Interpreting events overseas using one’s native culture

Oprah Winfrey luxury bag in Zurich

The recent incident involving Ms. Winfrey in Switzerland is, in my humble opinion, a striking case of a person who reads a situation from behind the lenses of her home culture, while she is 6,000 miles from home, in a place inhabited by people with a very different culture.

Not showing a bag to a client because “too expensive for them” is extremely rude everywhere in the world, in the US as it is in Europe.

However, whether the reason for such behavior is the skin color of the client or something else… well, that’s a completely different story.

I may be wrong, but I would expect such a wrong judgment about a client (along with the unacceptable rude reaction) to be caused by other factors in an exclusive yet cosmopolitan city as Zurich is. For instance, by the way the client is dressed.

However, we are not inside that saleswoman’s mind, so this would be only speculation.

The point is: when you find yourself far away from home and the persons in front of you belong to another culture, don’t take for granted that they do what they’re doing for the same reasons they would do that back home!


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2 Thoughts on “Interpreting events overseas using one’s native culture

  1. Probably, that saleswoman has seen in front of her only Afro-American woman, but not the most famous Afro-American woman of the world.
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