DC Lewis | Chicago Reader

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Re: “The worst roommates I've ever had

During college, I lived in Santiago, Chile for 12 months. I rented a room in a house with other people my age, and the biggest problem I had was sharing the bathroom and washing machine. Over the year, I met many wonderful Chileans who opened my eyes to new perspectives and experiences that I still speak highly of to this day. Because of their generosity, I learned so much about the culture and beauty of Santiago and Chileans.

Both Julia Thiel and John Cobin are misguided and narrow-minded in making ethnocentric generalizations about Chileans. In every country and culture there are people who steal and cheat (Julia herself admitted this when sharing that she evaded Chilean taxes and worked without the legally mandated visa). Santiago is a big city, and just like any big city, there is crime. Chicago is just one case where the daily headlines show both white collar and street crime.

In all likelihood Julia probably stood out as an easy target because she did not take common sense precautions and was too trusting. None of this makes it ok to steal from her, but most people in any country would say it is careless to leave hundreds of dollars in your room in a house or apartment you share with other people you don't know well (often even people you do know well).

Although it is evident that you didn't learn about the strong culture and traditions of Chile, I hope you have the opportunity to do so in the future. Every country has its strong and weak aspects, but in order to see them objectively, you need to take a step back from your own worldview and look at them from multiple perspectives.

44 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by DC Lewis on 06/30/2012 at 6:29 PM

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