“Imagine yourself in this scenarios. You receive an
invitation to an international dinner,complete with specific instructions on where to go and when. It also indicates that upon arrival
join the American group. Assume it to be nothing more than a sampling of ethnicfoods, you happily show up, ready for some lamb kebabs, mo-goo-gai pan, and perhaps a bit of flan for dessert.Arriving precisely on time, you enter a large cafeteria with a dozen tables scattered about, eachlabeled with an ethnic group or go graphic region: Korean, Latin American, African, European.Finally, you spot the American table and sit down. Another scan around the room reveals that
you know everyone here; they’re all from your church.
When dinner is served, you realize that your assumption of a multicultural smorgasbord is a wayoff the mark. A team of servers burst through the doors, making a beeline for every table but
yours. Only they don’t carry steaming plates of
ethnic food. One server roughly tosses a steeltray of lukewarm ham and green beans on the African table. The table labeled East Asia getsonly white rice. Lai America received a plate full of candy. Before you have time to absorb allthis, another team of servers-six of them-emerges, each carrying a sizzling plate of filet mignon,a plump baked potato, and perfectly steamed green beans. All six come to your table, and insteadof just tossing the food in front of you they greet you with warm smiles and elegant hospitality.A napkin is neatly folded and placed on your lap, a tall glass of water filled, a list of fine drinksoffered, and the servers-one assigned to each person at your table-stand ready to meet your everyneed. Not knowing what to think, you dig in. The steak is perfectly cooked, juicy and pink, with therichest
flavor you’ve ever experienced.
This is amazing
you think. Your eyes meet those of theother Americans and you all begin to chuckle. Someone
ask, “Why do we get
responds through a mouthful of beef
, “I don’t know, but I’m glad I’m
not over there!”
Within ten minutes you’ve devoured your steak, shared a few jokes about the others’ meals, and
sent your server for a warm roll, a damp towel, ice cold Coke in a frosted glass, and a fork toreplace the one you intentionally dropped on the floor, just to see what he would
living it up, thoroughly enjoying this unprecedented blessing. So are the other Americans. Your table is by far the loudest in the room and others are clearly jealous. You respond to their looks
of disdain with sarcastic remarks like, “How are those beans, bro?” and “How about some ricewith your rice?”
Then something unexpected happens. A woman from the East Asian table stands up and carriesher plate of rice over to the Middle East, who have one apple between the eight of them. Thistriggers others to do the same, and soon the cafeteria is being crisscrossed with offerings of shared food. Feeling a bit ashamed, you and the other Americans join in, only with very little too
e consumed it with alarming speed.