There are some things you just don’t talk about in gatherings. Not just any gathering but those composed of immigrants in general and Africans in particular.
It doesn’t matter what the setting is, you just don’t ask some questions.
These are like the ‘elephant in the room’ kind of ‘Sacred’ things.
But everybody has a story!
Here are two questions you just don’t ask.
“How did you get your ‘papers’?”
You can actually make someone choke on their Meat Pie and Malt drink if you venture into that territory.
Of equal density but a less intimidating cousin of a questions is . . . .
“How did you come to America?”
And this has nothing to do with the mode of transportation, although that will offer a different level of ingredient to this salacious meal of coming to America! Don’t get me wrong, “Coming to America”, the movie doesn’t come close!
Like a taboo these questions are not casually thrown around. But when you penetrate the veneer of smiles, the colorful outfits, and the polyrhythmic music that usually accompany these gatherings, you would be amazed at the stories – other peoples’ stories – some of which could melt your ribs.
I have learned that you have to get close – very close to someone to hear their story!
But this one thing I know. . . . . .
Everybody has a ‘coming to America’ story!
Next time you’re in the midst of indigenous Africans, you might want to try asking them how they came to America.
When you do, pull up a chair, sit and just listen!
Would you try it?