Ridealong – What Makes up Your Cultural Identity with Belal Khan
Channel: Ammar Alshukry
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Episode Transcript ©
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Coming to not live from I 45 to another session of right along today we have a special guest with us. His name is Scotty he is in the back. Ari Dixon.
Hall re you might just see a floating me I'm sure.
I'm not this dark skinned that in real life. Yes, yes. I'm promise. I promise. I'm Hershey. Welcome to Houston, the city that gives you tickets for wearing for not wearing a seatbelt in the backseat. And that
was pretty disappointing. Actually. It's pretty lame. The greatest story never told. Honestly. What's the greatest story? How
I got a ticket sitting in the backseat of tickets sitting in the backseat. It's like one of those commercials that you see. It's like one of those commercials where it's like, and actually they had a cricket or ticket commercial to where the guy was laughing making fun of Oh, dude, you're gonna get pulled over. He got pulled over in the guy the cop comes to the guy in the car not wearing a seatbelt and gave him the ticket. Amar was in the backseat chillin like a villain my visit and I always told him like Omar Put on your seatbelt. And he's like, man, that's wack. I'm in the backseat. And the cop says, Hey, man, how are you gonna have your license to and he gave me a
ticket. It was amazing. That's the version then. And then when he tried to apologize for giving the driver a ticket. I told him I said Officer what about what about my ticket? Like you didn't need to give me a ticket. And he was like, Oh, well, you might as well as literally when he
won. Well, anyway, we're on our way right now to U of H University of Houston there's a gala there's a end of the year event
we're off to go celebrate the achievements of all those all those young uns and told us to dress in our cultural dresses. So I got my Sudanese outfit on
yeah be that is dressed as an ABCD.
Car that's an American Born Confused. Desi. Yes, I have my my
my golf Oh, Mr. Officer, please don't beat me with your clubs.
Black Lives Matter hashtag.
Gotta be dressed like, your identity is how you dress like if I dress like jeans and a T shirt. I get no respect. I think this leads to a discussion that we're talking about, which was culture and identity. Specifically in the, in the US or what you call the Western world. The question is, what is culture?
Yeah, if you want to talk about something, you might as well first define it right? So go ahead, the external DNA that makes you
talk about it. Tell me how here we go. Yeah. So external DNA, meaning the neighborhood you're raised in, they say it takes a noon, what are they village, it takes a village to raise a child, I mean, all these influences, like my personal influence, my cultural DNA came from my aunt, who converted to Islam in the 70s. I call them my Muslim mom, my I wear my heart on my sleeve came from my mom never held anything back. And
my just be able to two things out and creative. Come from my father. So that's my culture. So that's what makes you one of the best definitions, in my opinion, was actually presented by this guy, his name is Christian, Clayton's, Harvard professor. And he was actually describing the culture of companies. And what does it take to move a company for one kind of culture and into a different one, but he said that the first thing that you got to do is you got to understand what culture is he basically said, it's, it's a combination of two things. It's a combination of one,
a set of processes, which is the way an organization or a group of people do things, you know, it's the way things are done, right? That that idea, coupled with,
coupled with values, right, coupled with what those people deemed to be important. I think the idea of what I call the clash of cultures comes into play, when
they might be in sync on one of those things, but might be at odds on the other. So for example, the idea of cleanliness, right? For example, what would you like laughing because I'm automatic. When you say, classes and culture, I'm thinking like Irish Spring versus black olives. So Whoa, that's like the biggest culture clash ever, right? Because it's so funny here in America. I remember growing up I remember like the kids, I used to use black Harlem soap, right. And they were like, man, your underarms think?
But if you take that same American person, and I remember this, specifically, that they took their Irish Spring over to another country, and they walked in a room, I was like, man, you're so stinks. It's amazing how that happened. Just the idea of cleanliness and how you go about it.
Although they hold the same value showers what daily shower daily challenge right? But at the same time the foreigners who come to the like the American they might see them like you only shower once a week and you don't even use hand sanitizer you know when it comes to regular Sahara stuff like what you don't sit down you've been Muslim for six years and you know what a stingy
man I don't want to get into an a stingy conversation.
Six years is the Lord for those who don't know what it is. And for those who don't know
didn't take long for this
is basically when you take a watering can use trying to explain it we already fast forwarded Okay, five
different cultures have some things that they value so strongly and other cultures don't evaluate it as all like what so for example, I have a friend of mine
he's my brother in law now is Chinese. And he is he never ever ever calls his older sister by her first name. Because like they see people
yeah Baji over all the brothers are yo Hi, John. You don't call them by their first name is disrespectful.
Yeah, so in my culture, that's not that doesn't exist at all. In fact, you might even call your you know, in some extreme cases, even call your uncles by their first name, it's not a big deal. It's definitely more respectful but among siblings, you're rarely come across something like that. One of the most interesting things I've come across with regards to identity as far as like pillars of identity and I want to get your feedback on it what causes what are like the what are the what are the most important aspects of a person's identity Okay, and this is something that everybody shares and so, based on these pillars that you have,
your identity is formulated.
So the first is your like your worldview.
Right? Like your your athlete. Like what you see, well what is the worldview and do they have to do with each other? Well, athlete is your worldview. Is it to do with theology? Yeah, okay. Well, I'm I believe that Allah Muhammad Rasul Allah that formulates my worldview, I believe that a lot has to do with anything worthy of worship. And so he's the only one worthy of legislating, I find myself in this world as a slave of him who was entrusted right to act upon this earth in accordance to his legislation. Right, what he did, what he what he loves, okay, that affects every single aspect of my life, as opposed to somebody who, for example, doesn't believe in anything like that. And they seem
good, according to their society, or they see goodness to be whatever.
secures them the most benefit. Okay. Okay, so
that's the first. And that might be, it is the most important one. But another another pillar?
Language as being okay. Yeah. Okay. That's why we all identify with each other. So you have been
myself, so you walk into the seven elevens and start speaking or do a Hindi there, but where are you from? Yeah, exactly. And you'll see this in every recipe, then, in Ramadan, you'll see that the people who share a particular language they sit together, right, because it creates that fraternity increase that affinity, it creates that that shared identity. And the third
is your history. You know, on the topic of language, something interesting was that as an this is coming from, from an American perspective, growing up speaking only one language and finally learning to three and four. Yeah. And they said that when you only know one language, it's like seeing the world in black and white. And when you finally understand two or three great things about you,
I see driver for real.
When we find learn two or three is like seeing the world in color, because all of a sudden you can engage with so many more people and identify with so many cultures.
That's pretty beautiful. I like that what was the third pillar?
The third pillar is history. Okay, so people have a shared history have a shared identity. So that's the that's a really where a lot of conflict comes between, for example, first generation
Muslim Americans and their parents and that their parents really want for them to share this identity you are Pakistani, you are Sudanese, you are Egyptian, you are there's this this says and maybe they share the language to some degree, although it's not really in most cases they don't really share the language is broken form and just you know, some pleasantries and things like that.
or, but even more, so the history won't be there. So while your parents were learning about whoever they're learning about in school, right, and politics and all of that type of stuff,
you're learning about George Washington, and you're learning about the Civil War and all of these things. And so you have, that's what you're learning, you're not learning about, you know, jumping off the last set, or whoever, so.
So you are the kid in my class?
Exactly. So you're not sharing, you're not sharing any of these parts. And so,
you know, this concept of creating seeds of immigrants in the United States has been a pretty failed experiment. As far as my experience has been, we've been seeds of American immigrants, meaning that they're trying to race and I've seen this in lots of families where they tries to race complete,
you know, people who identify towards a particular location outside of the US within the US what Koreans did a pretty good job of that.
I don't know, have they Philadelphia, they have a particular part called Chinatown, and no disrespect, or any shade thrown at it.
And what they do, it's people like second third generation,
Asian, or Chinese, because we're talking about a particular country
that don't speak English at all, they just all only been around that eight broccoli ingredients. That's real similar like that New York City, Manhattan. Yeah, but look what they had to do to do that, right. So first, they have to have the worldview they use, the isolation creates language, just like when you go to a family's house, where they're homeschooling their kids, they have a really strong,
usually those kids will have a really strong command of the original language, because they're isolated. And then you have the third, which is, you know, their history. And so it's like they never left. And so they're teaching all of these things to their children. A lot of times they have, you know, after school activities, or they may even have programming within the school to teach these types of things. So that identity is maintained. But if you're talking about the vast majority, those are exceptions. But if you're talking about just, you know, the vast majority of immigrant children, yeah, they don't have these things. And so they have a greater, they have a
greater connection with people who even if they aren't from their original ethnic background, they share these things with them. They share the same worldview. They're Muslim, for example, they share the language which becomes the English language, and they share a particular history, which is American history. And that's that person was up either. How would you translate that to English? I translated it in this concept is worldview. Okay, so you got your worldview, it's not just the ology, but what did language also give worldview?
What do you mean? I mean, language is part of your worldview, isn't it? I say worldview because it's, it's your place with regards to the world. Okay, your place in the world?
Like how, like, what am I doing here? Okay. purpose. Purpose. Okay. So, let's say, pillar number one is purpose and to place in the world. Second one, you're saying is language. Third one, you've got his history. So things like your training, the education, how you present yourself, the clothes you decide to wear? Yeah. Like all of those things are
life experiences. I mean, I guess that's shared history. Maybe. Oh, by the way, in regards to history, I forgot to mention you get strength from your history. Like you get strength from your history. Like I know, I remember I was in Sudan one time. And I was I was in my village, and there was a little kid who was walking around, it was nighttime, and he was walking down the street. And there was like, some scary noise. It was like, I don't remember if it was a dog barking or a donkey braying or whatever. But it was scary. So I said to the kid, like, aren't you scared? And he said, I am the son of so and so. And he named like his great, great, great grandfather. He said, the killer
of the lion mice.
What is this guy even talking about? We don't even have lions in this area.
Well, lions, right. But then I wanted to ask, I was like, Who is so and so and they're like so and so there's a legend about him some 100 years and they were like, No, this this area used to be forest and there were lines here 100 years ago, and I was like, somehow this kid is getting like courage and strength. Just from
history. It's interesting to mention this
and, and that's the problem that we're having right? There is what you're talking about history. A lot of people don't have that history. Yeah, ancestry. I agree with that so heavily, heavily, heavily. Check
This thing is still leaving recording it's been like an hour yes recording nice
sorry guys I tried to save you guys for more
so so I mean, I mean I guess this is an interesting discussion like what are your thoughts? What are what do you think is a major
line shot ever
got like downtown Houston in the background? Yeah. All right.
So to close off to close off, what do you think is the major contributor to a an individual's identity? Do you agree with what we talked about? Are you got your own ideas? I'd love to hear it. I look forward to hear from you guys. Take care peace.