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Perspective: Do you mean McDonald's?


Leer y escuchar en espanol

A couple of years ago before moving to the United States, I was working in the hotel industry in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. We used to receive tourists from all over the world and one day an American tourist asked me to recommend a restaurant that serves American food. I was good at my job and very few situations left me speechless… but there I was with my mind blank. I looked to this customer in his eyes and asked him, “Do you mean McDonald's?” We both laughed.

How ironic that I knew so little about American culture, having heard so much about the United States. Years later I watched a Ted Talk video of the author Chimamanda Adichie where she talks about the danger of a single story. For many who never travel to the states, McDonald's is one of the few stories they know.

Every time we make inferences about a whole group based on a single story, prejudice is born and unconsciously we do to others what we do not like to be done to us. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of the psychological and sociological theories that explain the origin of prejudices. But if prejudice is unavoidable, let’s try to not make it a permanent place to be. Let’s give all people a chance to be many stories.

Milandy Horan was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She's getting her bachelor's degree in Spanish at Northern Illinois University and plans to become a high school Spanish teacher. Milandy visits her home country every year to spend time with her family.
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