Stereotypes of Bolivia
The world is full of different stereotypes. There are stereotypes in every society, culture, and country. But what is a stereotype? Stereotypes are qualities assigned to groups of people related to their race, nationality and sexual orientation, to name a few; the problem is that sometimes when you generalize a group of people with stereotypes you can be discriminating them. Sometimes people have different ideas about foreign countries; those are stereotypes that can be good or bad. Many tourists who come for vacations to Bolivia, my country, are expecting to see all the stereotypes that they have heard. Some of the most degrading stereotypes, that I’m going to explain in the next paragraphs, are the reasons why people from other countries have wrong ideas about how the life of a Bolivian is.
First there is the stereotype of extreme poverty which is the most common one. A lot of people think that everyone in Bolivia endures extreme poverty. That’s not true, although there are a lot of poor communities in Bolivia, there are some people who have a lot of money. Take for example the southern part of La Paz. What do you see there? You can see a lot of beautiful and really big houses that a poor country couldn’t afford. You can also find some of the most expensive cars. So how is it possible to find these extravagant belongings if we are such a poor country? Every country endures poverty, but that does not mean that the whole country is poor.
Another stereotype is that all Bolivians are ignorant because of the low quality education. Maybe there are some schools and universities that have to improve their teaching, especially public schools. But there are some schools, for example San Ignacio, Montessori and German school that can compete with international schools. Also a lot of Bolivian students have been awarded scholarships or grants in some of the most important universities abroad and they have managed to be the best in their courses. For instance, Adrian Campero, a German school graduate, that is studying physics at Harvard University and is the president of Harvard Organization for Latin America. So not all Bolivians are ignorant, there are a lot of intelligent people who have done such important things, but no one remembers them because of this stereotype. There are some communities in Bolivia that don’t have good education but if we can change that our country could improve and more people would have the opportunity to succeed.
The last stereotype is about the sense of responsibility. People think that all Bolivians have problems with the sense of responsibility. Responsibility is a duty or obligation to satisfactorily perform or complete a task (assigned by someone, or created by one's own promise or circumstances) that one must fulfill, and which has a consequent penalty for failure. An example of why people think that Bolivians don’t take their responsibilities seriously is the tendency of being always late, that is known as “Bolivian schedule”. Another example is how Bolivians have the tendency of leaving everything for the last minute. That’s why they have a lot of problems managing their time. Finally, a lot of people don’t trust in a Bolivian’s word because they never do what they promise. But not all Bolivians are like that. I think that Bolivians are really hard-working. For example people who don’t have a lot of money have to work a lot of extra hours to support their family. Bolivians have to work a lot to be considered good workers internationally and in our own country because nobody believes that we could be good workers.
In conclusion, stereotypes like extreme poverty, ignorance and lack of education and finally the lack of sense of responsibility don’t help our country. It makes us look bad because not every person in Bolivia is like that. What people from other countries see is only the bad side of our country. If they could see how well educated and hard working we are, they would give us more opportunities. We have to find a way to eliminate these stereotypes and make people see us like a country that wants to improve and grow.