A paradox of service – by Becca

After our conversation last week about service work, I was left with a few concerns that I am still grappling with. How do we do service work or community service without being patronizing and condescending? How do we help people without an attitude of whiteness and privilege? The very nature of service work is that we are giving of ourselves to others. If we have the ability to do service then we have something to give that those we are helping don’t have. Between my classes and outside activities, I do a lot of community service and since our conversation have struggled understanding how to go about these activities without seeming like I am “better” than those I am helping. I think that service to the community is very important and I really enjoy giving back to the communities that I am a part of. I do not want to have an entitled attitude and I do not know what to do to balance the service and attitude.

 

Another conversation that came up this week was the relationship between immigrants/refugees and their children. It is something that I had never really thought about before but it is very prevalent in my life. My best friend is the daughter of two Russian refugees. They were forced to leave because of their religious beliefs and have resettled in the Boston area. I have seen their broken and difficult relationship from my friend Annabel’s side but never from her parents. From their perspective, Annabel has completely abandoned all of their culture and tradition. She speaks English far better than they do and has become completely assimilated into American culture. This is no fault of either side, but it has become a huge struggle for her family.

 

The additional topic that I found interesting after class this week was the title Lost Boys. The journal article of Unsettling Resettlement raises the conversation about the Lost Boys being both lost and boys when in fact they are neither. Lost implies that they do not know where their home is which is not true. Referring them to boys also marginalizes them and makes them seem unintelligent and helpless like small children. That being said, giving them a name gives them publicity and recognition. It may not be a great term, but it brings attention to the community and the situation that they need.

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