Monday 12 April 2010

Loin de la Vérité

There are plenty of stereotypes about the French, some of which include, they smell and don’t shower often, they are rude, and they hate Americans. But don't be fooled by these myths and urban legends because the truth is far more interesting.

The French being rude is easily their biggest stereotype, and the most inaccurate. The French are among the friendliest and most helpful people I've ever encountered. There are cultural differences that lead some to believe the French are rude. The key is to understand the culture and learn at least some basic French terms before you go. A very little effort towards education and understanding will go a long way to getting friendly treatment from French people. There may be some French people who dislike Americans, but most are friendly and polite to their U.S. visitors. In fact, French teens and young adults adore and try to emulate Americans.

Since I’ve been living in Paris the majority of French people I’ve met have been very helpful. My first day here I got lost trying to find the dorms and an elder man could tell I didn't know where I was going and gave me directions. Another time, I got off at the wrong metro stop going to Versailles where another fellow French man gave me directions how to get there. When my boyfriend came to visit me from America we were walking around the city enjoying the scenery when a biker stopped and asked if there was something in particular we were looking for and if needed help finding anything.

I believe these stereotypes came from the media and friends who have previously visited Paris. I think they also come from generalities. I would say that stereotypes are the result of ignorance and laziness. Stereotypes are for people who are too lazy to get to know an individual. There seems to be a preconceived notion of what people may be like which is based on a shallow and often meaningless characteristic about them. Sometimes a stereotype is based in some degree of truth or on some famous legend but that doesn't necessarily make that stereotype true.

Some stereotypes can be relatively accurate while others are based on nothing but lies. Stereotypes are simply a conventional understanding that many people use to judge other people by. However, the only true and accurate way to judge a person or a group of people is to independently get to know them and strive to learn and study them with an objective mindset.

No comments: