The moment at which I realized that Utopia was impossible to obtain, made it a mission to seek out the thing that would elf me accept different cultures and found a way to connect with them. I will be the first to say that was never taught that white people were bad, but was taught that they were different. As I grew, found myself subconsciously limiting myself to not only talking to just black people, but subjecting myself to act and talk a certain way. It wasn’t until my juniors of high school that started to actually become irritated by this so called “community” we black people had, because I knew that it was made up. Cited to reach out to other races, and I used the fact that was black as a way to reach a contact zone. Contact zones are defined as “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple With each Other, often in highly asymmetrical relations. ” (Pratt 487). In the Mary Louise Prate’s essay, “Arts of the Contact Zone,” Pratt reports the advantages and disadvantages that contact zones bring. Pratt emphasizes that a contact zone allows people to interact between cultures and break the cultural boundary.
When a contact zone is established, people are able to gain a new perspective because they are able to interact with people of a foreign culture. For example, when first met my best friend, Jill Simon, saw her as typical white girl. Figured that she probably talked proper, had a dog, and wore Juicy Couture. Although she did live up to the typical white girl standard that is expected, she grew to become one of the most important people in my life, We started our friendship when she overheard me making a comment about my hair.
Being black, I obviously had different hair than she did, and she wanted to know how worked with mine. Her interest in my hair is what led to us talking about where was from, Vichy led to the subject of my culture and Vichy community identified myself with. Our difference in race coerced us to a subject that later allowed me and Jill to adhere our different cultures. Valuing our differences is one thing that helped our friendship grow. However our differences did come With ups and downs.
Being that we were from completely different backgrounds, different situations were difficult for Jill to understand about me, and for me to understand about her. Couldn’t just go and sleep over at her house without my parents knowing at least a few days in advance. Couldn’t just leave my house at any time without my parents knowing, ND I feel that we had a different level of respect for our parents. It’s not that Jill was rude to her parents, it’s just that there were something that she and her siblings got away with, that my siblings and would never even come close to getting away with. Live that this difference was something that was hard grasp in the beginning of our friendship. She would call me and want me to go out with her within the next hour, and she would actually get upset when had to decline, As our friendship progressed, Jill understood me and my family more. If she anted me to go somewhere with her, she would communicate that to me days in advance as to avoid me not being able to go out with her. This shows how Jill adapted to my way of planning things which brings on an example that Pratt gives in her essay.
Pratt explains a story about the piece of work called, “New Chronicle of Good Government” written by Gunman Pomp, a Quiches mar What was written by Gunman Pomp was a 1,200 page letter in two languages that told the unique story about a culture that was dominated by the Spanish. It spoke about the torture that the Spanish brought which is quite different than he glorified, Spanish version Of the conquest that many Other countries had grown to know.
Pomp writes his story from both points of view which brings on Prate’s point Of transfiguration. Transfiguration is important because it is the process of cultural transformation, as in the creation of new cultures and societies, resulting from intercultural conflict, struggle and change (491). When it came to the Spanish contrasting the Quiches culture, Pomp had to learn how to adapt to the new culture and new rules, however he didn’t lose his own culture, hence him telling his story from two perspectives.
The same applies for how Jill had to adapt to my family’s way of doing things, and how transfiguration of both our cultures helped aid the conflict of miscommunication between me and Pratt argues that transfiguration seer’s to reflect the natural tendency of people to resolve conflicts over time, rather than exacerbating them (491). This bringing together of different cultures helps people live in realistic communities rather than the perfect, imagined ones that come to mind when a community is brought up. In “Arts of the Contact Zone,” Pratt quotes author, Benedict
Anderson and acknowledges what he calls %imagined communities. ” Imagined communities are communities in which people “will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the mind of each lives the image of communion (493). ” We, as human beings tend to make communities out to be a place where everybody gets along everybody else, and everyone accepts the culture of their neighbor _ However this is not the case in most, if not all, communities. As Brooklyn Park showed me, along with a community comes different cultures, beliefs and languages.
Jill and I live in the same city but found that culturally we were very distant. Transfiguration and using race as a way to reach a contact zone helped me and Jill find a centered sense Of reality. Transfiguration, Pratt argued, was the product of contact zones (491). I agree that transfiguration described the phenomenon Of merging and converging different cultures, and that it is much needed between the black and the white community because there has been so much separation from the beginning. The whole conflict of slavery and racism in the past, is the main thing that aides to he separation of the two communities.
Although there is still sometimes conflict within the white and the black community, the past few years have brought on a sense of transfiguration with the fact that we have schools exploring different cultures with things such as foreign exchange programs and international day, Interracial and intercultural relationships are becoming more acceptable and we are realizing that there is black on black crime as there is white on white crime. We are not always jumping to the conclusion that race has to do with every negative thing that happens to one us. We are slowly, but surly moving on.