This post is part of the A to Z Blog Challenge. See more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.
A person from the Ojibwe tribe can tell stories from Argentina. A Maasai can tell stories from the Ojibwe tribe. An Argentine person can tell stories from the Maasai. A Dutch person can tell stories from Sierra Leone.
Or can these people do such things?
I am an Outsider-Orator. Thus, I am at risk of being disliked or hated by others. Though, I choose to be an Outsider-Orator because I love the whole human family.
What is an Outsider-Orator? An Outsider-Orator is someone who tells stories that is not of their immediate heritage or ancestry. I like to emphasize “immediate” as digging deep enough means we are all related to each other and really have all cultures within us. The Outsider-Orator is always under scrutiny of those who feel strongly that people need to tell stories only of their immediate culture. We will take the same three ways that were mentioned in the “Native-Narrator” blog post (click here for it) and see how this now changes for the Outsider-Orator.
Use of Language & Garb
An outsider using another language is usually not frowned upon as long as the meaning and pronunciations are accurate. Of all the areas that an Outsider could use, this stirs the least amount of disdain. Now the garb is a whole different matter. Some traditional clothing is considered sacred and having an Outsider wear them is considered irreverent or something even more serious like desecration. Before adorning oneself is traditional garb, check to see the significance of each piece. It might be better to wear regular clothing while telling these stories.
Use of Geography
Even above the use of language, telling and showing where the story comes from is crucial. An Outsider must not omit such information for the audience. While it is assumed where the story comes from for the Native-Narrator, the audience will not have any such assumptions for stories outside of the storyteller’s culture. It may only take a line or two to acknowledge this part. Delving deeper into the scenery of the land is welcomed as well. The Outsider-Orator, if large parts of the repertoire come from a certain country, could plan on traveling to that land to be more knowledgeable. This is much like how foreign language teachers travel to those countries to give a fuller and more accurate experience for their students.
Use of Social Aspects & Values
This is a scary area for Outsider-Orators. Yes, there are universal values and ideas. Most social aspects and values are hard to understand for Outsider-Orators. Be careful of laying upon a message that was not intended by the culture from which the story originates. If you must say this message, then be clear that this is coming from you and not from that culture. Of course, most stories need to be shared without any mention of a message. The listeners will take from the story what they most need from it.
Consider the human family. Are you respecting the culture that you are performing on stage? Do you truly respect this outside culture or was it just a fun story you stumbled upon? You must research. By doing so, you will have higher ethical standards than many Outsider-Orators out there. I fall in the “Outsider-Orator” category many times. Give pause and give respect.