Multicultural Spotlight: Trevor Noah

It is pretty amazing that a young man from South Africa is a successful comedian here in the USA. One thing that I know for sure is that Trevor Noah is a multicultural, a person whose identity is a blend of different cutlures–and in addition, he is a multiracial, someone whose racial background and identity are not singular entities but are mutiplicities. I can’t wait for the end of the semester, when I have more free time, because then I can sit down and totally absorb Trevor Noah’s book. For now, here are some of his words which fit perfectly for my “Multicultural Spotlight” on remarkable individuals who are pushing our ways of doing things in the world and fighting for more inclusion and sensitivity, culturally and racially and so much more.

South African comedian Trevor Noah, from his book Born a Crime (pp.  71-74):

Our car was a tin can on wheels and we lived in the middle of nowhere. We had threadbare furniture, busted old sofas with holes worn through the fabric. Our TV was a tiny black-and-white with a bunny aerial on top. We changed the channels by using a pair of pliers because the buttons didn’t work. Most of the time you had to squint just to see what was going on. […]

My mom raised me as if there were no limitations on where I could go or what I could do. When I look back I realize she raised me like a white kid–not white, culturally, but in the sense of believing that the world was my oyster, that I should speak up for myself, that my ideas and thoughts and decisions mattered. […]

People thought my mom was crazy. Ice rinks and drive-ins and suburbs, these things were “inzinto zabelungu”–things of white people. So many black people had internalized the logic of apartheid and made it their own. Why teach a black child white things? Relatives and neighbors used to pester my mom. “Why do all this? Why show him the world when he’s never going to leave the ghetto?”

“Because,” she would say, “even if he never leaves the ghetto, he will know that the ghetto is not the world. If that is all I accomplish, I’ve done enough.”

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