At the heart of our fear of differentness is…


I was watching an interview in which the interviewer asked a Hawaiian: “How many words do you have in your language?”  The Hawaiian’s response was: “How many words do you need for us to have in order for you to realize that we have a rich culture?”

So why is it that we are sometimes tempted to view those different from us as somehow being inferior to us?  Many mainlanders dismiss poi as an incomprehensible mystery that somehow speaks of a Hawaiian lack of elevated culture, just as Northerners who move here to Georgia view the southern love of grits as evidence of the South’s strangeness, if not outright inferiority.

This issue of recoiling from or rejection of “differentness” extends as well into our relationships: Just because someone doesn’t show their love in the way that we might want doesn’t mean that they don’t love us.  At the heart of…

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