Your Views: Letters to the Editor

Cultural Sensitivity

I was appalled to see the article about studying abroad and silence in the ‘Nique [“Studying abroad teaches lessons in grammar, silence,” Sept. 12] owing to the level of immaturity shown by the author in dealing with the differences in cultures when abroad.

That article starts relatively innocuously by mentioning how she feels socially pressured to stay silent because “it is far too simple to make a fatal colloquial error.” Let me warn you that that is the case with every language. Mistakes can and will happen. From extensive personal experience, I can assure you that immersing oneself in an alien culture is (and should be) exciting and not intimidating.

The second part of the article was simply atrocious and I feel disappointed that the ‘Nique is starved of better material. The author criticizes Spanish culture by complaining about the horrors of being served the same breakfast everyday. She also proceeds to unnecessarily insult the appearance of Spanish men with mullets as “‘trashy” and the corresponding silence as “painful.” I believe the appropriate response to these events in the author’s life would be, “Grow up!”

In the current day and age where cultural boundaries are being traversed more than ever, it is important to respect and appreciate varying cultures (and that includes eating habits and fashion sense) instead of dismissing them as contrary to personal preferences.

[The] author delivers her piece de resistance by going on to tell us that nearly every European holds negative generalizations about America. After claiming that every Spanish family has toast and coffee for breakfast and that nearly every European is plagued with these anti-American sentiments, maybe the coffee pot is just as charred as the kettle?

I understand that this was an opinions piece, but the opinions expressed here were extremely immature and demeaning towards Spaniards and Europeans. It reflects badly on the ‘Nique to allow such blatant expressions of cultural intolerance and excuses for lack of adaptability to be published in the school newspaper.

Vigneshwar Kalyanasundaram

Grad ME

Politics of gender

I’d like to point out a few issues I have with Maria Carter’s “hit” piece on Sarah Palin [“Palin pick won’t fix gender gap,” Sept. 12].

Obama’s female staffers on average make $0.83 for every dollar his male staffers make while McCain’s female staffers on average make slightly more (the actual ratio is $1.04 to $1).

Either Obama likes to hire women only for the lower paying positions or he is not paying them equally. One side only talks about equal pay and wants to enforce it through heavy handed legislation. In contrast the other side actually has done the deed without any coercion from the government.

Palin wants an abstinence-based education which is not “abstinence only” as Carter claimed.

When was Obama ever questioned on his ability to be a father [and] president of the U.S.?

Tim Wang

Grad AE