I just returned from a week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Each time I’m there I’m amazed at how accommodating and kind people are; how nearly everyone with whom we interact speaks English; how our expectation is such that we often don’t even attempt to fumble with broken Spanish. How, I too, although a Spanish major in college, tend to revert to English to avoid awkward fumbling for vocabulary long lost.
On our last day, I glanced down at the Los Cabos Daily News and my heart dropped at the headline, “The telling way white Americans react to pictures of dark-skinned immigrants.” Ugh! My first thought was, “I hope they don’t think I’m like that.”
Political Science Professor, Shanto Iyengar, explains, “people are threatened by different ways of life, different religions, and different languages” (Guo, J., 2016, Washington Post). The body of literature surrounding this idea is immense. I won’t pretend to know the intricacies and variables involved. However, I challenge you to think a bit about the following idea…
We act toward others based on our perceptions of that “type” of person. We create a reality based on that perception. The power of how we choose to see the world, to see others, is consuming.
My experience in Mexico leaves me with the feeling that I was perceived positively, whether warranted or not ;). I hope that we all reflect on where our perceptions of those who are different from us come from; that we challenge those perceptions and adjust our reality accordingly.