When I was a schoolgirl, I’d hear the phrase “Ugly American” mentioned in and out of the classroom. That deprecating phrase would be tossed around in the news, and in conversations that attempted to ascertain what was meant.
Among natives of the Hawaiian Islands where culture was suppressed as we were ushered in as the 49th state in the union, prejudice against the white man simmered. A double-edged sword, statehood. There are those who would like Hawaii to secede and become a self-governing entity, just as some Texans envision happening in their state. I’m not one of those; I’m a little more pragmatic. I opt for the advantages…over the disadvantages.
What I am…is respectful of other cultures. It doesn’t mean I am without criticism of ways different from mine. We’ve all got a bit of the sinner and the saint in us. However when I walk among people on their turf…be it a neighborhood, a town, or a country…I’m wary. I’m mindful of my p’s and q’s.
Amanda Knox’s treatment at the hand of the prosecutor in the Perugian courthouse, is proof that the age-old stereotype of the “Ugly American” survives to this day. Americans and our western lifestyle are not always admired. A dose of humility should temper the overwhelming pride with which we seem to view ourselves.
…something we might want to teach our children…to help them…as they travel…and live…among others…