Positive Cross-Cultural Encounters

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Alia Schultz
Language Arts 11
Schenkelberg
Friday November Second

Positive Cross-Cultural Encounters

When you decide to encounter another culture, you could be surprised to find out that they are not that much different than you are. You may even develop close bonds. The books “My Sojourn in the Lands of my Ancestors” and “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” show both positive and negative examples of cross-cultural encounters. To get to know another’s culture you must first accept them, and treat them as you would treat anyone else. If you don’t accept them the encounter will not be very pleasant or will be non-existent. In the autobiography “My Sojourn in the Lands of my Ancestors” the African-American author Maya Angelou writes about her encounter with the African people of a small village in Ghana. Often times when African-Americans returned to Africa they were not accepted as Africans and were rejected, as Angelou states “Despite our sincerity and eagerness, we were often rebuffed” (110). When Maya comes into contact with the Africans, they mistake her for being Bambara, a type of African from Liberia. Because of her fear of rejection and pleasure of acceptance, Angelou decides not to correct their inference and leaves them to believe she is African, she states “for the first time since my arrival, I was very nearly home, not a Ghanaian, but at least accepted for an African. The sensation was worth a lie. (Angelou 114)” Because of her acceptance Angelou was able to have a positive cross-cultural encounter that resulted in lifelong friendships. Had she not have been accepted by the Africans, Angelou may not have had this delightful experience.

“The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano” is about an eleven year old boy who was taken from his home in Africa and was placed on a slave ship headed for the West Indies. Once there he along with many other Africans were to be sold as slaves. On his voyage, Equiano...
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