Diaspora is the dispersion of a population from their original homeland. Diaspora occurs for a number of reasons and has several qualities. These qualities include diaspora communities having thoughts of returning to the home country, never fitting in the host country and having strong ties to the homeland.
This week’s topic of diaspora reminds me of a text we did in high school related to belonging. This text was Romulus My Father which is a biographical memoir by Raimond Gaita. He writes about his father leaving Germany for Australia but the father never fully assimilated to in Australia. In reference to his father’s view on Australia Gaita states “to a European or English eye it seems desolate, and even after forty years, my father could not become reconciled to it.” Romulus finds friendship with Hora who also migrated from Europe to Australia. His father and his friends display characteristics of diaspora communities.
Diaspora doesn’t only occur when people leave one country for another, it can occur from movement within a country. Garlin Glichrist does a TED talk where he discusses “Detroit diaspora,” his parents had been born and raised in Detroit but later decided to move when he was still young. His TED talk is very interesting and he raises thought provoking questions about diaspora such as: what does it mean when people change their relationship with a place? What does it do to the person who moves? What does it do to the place you are going to as well as the place you are moving from?
There are implications. Looking at it from Detroit’s perspective they don’t want people to leave. Detroit has invested time and resources into its people creating quality citizens who can pay taxes, contribute to more revenue and better quality services.
Glichrist also discusses how when he moved to Seattle for university somehow he naturally gravitated towards a group of people who had also come from Detroit and he felt comfortable and at ease with them. Today’s technology and media makes life a lot easier for diaspora communities.
The world has figuratively shrunk as communication has become instant with people halfway across the world. There are countless movies, websites and other pieces of media that represent diaspora and allow people to connect culturally no matter where they physically are.