racey.

26 Oct

While I could inevitably write a post every day until I head back to California (no, I´m not going to include the cliche ¨back, back to Cali, Cali¨ reference, mostly because no one in California actually calls CA ¨Cali¨), there is one salient difference that has been on my mind the last few days. What´s the issue? Race.

There´s no doubt that Spaniards are less politically correct than the people I know back home. In California (and probably much of the United States), people tip-toe around potentially inflammatory statements, even avoiding making racist jokes in case they could upset a listener. Spaniards, on the other hand, are more to-the-point with their descriptions.

This week, my school is getting ready for Halloween. I asked one girl what she´s going to be, and she responded that she´s dressing up as a ¨chino¨ (Chinese person). Harmless kid stuff, right? Well, I´m not so sure. Here, anyone of Asian descent is filed under the ¨Chino¨ distinction. Additionally, most ¨Chinos¨ are known for owning and operating two types of stores – small snack shacks called ¨Alimenataciones¨ as well as the Spanish equivalent of a 99 cent only store. If you´re looking for something peculiar that isn´t available at a grocery store, a common response is ¨Go to the chino shops…the chinos have everything.¨

While this isn´t necessarily racist, it´s interesting that such racial sentiments and broad, sweeping conjectures are issued without so much as a flinch. While I think in some respects, it´s neat that Spanish culture isn´t as ¨precious¨ as that of America, I think race is one thing it´s okay to be sensitive about.

Have you experienced different views of race during your travels?

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One Response to “racey.”

  1. joeandharryabroad October 28, 2010 at 4:06 am #

    I have just moved to Malta from England and I find that in Malta they are very… well racist! In England, like America, everyone is so careful about what they say.

    On our first day here we were asking our estate agent about certain towns to live in and she told my boyfriend ‘You can’t live here, your lady will get raped by the blacks’. Despite there being no evidence to back this up and a shockingly low crime rate in the country!

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