ok this one harks back to a couple of months ago when I was in Australia. I was watching Ray Mears do his survival programme on tv. This time it was about the Australia outback and 4WD-ing so it was particularly pertinent. (I always feel like taking notes but never do.) He was trying to emphasize the importance of survival skills when venturing into the outback and illustrated it with a tale of 2 german tourists who got themselves into trouble. The consequence was that one of them died.

I was railing against their ignorance and, what I called, their arrogance. I was told that I only felt that way because they were German. It was my anti-German feelings that were surfacing. But that isn't the case. It was my feelings about the ignorance and arrogance of tourists.

Yes I am a tourist as well. But I am talking about the kind of tourist that remains ignorant regardless of the culture they are in. The kind of tourism that doesn't take the time to learn about the local culture. In some countries, it just means that 'western' tourists are held in contempt for their disrespectful attitudes, their arrogance at not bothering to find out more. In the Australian outback, it means that tourists with that attitude may die.

What has this to do with racism? I guess it's because tourists who don't bother to understand the environment or culture they are visiting come across as superior, arrogant and it often manifests as racism. They appear to believe themselves correct in everything they do already, regardless of context, so they won't bother to learn from anyone else. It's kind of like the days of colonialism, when the europeans didn't respect the land and cultures around them. I feel it particularly keenly in tourists because they often claim to be travelling to learn more about other cultures. I guess it's the hypocrisy.

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