1. I was chatting with some Dutch chick that seemed to be one of those standard, doe normaal Dutch chicks. She mentions a friend of hers who is “the typical stampot-eating, boer Dutch person.” I found her statement rather odd and had to ask, “Well, aren’t you the typical-stampot eating, boer Dutch person? If you aren’t, I can’t tell.” I have been fascinated with perception since relocating to the Netherlands. I have noticed that most Dutch folks are either unaware or ambivalent regarding outside opinions of Dutch culture, people and traditions. To a certain degree, I do agree with that stance. I don’t really care what people think of me, but I am interested to hear their opinions. I was introduced to the concept of cultural relativism by my old bird. Basically, cultural relativism is the idea that if you weren’t raised in a particular society, then you can’t judge it because all cultural opinions and stances are equally valid. We all know that’s some bullshit. So, here I am in a land foreign to me; am I allowed to give my opinion? Is this opinion valid or is it merely an anecdote of some sort? Of course I am, and of course it is of some level of validity. I find it obnoxious that I have to append every generalization with, “Well, not all Dutch people…” Grow up. What idiot would think that when someone makes a comment on “The Dutch” that they are speaking on every single Dutch person? Collectives are to be judged collectively, individuals are to be judged individually. Obvious point, yes-but highly necessary to state. I have noticed that Europe is unique in that it is comprised of smaller countries that have fought for several centuries in an effort to maintain their political boundaries, wealth, language and culture intact. If that doesn’t create continuity amongst a populace, I have no idea what would. So yeah, when I’m talking about “The Dutch,” I’m discussing the common traits that exist within the Netherlands. If you think that somehow you’re above the stereotypical behavior of your fellow countrymen, then you’re probably delusional. I used to think I wasn’t very American, then I moved outside of America and discovered precisely how American I was. Maybe those who dare to challenge their convictions and step outside of their sphere of influence will discover the same…

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