The White Man

The White Man
One of the things that I hate about visiting a poor country (and let’s face it, that is most of the world) is being the white man. The assumption is that you are rich which is true (sometimes obscenely so in comparison) and that you are cleverer and wiser and more intelligent which it is manifestly not. This is such a big thing that it would put me off travelling all together It stands in the way of making true friends. But I am saved by one thing, and that is language. Once people find out that your knowledge of their language is patchy and ragged, the relationship shifts its footing. You become something a kin to a child needing to learn. Someone who needs to be taught new words and have conjugations and cases corrected. It is a swift change of roles and one more likely to form the basis of a good and lasting friendship. That more than anything else makes it worthwhile travelling.

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