Looking at yourself through others’ eyes

29 04 2012

One of the most interesting thing I have realized while being an alien in the US is how my culture or other similar cultures are viewed and how history is interpreted differently depending on the point of view of the host culture.

It is interesting to find how others see your culture and how their and your perceptions change with knowledge and exposure to others. You are so used to your culture and your language and when you hear how other’s see it, Read the rest of this entry »

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Are we being too sensitive and becoming desensitized?

27 07 2011

Work sent me overseas to a Latin American country and some of my co-workers called all men Pedro. It was a joke and nobody really cared. But that got me thinking, if they did that at home in the US, people would be offended, even if there were not Latinos. This got me wondering, is the effort to not offend anybody going too far, to the point of being silly? Are we so vulnerable that anything can hurt us?

In my friend’s child soccer team, there are no goalies; no body wins or loses. I understand and agree that the game is supposed to be fun, and that US society tends to be extremely competitive, but trying to shield children from the experience of loosing a game may give them a false sense of entitlement and deny them the opportunity of learning how to lose; which frankly is as important as learning how to win.

We walk around on egg shells trying so hard not to hurt anybody’s feelings. Could it be that by not being exposed to disappointment and pain that we are creating children and adults with no empathy? Do you think a bully would do what they do if they had gone through something similar?

I see kids videotaping themselves hitting others, doing flash mobs of theft and other unimaginable things with no regard for consequences. If you don’t learn early on the consequences for your actions, than you may think there are none.

Can we be honest with each other and just let somebody know when their behavior crossed the line. How about if we have the conversations instead of trying so hard that we don’t say anything meaningful anymore.





Boycot those famous or infamous for nothing

21 06 2009

I have been hearing about this couple of Spencer and Cindy? I think I forgot her name. The thing is why are they famous, why are people writing about them (including me), talking about them and paying them to show up at places???

There are number of those famous for being famous, that are very savvy at marketing themselves and fabricating stories to be in the news constantly. That woman having all of those babies to be famous, some are famous for partying, not really interesting people.

I do not get it.

I can see their point of view because they are making truck loads of money, but why do people follow? What is so special about them?

It may be a cultural thing or a generational thing…I don’t know.

Why focus on those people that do NOTHING, create NOTHING, CONTRIBUTE NOTHING?!?!?!?

Can somebody explain to me why?? Please…

I vote for boycotting those so-called celebrities, vanishing the non-talented people from the media. I learned that it is said that everybody has 15 minutes of fame, I really hope the we are past their 14.59…tic tac tic tac





Being from neither here nor there

13 09 2008

I was reading an essay about growing up Native American, and it blew my mind. The struggles that Native Americans go through living in and out of two very contrasting cultures, almost opposites. I cannot begin to comprehend the depth of the search  for an real identity, for who they really are.

Let me start with a little bit of history. You live in a farm, this farm has been in your family for generations, all of the sudden some people show up and they announce that they are moving into you house; These people are armed and take over you house and most of you land, they let you live with you family in a acre of land. Then other people show up, and they keep distributing your land, the land of your ancestors, among themselves, and you find yourself limited to less of a yard to live in. These people have the idea that you do not know how to properly manage your assets, so they also take your livestock, your bank account, etc. Some of your family members refuse and they are tortured, imprisoned or killed. The author had a similar metaphor, which I thought was very poignant, to describe this period in history that has been called “Colonization” I don’t believe that it is the right word.

I have heard that the winner gets to write the history of what happened; but I am still appalled when I see those movies called westerns where the Indians are the savages, and the settlers that come and take their land and kill them, are the good guys and the victims of the so called savages.

Since that time of “colonization” there has been a relentless battle to strip the Native American from their culture (I guess the only thing that could not be taken). The famous boarding schools to civilize them, and the imposition of the European culture, to name just two.

So now a days, when a child is born Native American, at home they might still have their traditions, their vision of life, their views on family, community, etc. When these children go into the outside world, they encounter a culture that is so different and is almost opposite to theirs; they have to live in this dichotomy of two conflicting worlds, within themselves. To top this off, the messages in the outside world portrait your culture as something to be rejected, with so many negative stereotypes that can lead to selfhatetred. What a position to be in, I cannot even start to imagine or put myself in their shoes.

I do understand that African Americans, Asian, Latinos and other cultures might go through a similar experience, probably all to different degrees. I don’t want to minimize any of them, because every experience is different and to each of us our own is the most important, or bigger or greater.

I wanted to bring this up to make you think. When you see somebody that does not fit the mold, that doesn’t look like you, that doesn’t talk like you, or has a different view of life, stop and take a second to get to know them, you might learn a whole lot and enrich yourself in the process. They might be going throught what the Native Americans go through. They might be struggling to understand this world. Things aren’t always what they seem.





Caught in the grips of linguistic paranoia

24 08 2008

WHAT MAKES the largest military power on earth tremble in its boots? What causes an entire nation of people – the majority of whom descended from non-English speakers – to shudder in fear? What provokes outrage at debates and town hall meetings in the current presidential campaign? Language, that’s what.

Not every language is seen as Uncle Sam’s nemesis – just the 6,911 languages that are not English. Americans often view other languages as a threat their identity – both as individuals, and as a nation. It’s for this reason that a Pennsylvanian recently stood up and told John McCain how angry it makes her to see the word entrada at the entrance to her local Lowe’s home improvement store. Barack Obama dared to suggest last month that American children should learn a language currently spoken by more people in the world than English: Spanish. Hillary Clinton even stated, albeit jokingly, that it’s time for the United States to have a multilingual president.

 

This an article I found in the Boston Globe by Nataly Kelly.  She touches in something that I have covered before, why is it that there is such a drive, mandate, to try to eliminate other languages, why is it that there is this dismissal of the need to speak other languages? why is it that people get angry when people speak other languages? Why is it that when people speak in a different language or with an accent, that is felt as a threat to “our way of life”?

Continues

Linguistic paranoia seems to have reached unprecedented levels in recent years, Read the rest of this entry »





Body Image – Cultural Differences

14 07 2008

I was talking to a friend the other day about the standards of beauty and how they vary across cultures.  This came about because a coworker was talking about weight loss and how she had lost a lot of weight but she still had a bit of a belly, another coworker said to her: “at least you don’t have hips”. Like that was something good, her asset.

This got me thinking, that her comment could be offensive in my culture. We want hips, you have to have hips in order to have a small waist.

The women’s body varies tremendously and what is considered beautiful varies as well. For my culture a women must have hips, butt, boobs… the ideal is the hourglass figure; we call it the guitar body (cuerpo de guitarra). I look at some of the standards here in the US like Pamela Anderson, she has no hips, if you took away the boobs, she has a the body of a teenage boy (of course she is more than that).

I have several friends that growing up were teased for not having ‘junk in the trunk’, one of my friend’s mother would go as far as to say to her she would never get a man because her behind looked like ‘somebody had ironed flat’ (this is common expression too). I have a friend that got butt implants.

Yesterday I turned on Despierta America (Wake Up America), the Spanish version of the Today Show and Good Morning America, they had a segment telling women how to get Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s butts. They talked about exercises not only to make it shapely and firm, but also how to increase it in size. Here in the US I see girls obsessed over the size of their boobs, the boobs must be large the hips must be small, in other places it is the opposite.

I worry about people, specially young girls and women, that try too hard to fit a certain mold of beauty. There is societal pressure to fit that mold, what ever it is, from friends, family members, society, the add industry, TV, magazines. Some go on crazy diets, starvation, anorexia, or if they have the means they opt for plastic surgery. Some girls are receiving a boob job for their 16 birthday.

I think the female body is beautiful, I know the male readers will agree. What some people consider beautiful others don’t. The fashion changes every few years and what was in yesterday won’t be tomorrow. We must love the body we are in, strive to keep it healthy. Don’t worry so much about what others think, and don’t try to be something you are not. If you love your body and yourself, just the way you are, you are going to find a lot of people that will love you the same way.





Modesty Vs. Nakedness

9 07 2008

This is a concept that has different meanings in different cultures.

There are cultures where women cover every part of their body and there are some that have all out in the open.

I don’t have an issue with the naked body, but I have an issue with having to show it when I don’t want to.

I have been going to the gym… I know… good for me! 🙂 I visited a number of gyms before I could find one where I felt comfortable joining. Modesty was one of my issues, as well as cleanliness and friendliness.

I went to a local gym where the showers did not have curtains or doors, and there was no private place to change clothes. Everybody was walking around naked and Read the rest of this entry »