As you got closer to each group, each group would say that they are better than anyone- better than all the groups. One nation was so different. They were all Pakistani, but they all said we were different from each other. They all said we are better from each other. Why?

Why were they different in a country which makes them not? Why I was still not accepted? There is exclusivity in a homogeneous population and this exclusivity causes conflict.

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