This morning, I had a phone interview with a mentoring organization to which I applied. One question I was asked pertained to how I would handle a situation in which I was assigned to a mentee who came from a very different ethnic/socioeconomic background, who may have spoken another language as a first language, and who also may have zero common interests with me.
I had to think about it for a second, but I suppose I expected a question like this based on what I was told during the initial training session. My general response was this: human beings tend to point out and recognize differences first; it’s almost ingrained in our brains. If you are white sitting in a room, and a black person walks in, the first thing your mind subconsciously registers is, “That person is black. That person does not look like me.” You aren’t aware of it. It’s just how your mind works. Our real challenge is to put all that type of thinking aside and realize that as much as we think we are all different, we are really all the same. We all are human beings who breathe and have hearts that beat. We all were born and raised onto the same earth under the same sky. We all have parents in some form, whether by blood or not, and these are all the things that bond us. All of us have relationships – parents, siblings, cousins, friends, teachers – whatever they are, that we could then share and discuss. These are things that we do share that bond us. It’s just up to us how we want to use that to get closer and know each other better.