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Old 02-01-2013, 02:25 PM   #26
aruna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitty27 View Post


"India might be a completely foreign, weird, dangerous, inhuman country."

If you believe this about an entire country of people,people you've never met met in a place you've never visited in your life, then you have issues that no amount of talking to will help.
No, I don't think you necessarily have issues. It's just that if you have never travelled to that country you rely on --- what?

- Personal acquaintances
- media reports
- novels

for your cultural information.

Many people never get to interact with people from foreign countries; not because they don't want to or because they are prejudiced, but because there are none of them around.

So they are entirely dependent on media reports and novels.

Media reports tend to focus on the sensational, as in the case of the recent rape in India. Reading some of the articles and comments to the articles in that story, I was pulling out my hair. Commentors saying things like "India hates all women!" and "Indian men are all monsters!"

This is the kind of information normal people get. Also, all the usual cliches about India. How can you blame someone who does not have the advantage of exposure, if they believe even half of those reports, and develop a warped view of whatever culture they are reading about? Remember that the media makes its living by presenting the unusual, the weird, the dangerous, the quirky. So how is a normal, unexposed person to differentiate?

Take even an innocuous and little known country like Guyana. You wouldn't believe the ignorance I hear about my homeland, the conclusions people draw just because it is a Third World country. YOu would think we were all living in mud huts and wearing grass skirts!

So really, the only really valid information they can get is through fiction, and we are the ones to tell those authentic stories. And I think people who were once ignorant but still open-minded can be trusted to follow those stories and correct whatever warped understanding they may have. And I think it's best done not in an index-finger-wagging, you-stupid-white-moron, way, but with understanding and compassion; compassion because, though they might be in a position of mainstream-majority-privilege, they still know jack-shit about the world we live in.

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Originally Posted by Kitty27 View Post
'

LOL. Freud has some things going. Black kids just love their shoes with a passion. My son has over a hundred pairs!

.
I have to admit that I have very little patience with people - be they black, white, yellow or Imelda Marcos - who collect hundreds of pairs of shoes. Whenever I see these people on TV boasting about their stupid humongous shoe-collection I hop up and down with rage -- so you see, I'm not quite as peaceful as you might think!
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Last edited by aruna; 02-01-2013 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:44 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruna View Post
No, I don't think you necessarily have issues. It's just that if you have never travelled to that country you rely on --- what?

- Personal acquaintances
- media reports
- novels

for your cultural information.

Many people never get to interact with people from foreign countries; not because they don't want to or because they are prejudiced, but because there are none of them around.

So they are entirely dependent on media reports and novels.

Media reports tend to focus on the sensational, as in the case of the recent rape in India. Reading some of the articles and comments to the articles in that story, I was pulling out my hair. Commentors saying things like "India hates all women!" and "Indian men are all monsters!"

This is the kind of information normal people get. Also, all the usual cliches about India. How can you blame someone who does not have the advantage of exposure, if they believe even half of those reports, and develop a warped view of whatever culture they are reading about? Remember that the media makes its living by presenting the unusual, the weird, the dangerous, the quirky. So how is a normal, unexposed person to differentiate?

Take even an innocuous and little known country like Guyana. You wouldn't believe the ignorance I hear about my homeland, the conclusions people draw just because it is a Third World country. YOu would think we were all living in mud huts and wearing grass skirts!

So really, the only really valid information they can get is through fiction, and we are the ones to tell those authentic stories. And I think people who were once ignorant but still open-minded can be trusted to follow those stories and correct whatever warped understanding they may have. And I think it's best done not in an index-finger-wagging, you-stupid-white-moron, way, but with understanding and compassion; compassion because, though they might be in a position of mainstream-majority-privilege, they still know jack-shit about the world we live in.



I have to admit that I have very little patience with people - be they black, white, yellow or Imelda Marcos - who collect hundreds of pairs of shoes. Whenever I see these people on TV boasting about their stupid humongous shoe-collection I hop up and down with rage -- so you see, I'm not quite as peaceful as you might think!
*hangs head*

I have a problem,Aruna!

I get what you are saying and somewhat agree. But there are times when you are confronted with such utter ignorance that you just can't deal. I had a moment like that a couple of weeks ago and this thread reminded me of it. I want to show my culture and hopefully connect with someone willing to learn about it,but there are also times I want to say:

"Damn. Are you really this out of touch with the world?"

I guess my mind stays open. I never make misconceptions about other POC's and their respective cultures. Probably because I am a POC and know how it feels to be stereotyped to death, so I never want to visit that foolishness on someone else.

I would say a normal person uses common sense when confronted with other cultures. I am not a patient soul. If you let media influence your feelings and thoughts about an entire country or race of people,well-I won't say anything else. I know how the media will take the absolute worst about a culture/race of people and hype it to death. Even when I hear repeated horror stories,I still will NOT group all with a few.

I'd love to visit Guyana one day. From what I've seen online,it's a beautiful country.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:38 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruna View Post
No, I don't think you necessarily have issues. It's just that if you have never travelled to that country you rely on --- what?

- Personal acquaintances
- media reports
- novels

for your cultural information.
Henry Rollins says a lot about this concept. He abbreviates it like this: knowledge without mileage equals bullshit.

Meaning that you can 'know' a place backwards and forwards thanks to the books you've read and YouTube videos and the opinions of others, but unless you actually man up and pay a visit, you don't actually know a single thing.

He tells some great stories about visiting places in the Middle East and Africa that people warned him against going to. Everything he reads and sees and hears tells him it's insane to even think about going. And he goes anyway, checks into a hotel, and then goes for a long walk, no matter where he is. He's witnessed riots and disasters and he has never had a single problem. People have always been entirely kind to him.

All the second-hand knowledge in the world is just bullshit until you see for yourself. That's stayed in my head for years after hearing him talk about it.

(If only he'd drop his ridiculous stance about wanting to 'save' Muslim women from their hijabs and burqas. It's one of the only things I've ever disagreed with him on, and it's a hardcore disagreement. Sigh.)
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:05 AM   #29
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Don't mind me, Kitty! I tend to rant about shoes. I even started a thread about shoes once: Women and Shoes.
Take it as my own little pet peeve.

I have this theory that deep cultural ignorance is all down to non-exposure. People haven't been to those countries, met those people, mingled with them, and that leads to a deep dark wall of rejection and stupidity. I tend to have mercy with such people. In both my marriages, my in-laws were like that. I cured them.

With my first marriage, it was my husband's aunt who was deeply distrustful when she heard he was marrying a "Neger". His father had been killed in the war, his only brother was dead, and this aunt and his mother were his only family, and she was the breadwinner and matriarch of the family. She told him I was only after money and so she would give him money to give me to send me back home. This before she even met me. She didn't want to meet me. But I insisted.
I swear to you, I just walked in the door, smiled at her, and that was it. After that she was the kindest, warmest person towards me.

In my second marriage it was more difficult. My in-laws refused to meet me and disinherited my husband. The whole family walled up against me. His father died without ever meeting me, and rejecting heir own grandchildren. But 20 years later, he became seriously ill and I became his caretaker. His mother was forced to liaise with me if she wanted to see him. So eventually we met for the first time. After that I went out of my way to ensure that they saw each other, even driving him over from the UK sometimes. Even is she was rude to me (and she was, sometimes) I would either not react, or just smile it off. Only once she went too far: and then I wrote her a ling letter telling her if she didn't change her attitude I would take him to Guyana and live there, because my mother is there and we own property there and we don't bloody well need her at all!!!!
After that she was soft as butter towards me. And now that her only grandson, the one who benefitted from my husband's disinheritance, is behaving like the total jerk he is (even with violence towards her) she is becoming more and more inclined towards me. What goes around comes around. She needs me now, and I even think she loves me. In a way. And so one tiny minuscule bit of prejudice has been broken down.

I realise that different people will deal with prejudice and ignorance in different ways. And some people really need to be hit over the head with their stupidity. That letter I wrote her was instrumental in getting her to change her attitude, but it would not have been possible to get through to her f it had not been preceded by years of patience and standing above it all.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:07 AM   #30
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All the second-hand knowledge in the world is just bullshit until you see for yourself.

Agreed, 100%. But there are some people who will never ever make that trip into Newland with their blinkers down, and they are so much the poorer for it.
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Last edited by aruna; 02-02-2013 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:09 PM   #31
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I've also seen people who have lived in a country for years and never really experienced it. Also, my mom is a fan of museums and is people phobic, which also means she never really experienced the country. She had a melt down when we went a non-white country.... *cough* which is part of the reason I don't speak to her.... (me, adopted, in case you forgot.)

That aside, it seems like the more likely you are in a dominant sub-culture, the more likely you (can) develop blinders to the other subcultures (because you don't often have to develop code switching to them)?? Is that fair? But that also means those in the minority subcultures are more likely to be open to not only the dominant subculture, but other cultures in general, since they by default have to operate in two (code switch).

So I think in order to really experience a culture you need to 1. Be there 2. Be willing to learn and also be corrected.

So maybe the answer is that it's a two way street? You just need to understand how to split the street?
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:38 AM   #32
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