I thought I’d conclude on the part from last week on accepting the inevitable. Distancing yourself from your colleagues or neighbors based on perceived behaviors or discrimination does not change the situation. I already knew I was the only black immigrant in the room, and there was nothing that would change it. But I chose the side that was more fun by attending all the dinners or happy hours. It would have been morally wrong to also miss out on the fun side because of a known fact that exists (discrimination).
Overcoming discrimination can be challenging; at times, you might even feel like you do not want to deal with the situation at all. There are ways to overcome this, but you have to be patient and willing to look past your initial feelings. The first thing to keep in mind is that many people are unfamiliar with learning other languages, accents, and dialects, especially in the United States. This can help you be less frustrated when you express yourself, as some people will be more or less open to taking the time to communicate with you.
The second thing to understand is that you are not the issue. You will often feel like you have done something wrong, but it is not your fault if people are not open to you. People can tend to be a bit closed off to foreigners because they do not know what to expect and how they should go about communicating with you. But you are not a burden, you are not an alien, and you are not invisible. If someone is not willing to take the time to work with you, they are also not a dire person to have in your life. There are many friendly people in every country, and you will find them if you continue to look.
Lastly, one of the best ways to immerse yourself and become integrated into your new country is to join some type of community. There are many group sports, book clubs, volunteer organizations, and other chances for you to meet people and become friends.
Choose the positive side of the relationship. See you next week!
We are migrants and are strong. We represent the majority because of the willingness to contribute towards the growth of the new society. Be the source and instrument for change.