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…

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Anna Burgess Yang

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