Friday, April 29, 2011

Culture Issue

Catalan is “Not” Spain?
This video was inspired by my personal experience with the Catalan culture. Naturally, having to adapt to a new way of life was going to be a challenge. Having to adapt to the Catalan culture though, seemed even more challenging than expected. One, I am from the south and getting used to the fast pace lifestyle of a big city was an experience in itself. Everyone is always on the go, people keep to themselves, and they don’t seem nearly as friendly. Two, I had to get used to my inability to communicate well with others. Asking for directions and getting around the city was not so difficult, but trying to ask for the things I wanted and/or needed at times seemed impossible -- they don’t have Wal-Mart’s, and targets, and just your normal general stores that I am used to. Every store here serves a particular purpose. For example, the grocery stores are simply just for groceries. At home grocery stores also sell toothbrushes, toothpaste, makeup, deodorant, and other everyday necessities. So in order to get these items I had to go to another store. And three, I had to get used to being the minority. I found out the hard way that Catalans take great pride in their culture because of their fight to restore it after Franco got rid of Catalan. People were very rude, and especially to Americans. They were short when talking to us. When we tried to speak to them in Spanish they would immediately switch to English, and this eventually became insulting. They would even charge us extra at restaurants because they knew we didn’t know better. Finally, after asking my teacher about the issue, I found out that Catalans believe that Americans are here in Barcelona just to have fun. They don’t think we appreciate their language or culture and that we are intruding on their lifestyle.
Every day I am constantly judged for being an American, and that is all so new to me. Usually, it is the other way around – it was interesting to see how it felt to be a minority. This is why I chose this topic.
This was my second project that I attacked and by this point my video making skills had improved just a little bit, but I was definitely more confident in completing this task. Since this was a cultural issue, overtly I felt it necessary to show my perspective of Catalan. I did this video similar to that of a documentary because it was a more formal issue.  I included pictures that I have taken here all throughout my experience and included personal stories to make the video seem more real.
I like the product of this project, however there is still a part of me that wishes I could have shown my audience exactly how the Catalans have treated us Americans by including some conversations I have had or even just by filming a casual walk down the street. I know this would have been difficult to do because the only way you can truly understand the problem is by experiencing it. I will admit that I may be exaggerating a little about how “bad” Catalans are, but it is an issue that I have constantly dealt with and I hope others will be able to better understand the issue. 

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