Since I was a child I had always felt quite disconnected to the concept of culture, as much as I love visiting different countries and integrating with their ways, I had never truly felt connected to any. I was born in England, and I have a British father so by all means that makes me British and of course if anyone asked I would say, “I’m English” and I still feel that’s the country I have most to share with, but I don’t connect with any traditional (or modern for that matter) English culture or values as much as I should or would want to.
Nor do I particularly connect with Colombian culture, which is my mother’s native land. I do believe that I share many attributes physically and socially to that of a Colombian. I inherited my mother’s passion and temperament, her olive skin and black hair. But I never felt “latino” either. I also have a keen interest in Colombian history, studying many of the pre-hispanic eras. One would say a spiritual connection to some of the tribes that still populate Colombia’s highland, specifically the Wayuu and Kuna, who live in sync with nature and stay far away from the politics of the Mestizo/White-led government of Colombia.
Still I don’t feel anymore Colombian than I do British, before this year I lived in Japan, a country I had always wished to visit and one I thought I had a natural affinity with. Though as it proved as much as I loved the traditional and cultural elements, I felt even more cut off from society. There is nothing more lonely or disconnecting than being judged solemnly on the way you look.
So when I sat down the other night to decide what it meant to be connected to be one place or nationality I concluded –not much. The idea of being a citizen of the world had always appealed to me, and as I explained previously I felt no real connection to one country or culture. Of course as humans it’s only second nature of us to categorise people to segregate them according to their nationality, culture and appearance. It is far easier for us to conclude that the way someone thinks is solely based on their background.
I wanted to be more than my nationality, that’s why I found solitude in the existing multiculturalism of London’s South East. Of course England and London especially are vastly multiracial and multicultural as it is – no way of feeling secluded, despite the fact when someone who is racially ambiguous like myself it can be harder to relate to the almost perpetually forming cliques in the capital. Multicultural societies like the UK can cause more racial tension than more homogenous societies like Japan, and it’s not even as clear as black and white, with most unrest being directed at the Polish.
Would it be better to be associated as a citizen of the world, where every country’s problems are our own, replacing the dismissive stance we take when ‘shit is going down’ in other less developed countries? Who knows, I know from my experience in Japan that the conversation of nationality and ethnicity got very boring, very quickly. As gimmicky as this sounds, there is not much else I can do, only complain more and write more blog posts that I doubt anyone actually reads; so here is for my first day as a World Citizen, spiritually and literally.