It was January 17, 2005 and three cadets were training to become police detectives. The sergeant decided to test if they were skilled at recognizing a suspect. He showed the first cadet a picture for five seconds and then hid it. Then he said, “That was your suspect, how would you recognize him?”
“That’s easy”, answered the cadet. “We would find him fast because he only has one eye.”
The sergeant thought a minute and then answered, “Well that’s because the picture I showed you is a profile. It shows only a side view.” He could not believe the cadet had given him such a ridiculous answer, but he went on to the second cadet. Flashed the picture for five seconds to him. Again, he asks, “That was your suspect, how would you recognize him?”
The second cadet smiled and said, “It would be easy to catch, because he only has one ear!”.
The police sergeant shook his head in disbelief. Then angrily responded, “What’s the matter with you two? Of course, only one eye and one ear are showing, it’s a picture of his profile! Was that the best answer you can come up with?!”
Extremely frustrated at this point, he showed the picture to the 3rd cadet and in a very testy voice asked, “This is your suspect. How would you recognize him?” He quickly added, “Think hard before giving me a stupid answer.”
The cadet looked at the picture intently for a moment. Then she said, “The suspect wears contact lenses.”
The sergeant was speechless. He went to his office checked the suspects file in his computer and came back. He was beaming. “Its true! The suspect does indeed wear contact lenses. Tell us how you were able to make such an astute observation!”
“It was easy,” said the cadet. “He can’t wear glasses because he only has one eye and one ear.”
I strongly agreed with Abouye’s response to the article because of our association with our ethnic background. We were both born in America, with families that are heavily in touch with the ethnic aspect of their identity. We both feel distant and inferior. However, this does not prevent us from embracing our ethnicity and cause us to be ashamed of our identity because there are several other ways to express our individuality.
For example, Abouye stated in her response that our racial and ethnicity are only a few aspects of our identity. Other important features like the music we listen to, clothes we wear, where we grew up, etc. are also examples that contribute to our identity. If all aspects of our identity are not as embraced, this does not invalidate or lessen the value of our culture. She also made an interesting statement; everyone’s definition of “American”is different, so it is hard to categorize if one is truly American or not.