Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Xenophobia

Zēnəˈfōbēə: n. Intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.



On Saturday I went to a party with my friend Vickie. We were celebrating the birthday of one of her friends, Alejandra. The party was a blast up until around 3am. That's when people went a little crazy.


Example one:


Vickie and I were talking to this guy, let's call him Bradley Cooper. (Why, you ask? He could have passed for the real Brad's Chilean twin.) Anyway, Bradley turns to me and says, "Can I be totally honest with you?" And he proceeds to tell me that he hates my country. I nervously laughed and asked him why. His response? Imperialism. Then he goes off on a rampage about the war and how the Americans are only there because they are after the "sweet water".


I should maybe back up a bit, and point out the Bradley was beyond drunk. At this point in the conversation he was still relatively calm. And then all of a sudden he starts screaming at me, "I hate your country! I hate your country!" Clearly he was too drunk to engage in a debate on the matter so I turned to his friend for assistance in calming Mr. Cooper down. At least he apologized before passing out on the sofa.


Example two:


Following the Bradley Cooper incident, this other guy decided it was his turn to berate me. His name was Jack Ass. In Spanish, he asked me why I don't speak Spanish. I tried to explain to him that I am learning. He clearly didn't like my response because he asked me again. I asked Vickie for help, because Jack seemed very irate. Vickie started telling Jack my life story and he turns to me, and in English this time asks me why I'm was not speaking in Spanish. So at this point, I'm was slightly irritated and I told him again that I'm learning. And he said "I saw you all night speaking in English". Clearly at this point I should have said "Why the eff do you care?" But instead I just stared at him in shock.


He then continued his rampage quite hatefully with "Listen, you're in Latin America. You need to be speaking in Spanish." Now, Jack wasn't screaming at me like Bradley, but the anger was seething in his voice. In retrospect, that would have been a great time to throw my drink in his face (glass and all). But I just told him for the millionth time that I'm learning. And I tried to walk away. He then proceeded to interrupt every conversation I had for the rest of the evening and tell both me and the person I was speaking with that the conversation needed to be in Spanish. Thankfully he left soon after.



I'm guessing these two xenophobes have an issue with Americans. But I honestly don't care. Once the yelling started, I lost all interest in trying to change their opinions. Thankfully (and this part is important) the majority of people I have met here in Chile have been nothing but nice.


And once I've learned Spanish, I hope to see Jack again. Just so I can speak in English in front of him again. You know, out of spite.

3 comments:

  1. Well it seems apparent that, among other things, Brad and Jack are blind.

    'press 1 for ignorant alimentary orifice'

    <- checks notes to self and finds one:

    note to self: Don't do spite - (energy applied) to (satisfaction gained) ratio is negative.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ignorant, bigots, fools - they are everywhere and there's no escaping them. Much as I like the fact that you always try to stand for what you believe, these people can't be changed because they're not open to conversation and learning.

    And again I agree with Joe regarding spite. As my grandmother would have said, doing spiteful things only brings you down to the level of the person you're trying to spite. Ignoring them is a much better punishment!

    ReplyDelete
  3. fine. fine. i still think it would be more fun to be spiteful.

    ReplyDelete