So, I have a friend from South Asia who came to the United States to study biology. She got her degree, married an American man, and has chosen to live in the United States. My mom thinks that she, and other foreigners who come here to study, have an obligation to go back to their home countries and use their education to benefit their own people.
I told her that it’s easy for her to say that, since she has never experienced the hardships that come with living in a third-world country, and that certain things we take for granted as Americans (i.e. fresh water, grocery stores, medicine, women’s rights) are not universal to all countries.
I am preparing to go to medical school, and several years ago I mentioned that when I became a doctor I wanted to go minister to people in the Middle East. My mom scoffed, and asked me if my own poor weren’t good enough for me. This puzzles me, because I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to take the gifts I’ve been given and pay it forward to people who don’t have access to the same services that the majority of Americans enjoy.
She views the issue through the lens of tribalism, whereas I don’t think that a person’s moral obligations should be determined by the accident of having been born into a particular culture.
What say you?