Tuesday 25 September 2007

As others see us

Last Friday I was teaching my year 11's about stereotypes and prejudice. I turned up for the lesson dressed in Eldest Beautiful Daughters black emo/gothy type clothes, very short black funny looking sticky out skirt (over my black trousers) and a vans black t shirt with a huge pink skull on the front. Resplendant in lashings of black eye liner , skull and cross bones belt and the piece de resistance of her prized coffin necklace ( complete with skeleton inside) I began to teach in my normal way.

We had a really good discussion about how unsettled they were to see me looking different. We then discussed how en masse others who are not like us can scare us and how we like to belong to groups, that old saying of birds of a feather flock together type stuff. We really do like to belong, don't we ? most of us like to fit in.

Then at the weekend I read about The Scottish Tourist Board spending millions of pounds to raise awareness in America so all the lovely American tourists can come and spend their dollars over here. I will say now that I love America, the American people that I personally know are charming and well educated people. When I have been on holiday there I met very polite and helpful citizens all over, I know that I am extremely nasty about Italian people and that is irrational prejudice on my behalf based on a few unpleasant experiences I have had. This prejudice does not extend to Americans. I know I have some readers from the States, I sincerely hope that you will still read on, I still love you guys.

In this survey, many Americans could not name a single Scottish city, they didn't know where we were in relation to other European counties. Some students were unsure if Scotland had the internet and others didn't think we as a country had computers or microwaves. The person who most typified the Scots for them was Willie, the Scottish gamekeeper from the cartoon series The Simpsons.

I wonder does that say more about the Americans than it does about us ?


lisa q. said...

nicely done! i bet the looks on their faces were priceless! :D

to some extent, i think we're all guilty of living inside ourselves and not being aware of the world around us...it's a shame we don't all take the time to get to know more about other places in the world, but more importantly, about other people around the world...

Squirmy Popple said...

I read somewhere that 80 percent of Americans don't even have passports - it's a bit sad, really. Between the lack of statutory holidays and the distance between the US and Europe, many Americans never get the chance to travel much.

Helena said...

I think it's down to how much desire a person wants to know about another country.

Scotland is very multi-cultural these days and there is a growing interest in learning more about our fellow countrymen.

But I do believe that we get typified over the red hair too often, despite my son having red hair himself AND a St.Andrew's birthday!