Third Culture Kid Grows Up to Be President of USA

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Posted by CB on November 05, 2008 at 13:22:30

The headline says it all for me. My dear SGA friend called last night when my state went over to Obama to celebrate the success of "our" candidate.

For those not familiar with the concept of a Third Culture Kid (or TCK), it describes "someone who [as a child] has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture." (wikipedia)

SGAs are TCKs. So are people (like myself) who were raised in the military and lived abroad while growing up.

According to Ruth Hill Unseem, who coined the term Third Culture Kid, "TCKs tend to have more in common with one another, regardless of nationality, than they do with non-TCKs from their own country."

During the campaign, I heard bigoted, xenophobic rumors about Obama. Like he was really a Muslim because he went to a Muslim school in Indonesia, and wasn't truly born in Hawaii but in Kenya. How can you trust someone who's not a true, red-blooded, home-grown citizen? My first response to the false rumors about Barak Hussein Obama's identity as a Muslim and a Kenyan was, "So what if it's true? What difference should that make?" --This is a classic TCK response to issues of national identity.

This morning as I was walking to work, I encountered three young Somali women chattering in their native language excitedly about the election. How did I know? Because I'm a TCK and can usually interpret the behavior of people from outside my home culture. It's a survival skill I picked up while living on the other side of the planet.

I smiled at them and said, "Great day for America!" They all three smiled back and said, "Yes, thank you, thank you!" Today we are realizing the dream of the USA, the great melting pot. Or more perhaps more accurately, it's the delicious reality of a great tossed salad of multicultural integration.

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