Monday, March 27, 2017

Who Is Danish?

This Danish video has been seen well over 1.5 million times -- and more than 160,000 times in this subtitled version -- since it was posted last month.

 It is difficult to watch -- the man who produced it has even been accused of abusing these children -- by filming them as they hear words that fill the air in all too many places in these xenophobic times.

To learn about the context and consequences of this video, I recommend listening to the PRI broadcast from which I learned about it. The player below includes today's entire installment of The World (which I recommend); cue it to 15:42 to hear the segment in which Rupa Shenoy discusses this video in the context of current Danish politics and of her own experiences with identity in the United States.

I am encouraged that both Shenoy and the video's producer suggest that what I describe above as "these xenophobic times" are actually something a bit different. Xenophobia is in the air, certainly, in the United States and in many corners of Europe. But today's regressive politics can be viewed as nothing more than a backlash against the very real progress toward inclusion that all of these societies have been making.

The latter -- the progress, that is -- is exemplified by another Danish video that has been seen by many more millions. "All That We Share" reminds us -- with disarming and gentle humor -- that whatever divides us, far more unites us.

Some of our most rewarding days with Project EarthView happen we visit schools in which many -- sometimes even most -- of the children are first- or second-generation Americans. Connecting with such kids -- who are BOTH Americans and Guatemalans, Colombians, Egyptians, Sri Lankans, and so on -- reminds us of a fundamental truth: we are humans before we are any of these things.

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