13 May 2011

the great worldly epidemic

So yesterday a small disaster ensued . . Blogger was not working, which is completely NOT OK when I need to blog and so I technically finished my blog on May 12th, but according to the website it is the 13th, so technically it's still consecutive. Blogger clearly does not know how utterly important this is.
So today I had a rather interesting discussion with someone that I loathe in one of my classes. I was sitting with my my two guy friends and one girl friend and some other kid came over to talk to us too. But then he came over to our table and just started talking to us. It was just not what I needed.
So I tried ignoring him, which completely did not work, because his booming and domineering voice infiltrated my brain and interrupted my thoughts. He started talking about how "French is the ugliest language" because they sound ridiculous, which I was going to say nothing to because I knew he was trying to bother me. And the best thing to do when someone bothers you is to pretend like they're not. But then he said that Parisians are really snobby and that they all know English but they hate to use it and that they're all really rude.
I thought he had a bad experience there.
"Have you ever been to France?" I asked him.
He hadn't. So I asked him how he could make a snap judgement like that. How can you know if you've never been? I'm not assuming otherwise, because I've never been to France either. And then he started mumbling something about how snobby British people are too. And I can attest to the fact that they are not, even though I only went to one part of the UK for 3 weeks.
I asked him another question: "Are you a lazy, obese person? Do you eat McDonalds everyday? Do you have a thick western accent and dress like a cowboy? Because that's what Europeans think of us, and no one at this table fits those criteria."
He did this little condescending laugh and folded his arms, almost annoyed that I, a lowly creature compared to his highness, would ever challenge him. No one challenges him.
Then he asked me if I was from Canada and for a second i forgave him. But that was short-lived. Then he said "all the Canadian people say is 'eh'!" They really don't. I listen to Sports Center on ESPN with my dad and the Canadians cover hockey. Not once do they say "eh", and my aunt lived there - they don't say "eh" as much as we think, if they say it at all. That's like saying every other word that comes out of my mouth is "y'all" because I live in the south. I have never said "y'all" in my life unless it was sarcastic. No offense.
I kept on refuting his ignorance, but he just laughed and wouldn't believe me. That's OK. We'll let his girlfriend deal with that.
Then my teacher came by and looked at our table. I asked why he always glances at our group, and then he said "it's because he hates you." Yep, that's why. The kid that cleans his turtle tanks and feeds them. That sounds accurate.
I told him that perhaps it's because there's one too many at our table. And with that, he left. Without any chuckling.
I really got annoyed that people, who are even a year older than me, are so ignorant and so stereotypical. It's ridiculous. You cannot judge an entire race or an entire country based on one thing you might hear from a parochial, closed-minded simpleton. I'm really tired of people judging other people, and not even because of a race or something, but because of their looks, their first impression on you, or by who they hang out with. People are surprising and complex, and not one can be a quintessential representation of the other. I cannot define "an American", but I know that none of my friends are Americans, if you go based on common mis-perceptions from outsiders. I am not even close to what people think Americans are. I'm not obese, in fact I'm underweight; I have never been west of Minnesota; I have only ever ridden a horse once; I don't even own riding boots; I hate McDonalds and fast food in general.
This actually goes for a lot of people I know. Every one of my close friends and family members are nothing like the "American" that many people perceive.
I recently asked a question online to see what the biggest problem facing our world today is, and I personally think it's ignorance and closed-mind-ness. I sometimes think of it as an epidemic, with false ideas spreading as fast as viruses. But here are some of the things people said:
one person said word-for-word what I said (impressive!) and others said stereotypes and how the media portrays people; another said overpopulation, a more tangible problem, and others fall into the general category of faith and religion, which we won't delve into. We can never stop ourselves from judging things because that is how we assess our world. But we can change how we judge people. We cannot live in a happy environment if we are constantly judging people or being judged.
How can we progress if we can't leave the comfort of the boundaries of our own minds?

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