If you are anyone besides my technologically challenged father, chances are you have a Facebook account and have seen posts from the highly popular page called ‘Humans of New York.’ If you haven’t, I highly recommend that you take some time to just read through their posts. The page was created by a New York journalist who took an interest in interviewing and documenting the common struggles and triumphs of people representing nearly every race, gender, religion, sexuality, economic status, etc. Some of the stories are funny, some make you want to cry happy tears, and some make you want to cry sad tears. Although the project began in New York, the blog now features peoples’ stories from 20 different counties (the team is currently in Peru) and has about 20 million followers. The stories featured on the page are not paraphrased at all and use the exact language that interviewee used while giving their interview which gives the page a very authentic, genuine, and personal tone. While reading the poem My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears, I couldn’t help but think of the common multicultural themes that were featured in both the poem and in many of the HONY (Humans of New York) posts. These two sources shine a spotlight on religions, cultures, races, etc., that are otherwise underrepresented in most media and literature.
In the ‘Multicultural’ Keywords essay, author Debra Dudek writes, “There is something worse than being demonized, stigmatized, theorized. It’s being tolerated” (156). We see this negative sort of toleration happening in the poem My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears when the grandmother continues to receive judgmental comments and stares from other shoppers while she prepares to perform a prayer ritual. Although there is no law or rule that says this girl’s grandmother isn’t allowed to perform her prayer rituals, the way in which the other Sears patrons ‘tolerate’ her practices essentially says that she and her religious practices are not welcome.
The Humans of New York blog features many stories that are very similar to the story that this young girl shared through her poem about her grandmother. They share the stories of people from many walks of life who have had very different life experiences. The most important thing the blog does, however, is show that we are all human and we all have struggles and triumphs regardless of our race, class, sexuality, gender, etc. I think if there was more main-stream media that shed light on such a multicultural group of people and their ways of life, experiences like the one in My Grandmother Washes Her Feet in the Sink of the Bathroom at Sears could be prevented. If people were more frequently exposed to the multicultural practices of religions, classes, etc., other than those with which they are familiar, they would not be nearly so quick to judge other human beings, like the ladies in the Sears bathroom so harshly did.
Here is a link to the Humans of New York Facebook Page!