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Pickens Aug 26th, 2001 10:06 PM

Intolerance and Ignorance
After reading several posts on a wide variety of issues on travel to Europe, I have been amazed by the hostile attitudes towards Americans - we are ignorant, uncultured, too intolerant, etc. <BR> <BR>I agree, in terms of not knowing "book knowlege" and factoids, many Americans are lacking. But this is what I consider to be truly ignorant. <BR> <BR>To judge someone on how they dress (tennis shoes or shorts) as opposed to what kind of person they are is truly ignorant. <BR> <BR>To not recognize your own biases and intolerances is truly ignorant. <BR> <BR>When encountering people with differering oppinions and to simply respond "We don't want you ignorant Americans over here. Just stay home and don't bother us" is truly ignorant. I would never say that to a European. I have friends from Europe who live over here, and express how they don't agree with how certain things are done. But I have never asked them to leave the country! <BR> <BR>When I travel, I love the differences. I love trying different foods, learning about other cultures. Doing things totally different from what I would do at home. That is the beauty of travel. I always try to be respectful of my hosts and try to be a polite guest in another country. At the same time, I expect, as a guest, to be respected for being different, and my differences to be accepted as long as they don't infringe on anyone else's rights or sensibilites. <BR> <BR>One example that comes to mind is the issue on smoking. I am an asthmatic. I cannot help the fact that I am genetically disposed to having bad reactions to smoke. Yet some posters see non-smokers concerns as being culturally narrow minded, when we are simply trying to maximize our enjoyment of our vacation by not getting sick. <BR> <BR>If Europeans were so tolerant and open minded, why are then not tolerant when it comes to the health of others?

ifitlookslikea Aug 26th, 2001 10:35 PM

Nice try, Pickens. You'll stir up the usual crap about how America has polluted the rest of the world blah blah blah...B O R I N G. Go visit the thorntree site.

Don't Be So High and Mighty Aug 26th, 2001 11:43 PM

Europeans don't judge Americans because we wear white tennis shoes and wear cameras around our necks. When we arrive in their homelands, we should be able to say at least a few words in their language, and not expect them to follow our rules about smoking. Many Europeans smoke, so get over it. If you don't like the heat get out of the kitchen. I'm sorry you have asthma, but don't you have medication, an inhaler or an oxygen tank to help your breathing while you are touring? You can't expect everyone to accommodate you. Otherwise, stay at home in your non-polluted surroundings and watch the Travel Channel. <BR> <BR>

Florence Aug 27th, 2001 12:39 AM

Smoke pollution is recognised for the problem it is on both sides of the Atlantic. It is addressed here, only not in the same manner as in some parts of the USA. There are asthmatics in Europe too, we know that small children and elderl..., ol..., seni..., more mature persons should not be exposed to smoke, and we must find ways to protect all these people. <BR> <BR>I for one find very distasteful to have to suffer the smell of cigarette (or worse, cigar) while I'm supposed to enjoy my meal, and I'd be very happy to see the European laws respected in public places. Only, the only way to have a law respected is to make it understood and accepted by a majority of people, and this takes time. <BR> <BR>I work in a big university hospital, where a large portion of the nursing staff (!) smoke. The building has been designated as "a non-smoking area but not a non-smoker area". Little by little, we are reducing the number or areas where the staff (and patients and visitors) can smoke, offering courses and counselling on smoking cessation, etc. The acceptance of the new rules are better and better, and no major conflict has erupted. But it takes time and endless consultations, communication, negociation, etc. <BR> <BR>There is no reason to judge Americans (or anyone) on their desire to be spared the inconveniences due to smoking (or on their wearing any kind of clothing that hide the body parts that should remain hidden). It would just be nice if SOME could refrain from dictating the way we should address the problem and from making generalisations (Europeans smoke ? all Europeans, everywhere, all the time ? please).

clairobscur Aug 27th, 2001 02:09 AM

Pickens, <BR> <BR>Someone who writes "We don't want you ignorant Americans over here. Just stay home and don't bother us" here is 99% likely to say so only in order to enjoy some heated reactions from both side on his thread...And he's 90% likely to be american himself.

Florence Aug 27th, 2001 02:17 AM

Clairobscur, <BR> <BR>et les 10% restant sont de damnés crétins qui devraient non seulement rester chez eux mais résilier leur liaison internet !

Pickens Aug 27th, 2001 06:39 PM

To: Don't Be So High and Mighty <BR> <BR>I do speak a little of the language when I go to another country. I strongly believe you should do what you can to familiarize yourself with the language and culture. That is a part of the growth that comes with travel. But I guess this is the point I am making... <BR> <BR>Should an orthodox Jew be forced to eat bacon since that is what we serve for breakfast? <BR> <BR>Should an orthodox Muslim woman be forced not to wear the veil since no western woman wears one? <BR> <BR>If someone must eat a low-fat diet due to cardiac problems, should they never go to France? <BR> <BR>What about the physically challenged people? If the Vatican does not have ramps, to bad? <BR> <BR>What is so wrong about being sensitive to the physical needs of others? If some people want to smoke, fine. But why not reserve a small area for those who can't tolerate smoke? <BR> <BR>I am so glad for all the people who DIDN'T accept "that's just the way it is, if you don't like it, tough!" If we were all so complacent, we would still have slavery and women would not have the right to vote.

Martin Aug 27th, 2001 08:58 PM

Pickens - <BR>Handicapped ramps at the Vatican? Where did that come from? It's all very well for us Americans to deface our own architecture in the name of political correctness, but are you going on some sort of crusade to make Europe do it too? <BR>When you are in another country, the reality is, as you put it, "that's just the way it is, and if you don't like it, tough!" Otherwise, you are being an arrogant prig and might as well stay home. Europeans aren't going to tell you you can't wear sneakers over there. That's just Americans on this board slavishly trying to look like Europeans. But you shouldn't be telling Europeans what's best for their country any more than you would want Europeans coming over here and spouting what's wrong with America. <BR>And if you are an orthodox Jew, just don't eat the damned bacon! But don't have a fit because it's on the friggin' buffet table at the hotel! <BR>

americaine Aug 27th, 2001 10:41 PM

<BR>Merçi pour le sentiment, clairobscur et Florence. Nous savons qui a dit ça, et pourquoi. Dommage. Vous êtes trés gentilles.

clairobscur Aug 28th, 2001 02:10 AM

Florence, <BR> <BR> <BR>Je suis censé me sentir visé, ou c'est une remarque d'ordre général?

Florence Aug 28th, 2001 02:20 AM

Clairobscur, <BR> <BR>Mille pardons si je me suis exprimée d'une manière qui vous fasse penser que je vous attaquais. Je me référais, en appui à votre remarque, aux idiots qui ont sévi sur ce forum récemment en étalant leur stupidité et leur méchanceté. Vous n'avez de toute évidence rien à voir avec eux. <BR> <BR>Meilleures salutations de Genève.

Mika Aug 28th, 2001 03:59 AM

And ARE YOU tolerant about Europeans on this FORUM????? <BR>We smell. <BR>We have hotel rooms with bugs and dirty baths. <BR>We don't shave our legs and under our arms. <BR>We eat a lot of garlic. <BR>We smoke. <BR>We are unfriendliy to tourists. <BR>We dont speak English. <BR>We don't understand you dialects and if you talk too quickly. <BR>etc. etc. etc. <BR>Think about this!!!!! <BR>Why do you keep coming to Europe????

nancy Aug 28th, 2001 04:46 AM

Mika, <BR>I do not think you smell ! and I love garlic! :-) <BR>There are some posts specifically put on this board, in order to generate heated, unpleasant discussion. <BR>Alas, this is one of them. <BR>

sante Aug 28th, 2001 06:03 AM

Ah, yes, Martin, Jesus would have had none of that awful "PC" stuff -- thought only young, able, healthy, heterosexual white males were to be given the keys to the kingdom. Of course, Il Papa and his Red Birds refined the rules for belonging to the club a little further, and the result is all that wonderful gilded architecture that god himself would have built if he'd had the money. I'm sure if Jesus had had such an aedifice in Jerusalem, he would never have tossed the money-changers out.

Martin Aug 28th, 2001 06:19 AM

Sorry Sante. I'm agnostic. I couldn't care less who is or is not supposed to get into heaven. I just like the architecture of the old European churches. But God help us (*grin*) if American start demanding that Europeans make all of their historic buildings handicapped-accessible.

111111111 Aug 28th, 2001 02:52 PM

By the way, St. Peters is accesable to the handicap. <BR>The ramp is around back or on the left side. <BR>Ask if you do not find it, you will be told. <BR>There is a gate on the left side (cars go in this gate) and you can go in and up the ramp. <BR>

sandi Aug 28th, 2001 07:07 PM

And how many angel can dance on the head of a pin?

Pickens Aug 28th, 2001 07:58 PM

Boy, some of you just don't get it, do you! I am one person who does NOT concern myself with whether people use deoderant, shave, what clothes they wear, etc. Didn't you read my first statement where I CLEARLY stated that I believe that type of judgement is ignorant? Can you read? <BR> <BR>I think judging people on superficial issues like this is stupid. I have traveled to several third world countries and have NEVER had a problem because I treated the people with respect. In return, they respected me, and I had a very good time. <BR> <BR>But some posters on this point are proving my point. Instead of taking time to read carefully and consider carefully what is said, they immediately explode into some irrational tyrade that makes no sense in light of my original argument. They are blind to their own biases. <BR> <BR>What was my original point? That SOME of the posters on this board - Americans and Europeans - suffer from intolerance and ignorance. <BR> <BR>My examples, such as wheel chair ramps at the Vatican and an orthodox Jew forced to eat bacon were HYPOTHETICAL POINTS USED TO ILLUSTRATE A POINT, NOT A COMPLAINT ON MY PART! <BR> <BR>I appreciate the fact that effort has been made to make the world more inclusive for people who have differences. By the way, I am glad that the Vatican does have wheel chair access, even though I do not need one. If you dislike this positive change that makes the world more accessible to physically challenged people, you are truely pathetic! <BR> <BR>I think the greatest gift from travel will occur when cultures intermingle and growth occurs on both parts. <BR> <BR>So when I go to Europe (fist attempt at "more conventional" travel destinations!!) that some kind souls will have a tiny corner set aside for non-smoking and truely enforce the rules. I hope that all non smokers continue to ask for non-smoking area, and eventually this will become more of the norm, even in Europe. I feel that it is a matter of time before decreased smoking areas is the norm worldwide. So get over it (!) <BR> <BR>

americaine Aug 28th, 2001 11:49 PM

Florence: J'ai vous compris, clairement. Merci une autre fois pour le sentiment chalereux. <BR>Mais, pourquoi la confusion, Mr. Clairobscur? Elle se referre aux autres, clairement. Vous avez toujours nous aidé. <BR>

Alex Aug 28th, 2001 11:55 PM

Ne commencez pas ici a parler français, ça vous arrivera le même qu'au "post" : "Portugal and the Portuguese people".... just kidding! <BR>The intolerance is like the freedom... my freedom stops when the freedom of others arise! In life there are choices and options: for the things i don't enjoy I make my point and I don't insist I just go on... as in life! <BR>Alex <BR>

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