When We See People as “Other”

“Other” causes us to forget, justify, misplace, or misidentify our perceptions.

Anna Burgess Yang
4 min readJun 21, 2018
Photo by Max Ostrozhinskiy on Unsplash

Last week, I was telling a co-worker about my family’s recent trip to New York. I was describing the area of Brooklyn where we were staying, a predominantly Russian neighborhood, and also visiting Chinatown. These two areas were filled with languages I couldn’t understand, street signs I couldn’t read, and foods I did not recognize. I saw it as exposure for my kids (ages 8 and 6) to experiences other than what we see in the suburbs of Chicago.

Referring to the preservation of culture within these pockets of the country, my co-worker responded “You know I’m pro-America, so that type of thing really bothers me.”

Through the phone, he couldn’t see my eyes narrow. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“These immigrants who come here and don’t adapt to America…” he started to say, but I cut him off.

“My husband is an immigrant,” I informed him forcefully.

“Well he got on the right path,” was the response.

I was so taken aback that I abruptly ended the conversation, rather than go down a path that I’m sure would only enrage me more. “Right” path? Because he went to college? Some of his siblings did not and they are doing just…



Anna Burgess Yang

Freelance Writer. Practical Tips for Solopreneurs. Career pivots are fun. 🎉 https://start.annabyang.com/