Monday, 13 April 2009

How To Cure Your Xenophobia

I read this article on a blog on the Sydney Morning Herald recently called How To Cure Your Xenophobia.

Apparently the cure for xenophobia is to travel. It doesn't say how far or how wide but the blog implies a bit more than catching the bus to work.

It relieves me to know that the miracle cure for treating a racist is to pop them on an aeroplane or a boat and whiz them around a bit, and perhaps we could instead of sentencing racist rioters and name-callers to community service or gaol time, we could give them luxury cruises or Contiki tour tickets instead. I'm sure that'd be heavily endorsed by the public.

I cannot say statistically whether people who travel more are less racist than those who travel less, and if so whether there there is a causal link between the two. And if one does travel there is a chance to educate oneself through travelling, in a different way from educating oneself through not travelling, though of course one can travel and not be enlightened by travel experiences and one can stay at home and be enlightened by experiences at home that those who travelled didn't get to experience.

However I find it a little 'offensive' - or perhaps the more accurate word would be 'presumptuous' - that some travel-happy types regularly come up to me and seem to think that they are more open-minded, cultured, educated, nicer, compassionate, understanding, open-minded, less-racist people simply because they have travelled and then find out that I haven't travelled much so urge me to do so because then I'll be 'fixed'. Many try to pressure you to go on about taking trips in public, it'll be so good for you, you should go on this one, pressure pressure, pressure, if you haven't done it you aren't complete and embarrass you. Of course I've yet to find one of these people offering to cough up the cash for one. But of course they're getting you to do it so you're a better member of society.

Often without knowing anything much else about me.

To me this displays a great ignorance and arrogance on their own part - it does not even display that

a) they have shown a causal link between travelling and their sublime benefits and if so, whether or not such effects would flow onto myself should I take the same course of action

b) they have investigated whether I show lacking in a particular area

c) and whether I care about that lacking

d) they have investigated why I haven't travelled previously and shown any understanding for my preferences in that regard or my own personal values.

It's all about "I like travelling, it works for me, I think it makes me better - whatever the hell better is, I don't care whether you think it's better, it's better by MY TERMS - and I want you to be like me because I think I'm so bloody marvellous so do what I do - get going - not that I've figured out if this process actually works or not and by the way it's on your money!!!"

Does anyone else find this attitude just a bit obnoxious ... ?

No comments: