Monday, December 6, 2010

Good long weekend full of drinking games and race discussions.

The latter began with my private lesson on Saturday morning. I find it fascinating to hear what people from other countries have to say about North Americans. U.S. entertainment is the entertainment of the western world, as I've experienced it, so even if you don't know that Mexico is not part of the United States (as was the case of my 17-year-old private lesson on Friday), you can still know that high schools in the U.S. are composed of separate posses of freaks, jocks, goths and variations on the vagina dentata theme: mean girls, beautiful girls, it girls, the "Ashleys", or what have you. Also prom, must not forget prom.

Lately I've been making a very conscious effort to be positive about the States when I'm talking to foreigners. I realize that I prefer being abroad but that's not entirely typical of the U.S. population, so perhaps I'm not the best representative of ye olde Land of the Free. Also irrelevant side note I was telling my student about how in high school my friend tried to teach me how to drive a stick-shift in some parking lot at night, and when I used that word - parking lot - he said he knew of the concept but had never seen one. Isn't that cool?

Anyway, we got to talking about race and he was saying how Spain doesn't have many problems with that. However within this same argument he included points on how: 1.) Chinos (Chinese people) never leave the convenience stores where they work (also called Chinos). And also none of them attend school. Or interact ever with European Spaniards. 2.) South Americans take jobs from Spaniards, and are short. 3.) Gypsies.

To be fair I was the one who brought up gypsies, or as they're actually called, Roma. Currently France is making efforts to expel them from the country (hi Inquisition/Trail of Tears/Simba), and there's just generally a lot of disdain surrounding them, which no one seems to think out of the ordinary or wrong. Fernando's argument was that you can't trust them and they're always stealing and they won't try to interact with Spaniards, although he couldn't tell me when was the last time he'd tried interacting with them. Who do you interact with outside of your race then? Chinos, when I go to the convenience store.

I'm being really mean, he wasn't that bad. This is the fascinating part to me though; people are endlessly capable of rationalizing their thoughts and compartmentalizing them into their "xyz" concept of themselves. Fernando doesn't think he has negative opinions based on race; gypsies are just bad and you can't trust them. What worries me though is that he didn't see any contradiction with these two beliefs until I said something: "Student, you are being racist." Makes me wonder what I'm rationalizing.

Yesterday, then, I got a message on Skype from someone who turned out to be from Morocco. I don't know how this person got my Skype name but whatever. He's Berber aka Amazigh, which is the group of indigenous people who lived there before the country was invaded by Romans and Arabs and the French. Berbers was the term given them from the invaders, and it comes from the word "Barbarian". He said that one time he was out for dinner and he was speaking English, and an Arab woman walked up to him and said "You're just a Berber." What the hell people?

And then I went and played drinking games.

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