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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prejudice and Ignorance (Spain)

When I first got to La Salle, my CT said that she wanted me to give a lesson on my neighborhood and it was in this manner that, on just my second day of pre-pracing, I was giving a full-blown lesson on New York City. I did not want to do a lecture, with just me talking the whole time and the students only able to ask questions at the end; hence, I tried to make it more interactive. I drew a  map of New York City on the board, labeling the interesting and known areas of it, and asked the class to question me on the places that most interested them. The students started asking me questions like: "Why do New Yorkers hate people from new Jersey?," "How many people have you seen shot in the Bronx?," and "Is it true that New Yorkers are rude?" All these questions reminded me of my first day of classes in La Universidad Complutense de Madrid. As an ice breaker, the teacher had asked the class what their first impression of Spain was. The most common answer was that it was surprising how nice and clean the people were here. As a Spaniard raised in the United States, I had no idea that this was how Americans perceived us. They thought Spaniards were rude harsh individuals that, for cultural reasons, did not take regular showers. This made me realize how misinformed these university students, who one would think would be were culturally aware, were and I decided to blame it on the education they had received. However, in listening to the Spaniard students, I understood that this was not only a problem found in the United States but everywhere. This made me angry because, living in such a globally linked world as we do today, how is it possible that such ignorance and prejudice still exists. It made me realize that, it is probably this ignorance and false beliefs of other cultures that bring about injustices. Therefore, I decided that, as an educator, I would try to make my students more open to other cultures and for them not to be taken by prejudice information of others.  

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