Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A friend's adventures in the UK

I was chatting over messenger with a good Mexican friend of mine who is now living in the UK. She told me a couple of stories that dovetail nicely with my own that I've also posted in this blog.

She's rather fair-skinned, with blue eyes and blond hair, so I asked her if people believed her when she said where was she from. She answered that usually they don't, but the worst part was with her doctor, who for half an hour analysed her facial features until declaring that "I thought that all Mexicans were short, dark Native Americans". The funniest part was that he was Pakistani himself.

In another instance, after arriving in Barcelona for spending the holidays she was asked to answer a survey. The interviewer started going through the survey in English and as she stutterd with a word my friend ask her to switch to Spanish. The interviewer then seemed rather taken aback, as she didn't expect my friend to be a native Spanish speaker.

So, the lesson is that in Europe people think she's from an English-speaking country, whereas in my case people think I'm Morrocan, Turkish, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian, or even half-Thai half-Finn, but we're both Mexican.

I think it's time we all get rid of our stereotypes. They might be reference points, but they're not very valid.

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