Is Ignorance Bliss?

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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These past couple of weeks have really opened my eyes and shown me how ignorant some people truly can be.

In class, Dr. Bowman spoke to us about how smart and astute a lot of the people are here in Buenos Aires, but I have to say I have seen a lot of ignorance in Buenos Aires. One example took place last week when Emily and I went out to some café and our waiter asked us where we were from. I replied back that I am originally from Pakistan and was born in the U.S. and Emily told our waiter that she was from South Africa. Our waiter kinda laughed a little and acted like we were joking with him. He pointed to Emily’s skin and said there is no way she can be from Africa because her skin was white. Emily and I were both surprised… another instance took place today at a café with Luis. I asked for no pork in my meal. The waiter then asked why, and I told him it was because I am Muslim and it’s against my religion. The waiter then asked me if that was the religion of Osama Bin Laden, and I explained to him that he was an extremist and does not represent the religion. He proceeds to ask me in a joking manner if I was a terrorist and if I had a bomb on me, and starts goin ‘tick tick tick tick tick’. Luis then went to the bathroom and said that the same waiter told him “Mirame en mis ojos, y dime que tu amigo no va a poner una bomba aqui”… If something like this would have happened in the States, I would have stood up and something would have went down. Being in another country and not on my stomping grounds, I let this ignorant ass get away with his remarks.


While I can see why the people of Buenos Aires can easily fall in love with the beautiful and dynamic culture they have here, it is evident that some BA natives may be so enclosed in their culture, that they sometimes forget to look or find the truth in other cultures. I understand that ignorance exists universally, but with around one million Muslims here in Buenos Aires, I feel like some of the natives have yet to take an effort to learn and appreciate other cultures. While many say “Ignorance is Bliss” and what you don’t know can’t hurt you, what you don’t know can definitely affect others in a negative way. This is one of the reasons why I am doing my research project on the Muslim population in Buenos Aires, hoping to learn how Islam is viewed here and attempting to learn how stereotypes are created from culture.

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