At lunch yesterday, Agnès told a story about how when she worked in California, there was a new employee from Germany. Everyone wanted the two of them to meet because they figured they'd hit it off, both being from Europe and all.

Then someone asked me where I'd traveled and I said I'd been to Chile this summer and to various places in Europe while I was studying in Grenoble. I didn't even realize that I was making the same generalizations about Europe as the people in California had - just lumping together France, Belgium, Switzerland, England and Scotland - until it was pointed out to me.

I thought it was funny how my students lump together the states, thinking that people in Michigan see movie stars in the street and go gallivanting off to Miami and NYC every weekend. But Americans do the same thing, assuming that all French people have been to Brussels and Edinburgh and lumping the very different cultures and countries together.

srah - Friday, 18 October 2002 - 6:45 AM
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