Monday, December 20, 2010

On The Upside of Being Foreign

There are downsides to being a foreigner in Morocco. These include the assumption that you are rich and will pay more for everything, having to field questions about your religion, and, if you are a woman, putting up with the assumption that you are ‘loose’ and the accompanying sexual harassment that goes with this assumption. But there are also upsides to being a foreigner.

The most amazingly unbelievable upside of being a lighter skinned foreigner is the assumption that YOU ARE BETTER THEN EVERYONE ELSE. This mentality probably results from the French Occupation or the recognition that the one-tenth of the world who are American or European control over half the world’s GDP so they must be better. Whatever the reason, it’s a pretty impressive phenomenon to behold.

An American in Morocco is often told, “You Americans, you’re good. We Moroccans, we’re bad.” This leads to a lot of conversations explaining, “No, people are the same everywhere. There are good people and bad people in every country. It takes all kinds to make a world.”

A great example of this betterness complex:

Four friends, two Moroccan and two American went to a football match. While having their bags searched by police at the entrance it was discovered that one of the Moroccans, who had just come from school, had paper (that he might use to start a fire if his team won) and a pen (the he might use as a stabbing weapon if his team lost). He was told by the police officer that he couldn’t go in with those. So the friend turned around and passed them to his American friend who put them in his bag, RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE POLICE OFFICER and went into the game. The officer then looked at the American friend, looked at his bag, which he knew to have illicit items in it… and waved him through. The implication, “your white, I trust you. You won’t burn anything or stab anyone. Its these Moroccans we have to watch out for.”

Yes. That really happened.

Of course, three steps inside the gate the American gave his friend back his school stuff. He went on to start a total of zero fires and stab a total zero people.

1 comment:

  1. Kind of sad isn't it. The first time I visited and heard of this I thought it was very racist. But a person has to have a certain amount of money to travel there, and they most likely don't want to get in trouble by stealing or whatever while they are in a foreign country.