I find it disconcerting that some on Hubpages assume that someone living in South Africa can't know much about anything. Quite apart from the fact that until two years ago I was an American immigrant, but after 11 years returned to Europe (I am a dual German/ South African citizen) and then a year later, returned to South Africa after 20 years in the UK, the EU, and the USA. I will probably be returning to Europe in the future.
South Africans, like Australians, the British, New Zealands, Canadians, and Europeans travel extensively, crisscrossing the continents as a rite of passage. Quite apart from the fact that directly after school or university, we put a backpack on our backs and go from country to country and continent to continent (called a gap year), we also travel internationally for vacations and business.
Is there any reason it is assumed that if one is South African, one must be misinformed?
Who is doing the assuming and where are they doing it?
Having been born in South Africa I do find that people don't always understand what a sophisticated society South Africa really is so it is more likely a lack of education on the part of those who are making these assumptions.
Your coment goes both ways. There are some in Europe and Africa and Australia who assume people from the US are clueless about world affairs. It comes with the territory of free speech and free discussion on Hubpages. As long as someone is not being disrespectful or make personal attacks, I would let it go. It is healthy to debate ideas and perhaps we can learn from each other...
I do not have one iota of interest in debating with people. I am a writer - not a debater. I read for approximately 4 or 5 hours a day. That has been a lifelong habit since I first learnt to read.
One gets far more detailed information from reading. If I want to know something I get three or four books from the library from different perspectives. Less of a waste of time than arguing with people.
People in America are clueless about world affairs! (Sorry, I couldn't resist that.)
Yes, you're right. You have a point.
If you want to discuss what sounds like one specific hub... I think we would need to see a link to it. Or better yet you could just comment on that hub.
"Is there any reason it is assumed that if one is South African, one must be misinformed?"
No, Tess, there is no reason and it just a few from our American rabid right that have the temerity to give you that impression. I think that the opinions of others from abroad are enlightening, valid, and consequently welcome. On an ever shrinking globe, what happens here can have serious ramifications for the rest of the world. So, it is your business, let us know what's on your mind.
If you don't want the world to see your dirty laundry, then wash it first before you hang it out.
"On an ever shrinking globe, what happens here can have serious ramifications for the rest of the world."
Because America holds the Reserve Currency, she has undue influence in finance. This effects every other country. So it's important for the rest of the world to know what is happening in the USA. So ever newspaper in the world reports on events in America.
The Daily Mail, a British Tabloid and the British Guardian (progressive and liberal newspaper owned by a Trust so as not be influenced by profit motive) are particularly intensive of their coverage of the USA. So is Der Spiegel, a German publication. (I'm a dual German/South African citizen).
Don't know the particulars but being uninformed and not completely informed are not the same, but you could be accused of one when it is the other. If you comment on a country's internal affairs you could be perceived as not being privy to all the pertinent facts. Which is understandable. Watching a documentary or reading the news gives you one perspective and usually excludes other perspectives. To form a strong opinion based on that one perspective is easily done if you don't live in the middle of the discussion.
Um. I only recently left the USA and have been in the most profilic discussions for the past 5 years on Google Plus with some 25,000 Americans.
The real issue was that my 'opinion' is not agreeable to some, and rather than quoting facts and figures (which is the only evidence I accept) to counter what I am saying, they jump on the fact that I'm currently living in South Africa and, therefore, cannot possibly know what I am saying.
ALL my hubs are backed up with links providing proof of what I am saying. All that one has to do is click on the links to find the supporting evidence. Because I have been writing to newspapers for more than half a century (search for my portfolio on Google and you will see the first cuttings from bout 1963), I am very, very careful about covering my butt. I make absolutely 100% sure that I have my facts straight
However, for whatever reason, those links were never clicked on.
OK. Well, as I said, I don't know the particulars. But, if it is any consolation those who get irritated when people don't agree don't stop at the complaints even if they know the speaker has lived next door to them for their whole lives.
Don't want to mention names. But this has happened to me a few times. It is now becoming annoying.
Okay, well if you need to make a complaint, you have to contact staff. Otherwise you could simply correct the person right there and then. A firm, but polite response should do the trick. If they are still being a PITA, then ignore them - it's their attitude problem, not yours.
I think Sallybea is right. I know it's annoying when you come across such attitudes. Coming from Australia, I have the same problem. However if you look at the person making the assumption, nine times out of ten they're someone who has never left their native country, and indeed may never have lived anywhere else. So I advise you to feel sorry for them and their narrow, uneducated horizons instead of letting them irritate you.
Nationality will soon be everything. And eye colour will be important too.
??? Very strange remark. Are you saying that Trump is going to make America great again and then everyone will want to be American.
And that if one's eye colour is that normally associated with minorities, one should be careful.
That remark is illuminating.
I agree that this is a very strange remark. I don't understand what Will Apse is trying to communicate.
The way things are going, the treatment that you receive will be more and more related to your race and nationality and less and less to your intrinsic humanity or your abilities.
Also, the myth makers will increasingly construct the world along racial lines. I'm already finding Hollywood movies hard to watch.
You seem to be assuming that Will thinks that's a good thing. I am absolutely sure he does not. He is making a wry comment on the way politics is going. Sadly I agree with him.
'I find it disconcerting that some on Hubpages assume that someone living in South Africa can't know much about anything. '
'Nationality will soon be everything. And eye colour will be important too'
A few dots to join up the above quotes:
I would like the dots back when you have finished with them, lol.
You have a point. Dots returned by wizard mail.
Thanks Tess, I'm starting to run out of dots, along with everything else, lol. If you have any patience to spare, throw that in too.
I think we as people choose how much to value any person's comments. You have to be the arbiter of another person's opinions and ideas. I'm absolutely guilty of, in the past, being a massive and highly aggressive insult monger on this website. I think a lot of people have days where being casually insulting on the internet towards someone you don't know....seems like a way to ventilate some anger.
I repent! I don't want to be my facebook self here. This place is a business. And unlike facebook, this business pays me.
When I was a kid I had the strange notion that European culture was vastly superior to anything USA. I think the idea was simply due to the much deeper history of Europe, and all those different well developed cultures. I've been to Canada. I've been to Mexico several times. But I've never seen such far flung outposts of European colonialism as South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and holy smoke, I've never been to Europe either.
I've plenty of opinions about political and cultural things going on in places where I've never been. And I'll sometimes express myself. One thing which does annoy me is when someone not living in the USA has such strong opinions about US politics. Well, it's our dog and pony show over here. Me being annoyed is not worth a lot.
Anyway, I can't imagine thinking someone was dumb for being from South Africa. For some reason, reading the post, I assumed you'd had a politics disagreement with someone in the US.
Until Septembr 2014, I did live in the USA, and I lived there for 11 years - in Houston, Texas, in San Diego, California, and in Ukia, Northern California.
In addition, part of the time I was in the USA, I traveled extensivley through the States as part of a job for six months. During that time, I saw half of the American states.
In addition, as a San Diego Comic-con staffer for 14 years now, I met a lot of Americans (very famous ones) from all walks of life.
So, yes, while I can understand your anger at someone who writes about the USA who has never lived there, that's not me.
I have also interacted heavily with Americans on Google Plus with between 26,000 and 32,000 followers and a total of about 48 million views, mostly from Americans.
This has come up several times over the past year since I have returned to South Africa. Just thought it was time to say something about it.
I know some people in South Africa. What is your opinion of what has been going on there in politics since the end of the white domination? How has race relations been compared to here in the USA? I really like to know.
I don't know much about the politics because it doesn't interest me that much. My thing is first world politics, not third world politics.
However, in the 20 years that I was away, the country has changed remarkably - for the better.
I am absolutely stunned at the degree of intergration.. In the time I have been away, a thriving black middle class that is culturally the same as any white middle class has arisen. Many of them have been privately eduated and speak well. Their grasp of good English is superior to most Americans. They are also incredibly well educated.
I have found black people here are polite, friendly, and I feel far safer here than I ever did in America. They call me 'Mama' when they see me, and they help me with my bags if they are too heavy, give me directions if I ask them, and are very helpful. I move freely amongst black people on a daily basis. I use their 'mini cabs' for traveling because it is a cheap fast way to get from A to B. I seldom see other white people on them, though. My life has never been in danger.
Along with many tourists who come here on holiday, I find that the black South Africans are friendlier, happier and nicer than white people. The moment I run into white people, they start on about 'them' and how 'badly' the country is run by 'them.'
Yes, the president is on the same level as Trump. What can I say? South Africa has a democracy, unlike the USA. There is still a lot of poverty here, and the voting is along tribal basis. The constitution, however, has been said to be better than that of the American one and freedoms are protected. Gay marriage has never been questioned and nobody thinks anything of it. Abortion, bigger penises, and and other services are freely offered in posters on the streets.
I believe half the budget is allocated to education, and the arts function here at a level that I have never seen elsewhere in the world. You have to visit Cape Town to see it. That's basically because the tourist interest is thriving. Cape Town has repeatedly been voted the best city in the world with regards to tourist. In addition, come September, October, and the model and film industry arrive from all over the world. Movies are made here. It's a mini Hollywood.
The reason? The scenery is stunning. The facilities, the best the first world has to offer. And it's cheap!
And, of course, South Africa is part of BRICS - the five countries that just keep on growing - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
So, I take off my hat to South Africa. What they have accomplished in 20 years is nothing short of miraculous. And racism?
Tess, thanks for your first hand information on South Africa. I was under the impression that things are not well there. I have a few relatives by marriage whose family live in Capetown. On a few occasions, when the topic came up, I was told the government is corrupt and the officials are mostly incompetent. This was partly due to the change in government after the end of apartheid. Some officials were ousted and the replacement were not qualified technically. That is why they experince periodic power outages... Thanks for a different perspective.
It really depends on where you are standing as to what view you are seeing. If you are a white South African, jobs aren't easy to come by. So, yes, things are worse for whites. However, they are better for blacks. I'd say that there's a balance now that thee never used to be. To me, that's an improvement.
It's also not as if white's are poor. There are, I believe 86 dollar BILLIONAIRES in South Africa. We are a very small country. That is unbelievable. And, yes, inequality is terrible. The average salary here is about $350 per month, and nobody should have to live on that.
Yes, there are electrical outages, yet in the 15 months I've been back, I haven't experienced one. How bad can they be?
Yes, of course, the government is inept and corrupt. Did they think they weren't corrupt when the Afrikaaners were in power? Did they moan when people like Biko was killed, etc. I happened to come from an anti-apartheid family and I joined the Progressives in 1965 as a 14 year old. I worked every election from that day until the day they got rid of apartheid. There were people falling out of John Vorster Square every two minutes. If that wasn't a corrupt government, then I don't know.
I also hear that apartheid wasn't responsible for Zuma (our President)'s Grade 6 education. At the time, Black South Africans were not permitted to be educated to a white level because they were regarded as 'half monkey.' I kid you not. When I was studying anthropology at the University of South Africa in the mid 70s, that is what my text book said. They were also not permitted to be paid the same as a white man even if they did the same job or had better qualifications. It was called the job reservation act. In addition, sex across the colour line was called the 'immorality act.'
I could go on.
South Africans resent the president using tax money to build his home, etc. However, when white South Africans ruled, they underpaid black people savagely, treated them savagely, and isolated them in townships far away from city centres. They needed to leave home at 4 in the morning to arrive at work at 8.30. I recall heart transplant Chris Barnard icon saying to one of his staff "Why are these people always late?" He was extremely irritated. Someone had to explain to him that they had to walk from the middle of nowhere in order to get to work. Plus they needed a 'pass book' in order to move around. Black people couldn't just go into white areas.
So, forgive me, yes, Zuma is corrupt. I don't know where it will lead. I do, however, know that in the 15 months I have been back, I have seen a miracle. And I am in awe.
I do love to read, and I don't understand why anyone would make assumptions about any other country when they have neither read nor researched about it, or visited there.
My own excursion outside the USA is limited to a single trip to Western Canada back in about 1991. It was nothing like visiting a foreign country at all; we share the same language; drive on the same side of the road; have similar laws. However, I did find the Canadian people to be more friendly and polite than many here at home. Also, it was clean!! No unsightly graffiti; no chewing gum globs on the sidewalks; no litter in the street gutters.
I am from the USA...and at the moment, I am quite thoroughly disgusted with our political system, and the rampant corruption.
It has gotten worse and worse, and now we see the results come home to roost!
I offer you a quote from Mark Twain: "Patriotism is respecting your country all the time, and the government when it deserves it."
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