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A TRIP TO IBOLAND

Closing words

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Every human being is confronted with a mass of prejudices during his/her lifetime. A prejudice is generated every time you adopt somebody's opinion without having your own experiences concerning that matter.

It is the human nature to seek affirmation of existing opinions. Experiences that go along with your opinion always become more evident than experiences that don't. This is how it is with prejudices too. If somebody tells you that Jon drinks a lot of coffee you will remember that opinion when seeing Jon drinking a cup of coffee. That will support your prejudice. In this example it may sound of minor importance, but prejudices become very critical when referring to a group of people. Human beings are individuals. An individual is unique even when being able to categorize somebody by special characteristics which he has in common with other people. An opinion about a group of people can never reflect the individuals - especially when it is a prejudice.

The ability to categorize experiences is a part of human nature. In the end that is something which makes us different from animals. Anyway, nobody is aware of stereotypes. But stereotyped thinking is very critical when it is taken from somebody else.

Of course, I know that the stories I am telling about Nigeria and Iboland respectively, will produce new prejudices. That is why it is important to me to enlighten this fact. My account here is not complete or objective, but it is based on my own experiences in Nigeria. Certainly I am not telling the whole story. Some experiences are just for my own or I think they are not important. That is why it is my personal view. Anyway, at this point I want to state some important facts:

Imagine your new neighbours are foreigners. It is a nice family but they shout all day. They are incredibly loud! Now you may think that people in the country where they come from are as loud as they are. But who is telling you that? It is a conclusion which is just based on the fact that they have a different nationality and that they are loud. Is it logical? It is not. Maybe their former neighbours in their home country did not like them, too because of their noise. Maybe that is why they moved. Who knows? It is so easy to explain their noise with their nationality, but it is rubbish. It is just a simple stereotype, a prejudice about the rest of the people in that country. Everyone runs the risk of stereotyped thinking. White people have a stereotype about black people and black people have a stereotype about white people. But there are loud or impolite or dirty or criminal people in every country.

Especially in foreign countries the social environment there is different from your social environment in your home country. When your are on working experience you have a lot of contacts with working people and not with students any longer. When you are a tourist you will be in tourist areas from which you may stay away in your hometown. In a theatre you will find different people from the people in a discotheque. All these facts will cause different experiences and opinions - different to what you already got. And if somebody reports his experiences it is just a part of what he knows and his knowledge is just a very little and biased part of the real world.

Try to look at people without prejudices and you may notice that they are not as different as you have expectedů