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STEREOTYPES: are they TRUE?

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I was born in Russia and I’m still living here. Though I don’t belong to the major nationality (I’m Kazakh), Russian language is considered as my native one. Well, one can argue against it but, nevertheless, I don’t speak or think in Kazakh (just understand the general sense of phrases).

I’m a citizen of Russia and its foreigner at the same time. I found a bordering position somewhere between. I think the emigrants and the migrants will understand me. I’m not absorbed in Russian soul, feasts or traditions but I understand them. That’s why I can’t ignore a tricky point on stereotypes.
Dealing with foreign languages in my university I study foreign culture. And my wholly subjective opinion is that the books are full of stereotypes.  Well, it’s obvious that they come from ancient traditions and reveal the national features. BUT! Most of people understand them literally. Even the teachers impose false stereotypes on children.
More often stereotypes aim to abuse another nationality and disclose its negative features to the world. But some of them contain only narrow concepts of the nation due to its traditions or innovations. So, according to the false images, the English are conservative and reserved, the French are dainty and careless, the Americans are broad-smiled and overweight, the Chinese are silent and grateful… The list is endless. Everybody can add their own adjectives but I chose more or less neutral.

Why do people forget that the foreigners are the same people as we are? They have the same problems, fears and desires. They are HUMANS.
Why on Earth do we believe to these unnecessary stamps? Do they help us in travelling? Do they prevent us from mistakes or danger in the unknown country? Hardly.
I remember my first solitary trip to Moscow (though it wasn’t abroad but the stereotypes do exist). I was full of terrible stories about our capital such as: “people are rude and hard-heartened”, “swindlers and thieves are everywhere” and the most provoking was that “they hate non-Russians” i. e. Asians. Having reached my destination, I was trying to convince myself to the contrary. That was not easy. In fact, the Muscovites differ from the others Russians (I mean people living in Russia, not exactly the nationality) by speed they do the things and indifference to side sounds, they know the value of time. It’s a real feature of people in any megalopolis. Am I right? But still remember: it’s not a strict rule. They are humans as I’ve mentioned above.
But, finally, I’ve arrived at a conclusion: better to be ignorant of such stereotypes or “extra-information”. Otherwise you’ll be confused. The rules of conduct in a foreign country (or a neighbouring town) are well-known:
   -be attentive;
   -respect foreign culture;
   -be politically correct (as the US government says);
   -bear your positive emotions.
That’s it. Nothing more. Stick to these simple rules. They are not burdensome.
 

Picture: Yanko Tsvetkov's  Stereotype Map

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