Asia Bangladesh

Assumptions & stereotypes: Friend or Foe?

I say that I hate assumptions and thinking you have something all worked out before you experience it for yourself, but I realise now that I am as guilty of stereotyping as the next person. “Keep an open mind” I say, but as I sit here about to board my flight to Dhaka, I realise that my mind is full of assumptions about what I am about to see, smell, taste and feel over this next week.

“Bangladesh is India on steroids.”
“Prepare to be stared at like never before.”
“Women are not in a position of power.”
“Poverty, poverty, poverty.”
“Little power and no internet.”
“Curry three meals a day.”
“Headscarves and loose clothing.”
“Chaos.”

Is it helpful to have read or heard these kinds of comments and to have these ideas swirling in my head? Or is ignorance better?

I am about to find out.

Safe Travels,
x Sonia x

5 comments

  1. Assumptions are harmless as long as we are happy to have them shattered – and so long as they don’t stop us from experiencing something we would really enjoy.

    Can’t wait to hear what the real Bangladesh is like!

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  2. Hi Sonia,

    Reading your blog and your list of common preconceptions reminded me so much of our first visits to Bangladesh. Lesley particularly hated the “being stared at” one. We had to laugh one day when we were walking quietly late in the day along a rural track and a young man rode past on his push bike. He kept staring at Lesley, looking back as he passed, and was so focused on her he nearly ran into a tree. Then, the most beautiful smile broke out on his face. The staring wasn’t aggressive – it was just serious curiousity.

    There is another thing that Lesley and I found after our first trip to Bangladesh together. It was a life-changing experience. We could never look at life in the same way again. We are so well-off in Australia compared with others in Bangladesh and many other places.

    It’s so exciting that you are visiting Bangladesh. I hope you and your son have a wonderful, safe and healthy time.

    Dave

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    1. Dave, thank you so much for your message. It came at a very apt time – young Nathan was really overwhelmed by the staring yesterday. I read him your message and he laughed. It reiterated what I had told him that they were curious, they don’t want to hurt him. So thank you. Best wishes, Sonia

      Liked by 1 person

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