Your perception tells more about you than about what is perceived

I recently met a student of cultural anthropology and had a very stimulating conversation like I haven’t had in a long time outside of work.  Her main area of interest are cultural areas in cities, and when I mentioned that the part of Mexico City where I grew up is somehow similar to the part of the Helsinki metro area where I live now as they’re both suburbs we got off to a good start.

During the course of this conversation she mentioned the phrase that gives its title to this post, and it got stuck with me.  The first example that came to my mind was that of the different manifestations of the Virgin Mary: in Europe she’s Caucasian, in Mexico she’s mestiza and in China she’s Asian.  However, I have been reflecting more on that given the current chapter in the Finnish immigration debate, where a university professor has pretty much reached the same conclusions as Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations (conclusions with which I couldn’t agree less).

The other reason why this phrase is stuck in my head is because in the past few days through analysing my behaviour (and a couple of faux pas) I have found a couple of things I’m not sure I like too much about myself.  Then again, the first step in enacting change is discovering what the desired state is.

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