I like to think that I have a pretty open mind. While much of my interaction with people from different backgrounds happened during college, more of these conversations are taking place now that Jay and I have been traveling and meeting people from around the world. I enjoy engaging in discussion on just about any topic, but many of the ideas I have come across seem radical, and ridiculously conspiracy theory-like.
One person shared with me that America is the country with the least freedom and civil liberties because the government can watch you through your television screen. She added that this is why the government encouraged everyone to switch from analog to digital and even initially gave away free cable boxes, so that we can be watched. Another Costa Rican added that there is no privacy in the United States, since there is a personally-identifying code on each voting note so that the government can record in a file who you voted for.
The ‘radical ideas’ and misconceptions extend beyond the United States to other countries including Israel. While I was once quite staunchly right-wing in my views, my political leanings migrated to center-left over the past few years and I began to develop a distaste for blanketed Israel advocacy. But my jaw dropped and I instantly understood the mass ignorance that perhaps necessitates the advocacy when one tico shared with us that -historically – there were never Jews in ancient Israel, and that the Israelis are relentlessly and purposefully persecuting Palestinians as a misguided revenge against Hitler and the Holocaust. She made no distinction between “the Jews” and Israelis, and stated all of these comments as nonnegotiable facts.
I don’t have high expectations that culturally-entrenched views can change overnight, but I gave a little push-back and a small discussion ensued. I did take slight satisfaction in realizing that – unbeknown to this tico – her house is stocked full of Israeli products (Beit HaShita) as well as American kosher-certified products (cookies, olive oil, etc.). The irony.
posted by amybetho