In Norway there was a good degree racial tension between the native population of Norway and the immigrant Muslim community, due both to lack of interaction between the two and harsh media coverage. The anti-racism organization decided to alleviate the problem with something as simple as a cup of tea.
They literally had Muslim families invite Norwegians into their homes for a cup of tea. As Norwegians found the home to be very important and with tea deeply rooted in Muslim tradition – it was the perfect way to link those to groups. And it worked – the tea parties opened up over 200 Muslim homes to over 1000 Norwegians.
The idea was to get the two groups to get to know eachother. The anti-racism organization used even used Facebook to link Muslim families to Norwegian families that wanted to meet and have tea, and even added to their popularity.
They even got the Queen of Norway to participate in this movement for tea time. The “Tea Time” campaign received national media coverage and resulted in the Norwegian government giving the anti-racism center funding to continue the program. There was even real change in attitudes towards Muslims : a national survey found that negative attitudes had dropped by 40 % after the campaign.
With that kind of progress, it is amazing what tea between friends, or soon to be friends, can accomplish. If it works in Norway, why not anywhere else? If not in the global perspective, maybe just in everyday life. Maybe that cup of earl grey can help restore communication with old friends, that green tea to help you really talk with your mother or even that chai to figure out those parts within yourself that you don’t understand.
Anyway you go about it – there is safety in a cup of tea and it is meant to be used. So have a cup. Take in that steam with the good and when there is nothing but the dregs – hopefully the bad is gone too – at least mostly.