Let me ask you a question: how much of this world have you traveled? I mean, actually having been there, and not just by way of the boob tube or the computer screen?

I ask this because I was raised to believe just as you do, and in the very deepest of the Deep South. Then I joined the Navy, saw the world, and was forced by twenty years of travel to unlearn the racism I’d been taught almost since birth. I learned that regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or culture, people really are the same, all over the world.

It’s not a new phenomenon. Mark Twain said it better than I ever could:

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

What you see on the screen, or in books or magazines, is no substitute at all for actually having been there — not in the touristy areas, mind you, but among the real people. I stayed in areas where poverty was worse than *anywhere* in America…and the people had all the same traits (good and bad) that you and I have.

People really are the same, all over the world. You would do well to learn that.

Written by

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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