Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I’ve always wondered why stereotypes exist. From surfers to businessmen, from soldiers to hicks, from nationalities to their respective countries, all of these are victimized by the official interpretation and depiction mass media and pop culture create.

Take Brazil for example. If you ask an American or an European fellow anything about this country, he’ll immediately brainstorm things connected to music, carnival, soccer, parties, the Amazon Forest, sex, etc. While that might be true to some extent, the country is much more than that and I don’t think they would ever imagine there are towns like Gramado, urban centers like Curitiba or ordinary people who use computers, bike ride, go surfing, study hard pursuing a college degree, drive their cars, go shopping, play sports at publics squares, etc, etc. These things would barely pop up in their minds.

When I was in Britain once, I met some guys who thought Brazil was the land of endless leisure and idleness. I’ve already heard of some North-Americans asking a Brazilian man how he did manage to go to school without being attacked by wild beasts (such as those big African felines!). And now there’s this new trend of depicting us as a violent nation, where crime is on the rise and slums are everywhere. Again that is true to some point and again the nation is by far more than that.

Overall, Brazil is not widely remembered in the north hemisphere headlines, but when they do come up with some news, they’re very often negative and morbid.

One should build his or her impressions about a country or a person by getting to know it better. Meet, visit and inquire more. Forsake stereotypes and reject those superficial and ready conceptions mass media and pop culture prompt.

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