Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Adventures in "biting my tongue"

Tomorrow I have to work a 12 hour day and each event of this day is very hard. Thus I decided to take it just a bit easy today. About 9 AM I went to a nearby restaurant for a late breakfast and then put my nose into a very hard essay I need to read and study to create a module for a new fall course that I'm designing. Behind me a couple who appeared to be either friends or perhaps cousins or something like that suddenly started to discuss the Somali and Hmong refugees who live in Minnesota. The guy said, "They come here for our welfare state." Little do they know that the refugees get only one year of resettlement help, but no welfare! These people obviously know nothing about refugee settlement. And the fact that Minnesota has a lesser percentage of foreign born residents in 2009 than it had in 1909.

I have heard some of the stories from the refugees. Getting some housing assistance and health benefits is a small recompense from society for what has happened to most of these people. And we have to remember that the Hmong had to get the "heck out of Dodge" because they were on the U.S. side during the Viet Nam War.

Obviously they must not have driven down University Avenue lately and noticed the number of Hmong professionals, noticed that we have a Hmong school board member, and Hmong members in the Minnesota Legislature, one of whom is being touted as perhaps the next Minnesota DFL Governor candidate.

Nobody in their right mind would leave their own country such as Somalia only because they wanted to live in Minnesota. The social culture is totally different, the dominant religion is totally different, and certainly the climate is totally different!

And these complaining people have not had the experience I have had with members from these two communities in the classroom. They are smart, intelligent people now trying to start over in a new country.

Thanks for listening to my rant. I didn't think anything would be gained by challenging these two people.

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