Following my “Is it just racism or something else?” post, I wanted to write about a conversation I had with a few of my friends and the thoughts that I had in my head afterwards, and some questions that came up for me.
I was walking through the University library, and saw 3 of my friends sitting together, all three are American, but one of them speaks Mandarin, one speaks Japanese and the other is going to an exchange program in Korea next year. They called me over and I sat down and they let me know what they were speaking about. They were talking about the image that Americans have in other countries and the fact that none of them appreciated being associated with the few Americans that don’t send the right message to the rest of the world. I said, that I’m Iranian and so I know how they feel, suddenly one of them said, that he can imagine what I have to deal with here, and that it’s bound to be really bad and the other one actually said, “I read your blog post the other day” (she is speaking of the post that I mentioned in the paragraph).
We continued to speak about how each of our nationalities makes for people saying things to us that are just not right, and they don’t sit well with us. They mentioned that people tell them they want to be Chinese, or Japanese, or Asian simply because they know the language and appreciate the culture. This made me think, how can we get mad at people who are ignorant and know nothing about other cultures, when they say racist or ignorant things, we all say that it’s due to a lack of education about other countries. We then go out and say negative things about people who know about other cultures and respect and like other countries.
This confuses me because we have to appreciate the few people who are “friends with culture,” for example my friends that I’m speaking of, they would actually know enough about a culture that they would not come across as an “Ignorant American” if they were to travel. They wouldn’t leave a bad impression in a foreign country and hence they would help eliminate racial barriers.
What makes us more tolerant? What makes us accept another culture, or accept a person who likes a culture different from their own? I want to know if people are more accepting when they have had to deal with racism themselves or is that what makes them hate other countries and cultures?
What would you do? If you are reading this I would appreciate a response. Hypothetically speaking, if you had to deal with racism, would that make you more sympathetic towards other races, or would you develop resentment towards another race or culture because of what you experienced, and why?
Waiting to hear from you.