StoryPlace

Third Culture Kids by arabiannights

My father is Dutch. My mother is American. I was born in Saudi Arabia. My first language was Brazilian Portuguese. What culture am I? Which tribe do I get to claim I belong to? Right now, there’s so much focus on identity that is very superficial and very limiting. Recently, a political candidate I like was accused of not being gay enough. I have friends who have told me that as kids they were too black for the white kids and too white for the black kids. The reality is that whatever we look like on the outside we’re all a mix of cultures and influences on the inside.  To me, it’s sad that identities and movements that were designed to empower and uplift people who have been excluded have turned into something akin to Mean Girls. On the outside, I’m white, male and straight. When judged superficially, I get the benefit of the doubt from cops and employers. And yet, I hate this reflexive tribalism. It’s boring and people are so much more interesting than some silly label. People like me who have grown up between cultures are sometimes known as Third Culture Kids. We’re not any one of the two cultures we grew up in. We’re a Third Culture. Our own culture which is a blend of other cultures. I suspect that most of us are actually Third Culture Kids. And since people seem to need a label then maybe that’s the label we give ourselves that says we don’t want a label. Are you a Third Culture Kid?