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    • I heard about this quote from a podcast I listen to and thought that it would make for a great conversation starter. Here's the full quote:

      “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

      I myself don't travel, but I can fully appreciate the truth behind this quote. There's so much racism happening around the world now and though hard to prove, I believe it stems from a very extreme sense of identity with ones own race/community. This belief is fed to people in an echo chamber and they're made to believe that they (and only they) are "normal", and everyone else who is different is "abnormal". Travelling, and thus, learning about other cultures and other people could easily undo this stigma.

      Nowadays we can even "travel" online to some extent. The internet has broken down walls and made the world much smaller. We can be friends with people from all over the world, learn about their cultures and their societies, broadening our horizons and becoming more attuned to the idea that despite all our differences, we're all more similar than we know.

    • I think travel can broaden and deepen your understanding of people around the world. It’s not always pretty what you learn. You may find bigotry exists that wasn’t on the travel brochure. Or that certain customs are way outside of your comfort zone compared to what you grew up with back home. But I think it’s important to see the world as it is and to know that even the ugly scars can be healed over time. I was recently thinking about my travel experiences from twenty years ago when I learned about the racism and ignorance that existed in Asian countries at the time. Traveling via the internet has changed us all, and the world wide response to George Floyd gives me hope that much of it is for the better. To give a sense of how far things have changed, I give two uncomfortable examples of my travel experiences from two decades ago.

      Two stories

      One, I was in Central America working on a three week project. One evening, my colleague from Malaysia asked me in all seriousness, “Are all Black people in the United States criminals?” This was the early 2000s and his perception was based on what he saw on news reports and what other people he interacted with said.

      Two, another time I was at a business meeting in Thailand for a high tech company, with colleagues from Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. In the evening, we were enjoying drinks in one of the unused conference rooms and they started telling jokes. One of the managers told a joke where the punchline was about Jews and money. My jaw dropped to the floor and I was visibly shocked that everyone was laughing. One of the directors in attendance saw my reaction and said to me, in front of everyone, “You weren’t laughing. Are you a Jew?”

    • Your post got me to reflect on my own impressions of other people and cultures as a result of travel. I think of myself as empathetic, loving other cultures, well-traveled...people are so friendly and welcoming almost everywhere.

      And yet...I have some dark feelings about a few pockets I’ve traveled to or worked in: the gangs in Mexico, the oppression in Saudi Arabia, some white supremacy in the small towns of Alabama.

      It’s hard to know how much is a result of my own biases and background, but I am massively grateful for the opportunity to travel the world and 95% of the time meet wonderful people.

    • I think that quote came from a time when travelling meant to really go to a country and interact with society there. A lot of travel today is to resorts so you can say you were in a country but you actually never saw how life is there. I noticed that when I was in Thailand some years ago. I did some touristy stuff but then I also did a few weeks of backpacking and getting around with busses.

      It was really interesting to talk to “normal” people and their view on things. I was kind of surprised how negativeply people viewed a lot of conservation efforts by well meaning westerners. To them it seemed just another form of colonialism .

      There is so much more detail to a country than what you see when you do the typical travel stuff, browse the Internet or watch news.

    • In the early '70's I lived in eastern Peru for almost three years, working as a pilot for an NGO. One night was spent in a taxi crossing the Andes from the jungle side to Lima where another pilot and I needed to renew our airman medical certificates. The gravel two-lane road was closed in daylight so big bulldozers could rebuild the sections that kept sliding away into the abyss. The trip was sporty enough in daylight, with trucks, busses, and passenger cars crowding the narror track which featured tunnels, hairpin turns, and miles of sheer drops of several thousand feet and no guard rails. Darkness only magnified one's apprehension.

      On this particular trip the driver had crammed six passengers into the 1950's chevy sedan and as he slowly ground his way up and over the 15,800 foot pass one of the passengers began discoursing against foreign exploitation of his homeland. Others joined in, suggesting that things would be much better if Peru could be rid of Gringos altogether. My Spanish was rudimentary and I had difficulty following as the pace of the conversation picked up, but at one point I seemed to hear someone suggest that it would be faster to just kill gringos instead of pursuing all the legislative effort involved in excluding them permanently. My co-worker grew up on a farm in Kansas and believed wholeheartedly that Americans were good people who really just wanted to help their fellowman, and he began to argue that point with the outspoken guy who had started the conversation.

      The discussion became heated and I became really afraid. There was a nascent guerrila movement in Peru at the time, which later became known as 'The Shining Path' and came close to overthrowing the government. They were very serious and committed to their ideology and quite willing to shed blood for their revolution. I did my best to just shrink into the shadows and disappear. I tried to get the Kansas farm boy to just shut up, to no avail. I was "as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs," don't you know! There was no place to hide--my lily-white skin was a dead giveaway, and should I open my mouth my fractured Spanish would convirm that I was indeed a Gringo. Eventually the conversation died out; perhaps the thin air at altitude helped some folk drift off to sleep but I slept nary a wink.

      Over time I've grown to wonder if that feeling of unease growing into outright fear for survival that I experienced one night in the Andes is something akin to the feelings of my countrymen whose skin color does not allow them to just 'blend in'?

    • I can understand your anxiety, alone, in the dark, on a high mountian pass. What could go wrong there?

      We are all descendants of tribal people, long before there was any civilization. Tribes, by their very nature, are highly suspicious of outsiders, non-tribal people, often for good reason. Look at the tribal culture's experiences in North and South America.

      The Highland clans in Scotland were a tribal culture too, 300 years ago. I find it fascinating how Irish, Scottish and English Caucasians, can identify almost to the county where another U K citizen is from as soon as they start talking - accents are that important in the UK . Part of their tribal identity.

      I remember the first time I spent some time with some Scottish lads in a pub, and was really surprised how they felt, deep down, about the English. I should have been better informed as Scottish history has centuries of conflct with the English, but I didn't realize just how serious many Scots still are. Many would be quite thrilled to leave the UK. Just one of many reasons why, in the link below

      There are still bars in the Highlands with signs that say "No Campbells allowed". I saw them last fall when I was there. I don't remember ever seeing signs that say Yankees were not welcome in Georgia or Alabama or Mississippi or Tennessee bars. Although in the back country you might be pressing your luck a bit.

      Civilization has brought many advantages to mankind, but many of the advantages of civilization ( much greater agrarian wealth, domestication of animals, military power, large buildings ) originally accrued to the elite powers in the civilization, not the lower classes. Tribes could easily see that truth. Civilization brought great wealth to a fortunate few, and disease and slavery to a great many. Think of the Egyptian Empire, and its Pyramids. Or the Mayans, or the Romans. And the Romans were far more egalitarian than many earlier empires. The elite power structure often benefitted from the tribalism of its lower classes, pitted off against one an other....

      Today, most people who are not hungry, but well fed, and warm, modestly educated and prosperous, and FREE, are usually pleasant to meet and interact with. After all, they are quite free to disengage, if you don't behave with courtesy and respect. The importance of good manners is still a fact. Good manners are very important when tribes meet each other. Still.

      I have an aquaintance who is a third generation Korean native born American citizen, a native English speaker - but when she was travelling in Japan she would have local citizens get quite annoyed with her when she would/could not respond in Japanese - they saw her face and assumed she was a local, and would become quite insulted that she insisted that she was an English speaker and did not understand Japanese. Making assumptions about people based on race in the modern world, can lead to large misunderstandings.

      Really knowing what tribe an individual belongs to, can be far more informative, than just their race.

    • Ahhhhnold went full terminator on hate and bigotry and it’s a great short watch. It got lots of downvotes tho. He draws from his background growing up in Austria.

    • Living in country where you're the minority will give you a completely different outlook on the world, its people and how we are all in this together. I have done this three different times because of work for long periods, it would be a good thing for the vast majority to experience

    • I would be interested to hear you expand on your experiences as a minority in other countries - both good and bad experiences, if you had them, and I assume you had some of both.

    • Very abbreviated version -

      In 87 I lived in Marrakesh, Morocco and nothing but good experiences. I worked in the La Mamounia Hotel and Casino and had the rights to play on the Kings golf course that had virtually all dog leg right holes because allegedly the King had a wicked slice.

      In 90-92 I worked in the Bahamas, was engaged to a local (black) Bahamian woman at the time and was treated just like another person living on the island of any race, with all the respect in the world except for one day a year I was advised not be seen publicly...emancipation day, which is the first monday of August, a holiday and a lot of drinking happens

      In 93 I lived in Kenya and for a year and loved all but about 5 minutes of it, life was great. I was one of a very few white people around for hundreds of miles. Like all the other places I lived I had as many if not more local friends than expats.

      The fateful 5 minutes was getting attacked at gunpoint, an attempted mugging. What might have been brashness or stupidity remains to be known but I fought my two attackers off because of formerly being a boxer and training in five martial arts it seemed more natural to defend myself than be a victim. My attackers got away with nothing. Even though there were a few white expats around it was the locals who came to my aid before thinking of their own safety.

      All of the above taught me something very real, the western press love to pray in the weakness and gullibility of people's minds and manipulate when and where possible and has made me very cynical of the press in general and most likely is why I travel so much because I want to see and understand cultures by myself, on my own terms.

      So, besides being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I always feel very welcome mostly wherever I go, the tipping point would be if I could only interact more. Languages are my weakness, but I wish they were my superpower.

    • This is something many Malays in Malaysia desperately need to experience. Being the majority in this country and receiving all the social and economical benefits that come with it has made Malays complacent and entitled. On the other hand, the Chinese and Indian minorities have a very different outlook due to their unequal treatment by our country.