Entitled?

January 31, 2020-

While covering a class yesterday, I showed the film, “Avatar”.  The point was made that, in the far future, a certain segment of Earth’s populace was bent on colonizing a planet similar to our own.  It involved a colonialist mentality, based on perceived economic benefit.

I read a report, yesterday, about an American woman, missing in the Central American country of Belize.  The report said she was last seen on a beach, late at night.  Several commentators cast aspersions on the safety conditions in that country, as well as those in the Dominican Republic.  The comments included the opinion that Americans are routinely seen as projecting a “rich and entitled” persona, by residents of those countries.

I have never been to either nation.  I have been to the South American nation of Guyana, where similar charges were leveled against the local populace.  I was there, with Penny, for three weeks.  We walked about with humility, and did not find ourselves being menaced or accosted by anyone.  We had escorts and host families, the entire time we were there.  That was 1984, and yet I am certain that similar precautions would bear similar results now.

I have been a number of places, since that year.  I can say that I made some boneheaded judgments, when in Europe, in 2014, but none based on hubris or egoism.  I learned what not to do again.  It is simply best to walk in humility and fair-mindedness, albeit while maintaining a smart sense of safety.  I have plans that will take me far afield, over the next five years-and I don’t rule out any given country.  Most will involve making suitable security arrangements beforehand, in any case-but not because I am “rich and entitled”.  There will be many conversations on the subject, I’m certain-just as I spoke with a few disaffected people in Guyana, 36 years ago, and in Paris, six years ago.

This is perhaps as big a reason for my reaching out, as any.

6 thoughts on “Entitled?

  1. I haven’t been many places where I’ve dealt with locals, probably just Thailand. In Bangkok, the prostitutes tried to separate me from my dad. They were confused and thought I was his wife (my dad looks freakishly young, and I look older). In the village, many of the old people did not like me because I was foreign. I was hit with a stick by an elderly woman in a PlayBoy t-shirt who wanted a mango.

    The people warmed up to me after a while and fussed about my hair of all things. I’d walk down the dirt street, and they’d all run up to me and braid my hair over and over again because it’s curly and frizzy. I made a small child cry with my then blue eyes, too. As far as money goes, my stepmom thought I was rich and spent 1000 dollars of my money in three days. I was like, damn girl. My dad paid me back, but don’t think the locals mind taking our money. It still baffles my Thai side that my mother is poor and why I don’t live with my family since I’m disabled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is definitely a more group-oriented, family-centered ethos, in many cultures, worldwide. That’s another way in which Americans and some western Europeans stick out like sore thumbs, when compared to such cultures.

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  2. It is interesting to think that we are the “Ugly Americans” still or is it again? We are planning a world tour and as such are reading up on some of the cultural sensibilities of foreign countries… In Thailand women shouldn’t have bare shoulders (so American women in sleeveless tops are a scandal) for instance. It is a difficult thing to manage but a sincere smile and a generous heart can bridge many differences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have found that your last comment is the saving grace. There will always be those who look for a quick score-either through guilt-tripping, or outright theft. This is as true in Canada and Europe,as it is in “Third World” countries.

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