Friday, December 19, 2008

Daughter Returns

(Guanaco in Patagonia, Chile) Language cannot fully capture the delight of the return of one’s child to home turf after study abroad for an extended period of time. In this case, said daughter departed in September for Santiago, Chile as part of Stanford’s program for completing the fall semester of one’s junior year in another country. Having lived entirely immersed in worlds of two different languages, she is now able to swear prolifically in two different languages.

At dinner she served a succulent feast of stories and descriptions of the highs and lows of the international adventure in a variety of cultural domains including cuisine, home life, dating, music, Internet, alcohol, and film. These people have avocados down to an art, and apparently here in the states we only think we have guacamole. When she told me she was concluding her stay with a trip to Patagonia, I scratched my head. Where?

In an interesting twist, she encountered a racism perhaps known to the reader but until now unknown to me, racist views against one’s own. I kid the reader not. During the earliest part of her stay, daughter enjoyed the company of a very white, very blonde, and very blue eyed fellow student, and her host family and newly found friends beamed with approval of her taste in male companionship. Of no surprise to a certain father, said daughter quickly moved from white blond blue to an earthy local solidly framed from the local mettle. The entire support structure went ballistic. While Mr. White could do no wrong and earned esteem by virtue of being, local Latino was served contempt, disregard, and a heap of unwelcome.

Readers familiar with this dynamic are most welcome to share, but without question the daughter encountered a scenario where the local ethnicity held another race up as superior. As I replay the data, yes the sociology distinctions like the social reproduction of inequality and other similar constructs support it, but it is striking nevertheless.

I can understand the system pounding down minorities to where they accept the view that they are inferior. I find it more difficult to grasp local majorities regarding themselves as beneath an outside minority. Then again, South America is not my terrain.


Anonymous Observer said...

Chile is the US of South America, more seduced by consumerism and obsession with economic status.

What you write does not surprise me.

By the way, I like that you post entries such as these. I consider your blog one of the most interesting I have encountered.

You march to your own drum. Good for you and keep it up.

12/20/2008 8:02 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home