Last Friday I went for dinner to a friend’s place. We were just six: the ideal number to have interesting conversations and celebrate without falling into small talk or being hijacked by gossip. We discussed pretty everything: from Pope Francis’ peaceful revolution to the perks of globalization and all things that have changed between our generation and the latest.
An Indian girlfriend confessed that she’d never met a white person before age 12. In the same way, I have never crossed paths with a non-white child or adult before around the age of 14 (Then I started taking English summer classes, attended by a lot of nationalities). With no colonies (apart from the two or three held for a short time at the beginning of the last century) and no impressive economy, Italy has traditionally been an emigration country, before becoming an immigration point of access to Europe in the late 70s. When I went to school, it was rare for an average Italian child to meet a non – Caucasian person.
I realized how much this has changed when a friend – who’s just moved to Singapore – posted on Facebook a picture of her blonde son at school, surrounded by Asian children. Someone commented: “How does he feel about being the only white child?”. She wrote back: “He doesn’t know. That’s a thing of our generation”. She’s right. My children don’t even know where their classmates come from. They not once asked about skin color, or eye shape. They don’t see it. I might be a little emotional, but the thought (and the hope) that humanity is progressing towards a future where race, sex, religion and color won’t matter anymore moves me deeply.
So, after these uplifting discussions, a couple of friends told us a story, and asked our opinion. I’d love to hear yours.
Here it is:
A father and a son are in the car when the father loses control of the wheel and they crash against a tree. The father dies. The son is heavily injured. An ambulance arrives and takes him to the nearest hospital. The emergency surgeon comes out, looks at him and says: “I can’t operate this boy. He’s my son”.
How is this possible?