Can drive you nuts!
notion of Critical Thinking is a Western value - and
Critical Thinking is a Western skill.
Over and Over Again
will hear many statements, out in the world, that are
obviously incorrect and silly. Yet many of them, in
some countries, will be repeated constantly and assumed
to be the truth. It is as if everyone read the same
thing, believed it, and was told to repeat it
frequently. This idea is called Jingoism.
be political/economic statements (Americans are out to
dominate the world) , cultural assumptions (all
Americans are noisy and rude), and even just commentary
(I'm sorry you don't have a son). Sorry, I am picking
on Americans here - as I am an American - and I don't
want to offend anyone else! You will often be astounded
at some of the things you will hear. Only with close
friends will it be worth challenging such statements as
they are so embedded in the culture. And even then, I
am not sure it is worth it.
Other common Jingoisms?
Only foreigners have AIDS. Koreans can't get AIDS
because they eat kimchee. And, of course, other
generically stereotypic statements - such as, "All [fill
in the blank with a nationality or ethnic or religious
group] [do something stupid, odd, or bad]."
Some cultures fear foreigners. The first time I lived
in Korea, I thought that I learned how Black Americans
must have felt in the American South in the 1950s. The way people would
stare, often in great distaste, at me. I was on a bus
once when a small very cute young girl ran onto the
bus, looked up and saw me, then screamed and started crying as
she ran back off the bus. Now, I wouldn't call myself
handsome, but I'm not THAT ugly either! What was the
message she must have been given about foreigners?
Such xenophobia is fading, but is not uncommon away
from urban areas and in more closed societies.