The lens of a dominant culture
Today on the tram to university I witnessed an extremely strange but insightful scene.
The tram trundled slowly forward, its steel wheels squeaking on its steal tracks, the commuters packed inside swaying backwards and forwards while trying not to fall over into each other. As anyone who has caught peak hour public transport will attest, it is a strange experience. How often are we so tightly packed into a tight space with such a multitude of strangers all sharing the same space towards the same direction and yet most of us never feel the need to make a connection, to converse or share. Instead we use our Mp3 players and smart phones to shut out the people around us and create our own little bubbles. This comfortable, apathetic world was shattered when a man boarded the tram in filthy sneakers, ripped jeans, an old hoody and a black baseball cap.
At first he just crouched in the aisle way muttering to himself but realization soon dawned on him that he was not infact headed to North Melbourne but into the CBD. He turned and addressed a well dressed African couple on their way to work. suffice to say he wasn’t very polite and they in return were not very polite back. what interested me were two cultures which “mainstream society” shuns (don’t deny that at many levels Australia is still inherently racist) but who viewed each other with equal distaste.
It’s not the enemy of mine enemy stuff because no one is really an “enemy”, instead what appeared to be happening was that each group looked upon the other from the viewpoint of a prevailing dominant culture. Both had elements in common with that culture, the two Africans looked to be in stable employment, well dressed and married which is the traditional method in Australia for a couples union. The Junkie was Anglo-saxon which has constituted Australia’s majority since its invasion.. sorry “discovery” in 1770.. They were judging each other according to these prevailing ideology. This got me thinking.. Is any of us a member of this dominant ideological culture? We all judge each other according to it but do any of us entirely belong to it?