Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thoughts about Americans

Sometimes the tone deafness of Americans is shocking.  While I think our country has much to be proud of, I think many people lack global awareness.  Much of that is due to the size of our country, educational gaps and lack of travel outside of the US.  The stereotype of an “ugly American” is at least partially based in reality.

While my husband and I were on our way into a close town in Mexico; several of the people in the same car started talking about how much they loved seeing how people lived in other countries.  It sounded almost as if they felt they were on an anthropology tour of Mexico.  Then someone said it was so quaint how Mexicans managed to live without washing machines yet had such bright white clothing.  

They said this in front of the driver and guide who probably lived in the town they were discussing.  I think they could have said the same thing in a non-offensive way.  (Well, except maybe the washing machine thing.  Seriously, most of the houses had satellite TV, I think they probably had a washing machine and bleach, as well.)  I don’t believe it even crossed any of their minds that they were being offensive, dismissive and a stereotypical American.  And come on, it was a tourist town not necessarily real “Mexico” anyway.  And would a small poverty stricken town be more authentic than a bustling Mexico City?

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