Saturday, August 20, 2005

foreign follies? what?

Bricklayer has an unusual – and provocative – post in which he discusses the large number of foreign students here and their overall contributions to this law school.

I agree that in general, people find foreigners exotic; this isn’t limited to Americans. I ‘ve lived abroad and traveled extensively and often found that people want to talk to me because I looked and talked differently. Also, it seems natural to me to be interested in someone who views the world from a different perspective because his views are shaped by the circumstances in which he grew up, which differed from mine. And I hate to defend the faculty, but if I’m a teacher who gives the same lecture, uh, Socratic lesson, year after year, I’d welcome a little argument from someone whose parents grew up under communism or who is already an attorney in Venezuala or the Phillippines or just has a different perspective.

But I find it astounding that in Bricklayer’s classes over the past two years, only one foreigner has ever raised his hand. (By the way, I’m curious if his definition of foreigners includes anyone with Hispanic heritage. South Florida is practically a suburb of Central America, so a Cuban-American or Venezuelan or Nicaraguan here is only a foreigner as a technicality). Plenty of foreigners were in my section and classes last year and (I’m thinking of one in particular who asked a LOT of questions) they contributed just as much as anyone else. Or just as little, in some cases. The point being that in class it was impossible for me to distinguish among who was foreign and who wasn’t, other than by the accent.

As to his point that they congregate amongst themselves on the Bricks, well, I think Bricklayer might benefit from looking in the mirror. I don’t know who Bricklayer is, but I’m guessing he hangs out on the Bricks with his friends. They might be a diverse group or different than he is, but they nevertheless are people with whom he finds something in common. So if you’re Cuban and you congregate with other Cubans I’m not sure how that’s even noteworthy.

Finally, and I hate to sound like I learned something in law school, but diversity is important in education, and in general, in our world. (Even the Supreme Court thinks diversity counts!) It’s hard to believe that Bricklayer really doubts that globalization of society is here to stay. Do people out there hate Americans? Yes. Of course. But are we turning to isolationism as a result? Um, not exactly.


At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, but congrats on writing on! Hope you're looking forward to the 6 hour funhouse tomorrow...

At 3:13 AM, Blogger Christa said...

i will use the tomatos and garlic together, you. saute them and add shrimp. in fact, it's done and done and it was delicious.

i will snack on the raspberries or make smoothies.

why must everything be so literal? :)

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Bricklayer said...

Oh yes, globalization is here to stay:


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