Friday, December 7, 2012

Cultural differences

Sometimes the cultural differences here are very stark.  I think I've mentioned before how much less diversity  there is here, including racial, religious, nationality, languages spoken, etc.  There are also way fewer people in Chile than in the US.

Anyway, today at lunch I found myself surrounded by (all female) coworkers talking about whether they liked (I think just the men of) a certain race.  I was extremely uncomfortable!  They asked me if I liked that race and if I had ever had a boyfriend of that race.  I was flabbergasted and tried to explain how that sort of conversation is not appropriate in the US, and how I think people should think of people as individuals who have their own personalities and you shouldn't say you like or dislike a certain race.  I definitely didn't explain myself as well as I would have liked to, partly because it was in Spanish and partly because I was just too flabbergasted.  I told them it was racist to say things like that, but I just don't know how much the idea of racism exists here, because of the relative lack of diversity.  It certainly isn't the same concept as it is in the US.

And then there was an anatomy discussion and I learned some new terms.  So there's that.

I'm sure I didn't handle this as well as I could have.  Any suggestions for if it comes up again?

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