Saturday, March 5, 2005

Cultural biases

Neither me, nor anyone I know would SAY that Americans are nicer, more trustworth, care more about life, work harder, etc. than any other people of the world. However, I've had these odd experiences where I realized that I (and I suspect other people I know too) kinda believed that at some deep level. The most concrete example is that at times I had this fleeting and irrational suspicion of airline pilots, or cab drivers, etc.; people that didn't speak my language and didn't affirm me in some other way (say with a smile). On the last leg of the flight to Iasi I started thinking about how ridiculous that was. I've travelled lots of places in America and never felt that way (except with cab drivers... who once again don't speak my language). The only difference was lingual and cultural; I had a mistrust strictly because of these things. Throughout the week though after meeting dozens of Romanians (servers at the restaurant, cabs, hotel helpers, employees of this company we're interviewing) I was reminded that, trite as it soudns, Romanians not all that different from us. They laugh (contrary to what the smiling thing might indicate), eat, drink, and have similar desires for life and work that I do (two guys in particular that I interviewed sounded eerily like me when it comes to work). I wonder what other things I believe deep down and don't realize...

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