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Forums / Multicultural experiences / Community? What community?

Topic: Community? What community?

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    21 January 2018

    Hi all,

    I’m interested to hear your views as to what signifies ‘community’ to you.

    We often talk about ‘our community’ and it can mean very different things to different people. As we know, no community or group of people is ever homogenous or identical. Even when we look at family members who sit around the same table and eat the same food for years, day in, day out, no two people ever have the same ideas, feelings and beliefs and one only need to observe the family to notice that every individual is exactly that - an individual.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Elizabeth CP
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    Elizabeth CP avatar
    2488 posts
    21 January 2018 in reply to Donte'

    I think Community means any group of people where everyone feels like they belong & where there is a sense of unity or purpose. In our family we have one SIL from a totally different cultural background. Not only was he brought up in a different country with a different language & culture even in Australia he lived in the centre of the city went to a private school. This contrasts widely from our children who lived in the outer suburbs rarely visited the city went to public schools & spent holidays camping in the bush. Does this SIL belong in our family? Yes.He has enriched our family by providing experiences we would not have had otherwise & he enjoys being part of our family enjoying camping, crazy family times with lots of grandkids. (He only had one sibling who is much younger) Being different is fine as long as you feel accepted by the rest of the community & enjoy being part of the group.

    Years ago at university I had a group project to do. The group was composed of totally different people with different talents interests etc but it worked. We were united in wanting to complete the project as well as possible but we each recognised our differences and used them for the groups advantage. I had contacts & was able to organize everything. Another person was extremely good at writing so she wrote up the information I provided into a professional sounding document. Another person wasn't academic but was very creative so she was able to add the creative touches to the powerpoint presentation. The result was very successful whereas if we all attempted to do the same work as each other it would have been a disaster.

    Like that group example a good community is one where everyone is valued for their unique attributes and everyone is prepared to do what they can to be part of the community.

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    21 January 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Thanks for your valuable contribution. This is such a great example you brought! My experience has been very similar and I agree with you that as long as everyone is valued for their unique attributes and all are prepared to do what they can to enhance the group, learn from each other and share in a common ideal then we have a healthy community.

    There are various degrees of engagement and participation that every individual or family or group chooses to partake when it comes to the wider community.

    I thoroughly enjoy the diversity and cultural variations within any given 'dominant' culture and the fact that one size never fits all. I remember growing up in Greece with parents who are Seventh-Day Adventists and vegetarian who don't celebrate christmas or easter or birthdays, and yet they are no less 'Greek' than the orthodox Greeks. I remember as a child, seeing the Greek Hare Krishnas in the city centre of Athens dressed in their orange robes and with shaved heads dancing on the streets and giving halva to the passers by. Later in high-school, the first Anglican Greek church in Athens, that I used to see through the bus that was taking me to school each day. The Greek muslim mosque that I saw in one of our holidays in northern Greece had me fascinated for years. Up to that point I didn't realise that there are thousands of muslim Greeks living in Greece. As I grew up, I started understanding that what majority of people considered 'Greek', was just one of the many aspects of Greek life and not the only one or the 'right' one. I came to understand that the Greek Jehovah witnesses and Evangelicals for example, are equally Greek as the Greek orthodox, and that numbers don't really mean that one group is more 'authentic' than another. And yet, how many people think of Hare Krishnas when they think of Greece, for example? And of course, within the Greek Hare Krishna community there will be members who are not sharing homogenous beliefs and practices.

    That's why your example is so relevant and worth considering: as long as we all contribute, share, mingle, work together to enhance our community (the larger one), that we are all a part of, then each community and each participant of the various communities has a major role to play. There will always be various communities within each community and diversity within diversity and some people may choose to affiliate with a variety of communities. So what is 'community' to one may not be to another.

  4. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
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    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    22 January 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hi Elizabeth and Donte'

    What an interesting thread, thank you for this!
    It is certainly true as you said Donte' community is where we all
    "share, mingle, work together to enhance our community that we are all a part of.....there will be various communities within each community and diversity within diversity..."

    Back in my homeland (even though I have been here since infancy), the political system is a democratic republic with a confessional framework. Each part of the country is divided with residents of each religious sect living in their parts and represented by their community/political leaders. This system has wreaked havoc on the country and all it's people because it has served to divide up communities by fighting in Parliament over who deserves more money and resources for their communities based on numbers, who leads the country etc, and in the past resulting in civil wars.

    As an Australian-Lebanese I identify myself as Lebanese ethnicity and background, belonging to a small religious minority group and part of the Australian community. I haven't worked out whether it is because of the homeland community set up that has made me categorise it this way or perhaps it is the way I think and feel it right for me.
    In the broader sense it has made me realise that my sense of belonging within all the interrelated communities is never stable because it depends on where i am and on what is happening and what i am feeling.
    For example, I may feel content and have a sense of belonging in my local community where I reside but then I may not feel so if something unbeknown happens and I become a target for racist remarks. Another example, if I go on holiday to my hometown overseas and meet up with friends from Australia also on holiday, we bond and feel like the community from home at our other home.

    I guess what I am saying is that just as the widespread belief that 'community is the heart of everything', actually your heart is your community being that it seems to depend on you and how you feel and think at all given points in time about where you feel you belong today.

    Hayfa

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    24 January 2018 in reply to Hayfa

    Hi Hayfa,

    Thank you for this brilliant insight!

    Community is indeed a fluid term and it changes as people change. Like language morphs and moves with the people who speak it. Like culture. Nowadays we have international communities or online communities etc. I agree with you, that where our heart is, that's where our community is. This has been my experience.

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