Identity / Journalism / Missions / world

Third-culture kid

This quote comes from David Ignatius’ column from The Washington Post.  He’s talking about Barack Obama and his identity as a third-culture kid.

“Third-culture kids learn how to make their way in unfamiliar surroundings.  The late Ruth Hill Useem, a former Michigan State sociologist who studied them for decades, explained, ‘They adapt, they find niches, they take risks, they fail and pick themselves up again…. Their camouflaged exteriors and understated ways of presenting themselves hide their rich inner lives.’  In surveys, more than 80 percent said they could relate to anyone, regardless of race or nationality.”

My thoughts on this are:

  1. Barack Obama is bringing third-culture psychology to a wider audience, points for him.
  2. We find niches?  I don’t get it.  Do we find specialty occupations?  Or niche groups of people?  Niches of what?
  3. If our exteriors are so camouflaged, how do you know what’s underneath is rich?  Maybe you just think it’s rich because you don’t know what it is.  Maybe the grass is just greener on the other side of the fence.
  4. We fail and pick ourselves up again.  Oh yay, failing.  I’m pretty sure third-culture kids don’t have the exclusive copyright on this. 

Other thoughts?


One thought on “Third-culture kid

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