Living in two worlds: Experience of being of mixed nationality

By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: Being a person of mixed nationality brings with it a unique set of experiences and perspectives. In a world that is becoming increasingly diverse, being multiethnic offers numerous advantages that can enrich one’s life and contribute to a more inclusive society. To explore some of the aspects of being of mixed nationality and shed light on the value of embracing one’s mixed heritage, Kuwait Times interviewed specialist in psychiatry at Al-Sabah Hospital Dr Ali Al-Baghlani, and Noor and Yousef, two people of mixed heritage.

“Resisting diversity and differences may confine one to a barrier that narrows their perspective at intellectual, cultural and social levels. The rapid development we witness today is a result of this diversity and openness to different cultures and societies,” Dr Baghlani told Kuwait Times. Noor, a daughter of a Palestinian father and Egyptian mother living in Kuwait, said being of mixed nationality gives an opportunity to bridge gaps between different cultures and develop wider and wiser understanding. Growing up exposed to multiple traditions, languages and customs allows one to navigate between different groups with ease.

Dr Ali Al-Baghlani

This not only creates a strong sense of adaptability, but also encourages one to empathize with others. “For instance, despite not being related to Syria by blood in any way, I find myself sympathizing and standing for Syrians in general. That is because I am very close to Syrian people, and I do not have a bias for a certain country over another, as I am neither fully Palestinian nor fully Egyptian. Hence, I find myself open to multiplicity and diversity and can adapt and relate to more than a single country or race,” Noor explained.

By having a foot in multiple cultural worlds, people of mixed heritage can help build bridges and create connections between people of different backgrounds, fostering a more inclusive and harmonious society, besides having an open mind and broader perspective on life. Exposure to different cultures and languages encourages one to explore the world and seek out new experiences. According to Noor, multiethnic people tend to have wider awareness of global issues and a stronger sense of empathy towards those facing problems or identity crises.

Because of this, they are often more motivated to make a positive impact in the world and work towards social justice and equality. Another aspect is the ability to embrace diversity within themselves. As for Noor, being of mixed heritage often means embracing the unique blend of cultures that make up an individual, as she learns to navigate through the differences of her identity. This further develops a sense of appreciation for diversity and people from different backgrounds. However, Yousef, son of a Lebanese father and Kuwaiti mother, shared with Kuwait Times his struggles, which make his experience more difficult than special.

Yousef said he finds himself unsure of where he might fit in. “You never feel fully belonging to anywhere specific. It gives you this feeling of being ‘neither here nor there’,” he said. “Cultural mixing has a tremendous impact on many areas and customs. Therefore, it must affect at the personal level, not to mention the clear differences that extend to one’s physical features, language, skin color and many other personality traits that may change because of hybridity. A society should not judge people based on their differences — one’s evaluation should be based on the actions of individuals towards themselves and others,” Dr Baghlani said.

The post Living in two worlds: Experience of being of mixed nationality appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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