I asked two of my friends who are from Uganda to canvas the street near my home and ask an equal number of men and women to respond to the survey. I had them take the survey first themselves so we could talk through what I was hoping to collect. The most important thing I made sure to mention — there are no wrong answers. No need to correct responses or give prompts. If the person doesn’t know much about one or more of the areas or countries, then just put down “I don’t know.”
Here’s what we got. Four people — two men and two women. The age of respondents ranged from 26-42 years old.
How would you describe the United States?
- It’s a big continent which is admired by people around the world. They have organized politics.
- It’s a good and developed country.
- It’s a busy continent.
- It’s busy and forward thinking. They plan for the future.
How would you describe Americans?
- People have good hair and body. They are admired for their good looks and the way they live. They are open-minded.
- They have fair skin color. They are also focused.
- They stay their whole life in America. They speak English so quickly, it sounds like they are rapping. They are very clever.
- They are white-looking people. Most Africans find them attractive. They are caring people and care about Africans.
How would you describe China?
- It’s a big country where people are unfriendly and think about work all the time.
- It’s a small country with many citizens. They don’t have places to properly bury their dead. They end up simply abandoning their dead.
- It’s a country that is always busy, too busy in fact.
- It’s a country with a lot of industry.
How would you describe Chinese people?
- They are good at working and have less time for fun because they are always working.
- They are good at making cheap stuff that breaks easily. They are not religious and worship idols.
- They only speak Chinese and eat frogs and snakes.
- The people have small eyes and round faces. They are hardworking and don’t talk much.
How would you describe Europe?
- It’s a big continent. It used to struggle with war, but now it’s developed and peaceful.
- It’s big, wide, developed with a lot of white people.
- It’s an island. The country is organized and well-developed.
- They help other country in fighting for peace
How would you describe Europeans?
- Some people are caring and some are not, but they are good at working.
- The people have brown eyes and long hair. They are loving people. Some are willing to share but some are selfish.
- The people are civilized and organized.
- People are born, grow up, and stay their whole life in Europe.
How would you describe South America?
- This continent has a lot of people.
- It’s a wide continent with a very big number of people with a lot of racial mixing
- It’s a good country
- It’s a country surrounded by forest. It’s very cold with a lot of rain.
How would you describe South Americans?
- Very caring people, motivated and ready to help when called upon
- They are caring. They are interested in Africans.
- Good people
- They are people from South America. They are civilized.
How would you describe Russia?
- It is a federally led country, led from the top down.
- It’s a big country with a big number of people who are racially diverse. They are ever prepared for war and go to war a lot.
- It’s wide and big with a lot of industry. Unfortunately, they war a lot and like to go to war if anyone gives them trouble.
- I don’t know.
How would you describe Russians?
- They are citizens of Russia. They are good people.
- These are people who are not ready to be minimized at all. They are hard working. It’s best not to provoke them.
- Some are friendly and some are harsh.
- I don’t know.
How would you describe the United Kingdom (UK)?
- It’s an island country, very highly developed.
- It’s a big wide continent with a lot of people.
- Very big and wide with mixed people from different regions.
- It’s a state country and is very developed.
How would you describe British people?
- They are citizens of the UK. They love people and are of high class, with good manners.
- They are mixed color, or mixed blood. They care about other people.
- Loving and hard-working.
- Good, smart people.
How would you describe Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines)?
- Almost like Africa
- Semi-developed, average when it comes to other countries.
- It’s big with many industries. There are a lot of job opportunities there too.
- The Philippines has some good soaps to watch. Generally, though, it’s a place of industry.
How would you describe Southeast Asians?
- Just like Africa, with a lot of suffering, poor people.
- Middle class people. “White Africans” in that they are just like Africans, but not as dark.
- They are ready to work all the time because they are motivated.
- Hardworking, motivated; some are loving while others are harsh. The Filipinos act a lot like Africans.
How would you describe the Middle East ?
- I don’t know
- Muslim country
- It is an area with few people compared to other parts of the world.
- Always waging war with people.
How would you describe Middle Eastern people?
- I don’t know
- People are mostly muslim.
- They never engage in prostitution and wait for marriage. If you don’t wait for marriage, you get in trouble and could be harshly punished.
- Some are good, but some have really bad tempers. They are good at doing tasks you tell them to do.
How would you describe Africa?
- Africa is a good country with a lot of gold mining. We are very blessed, it’s just that we don’t know it.
- It’s a struggling place.
- There is good soil, which produces a lot of fresh food.
- We have good weather all the time.
How would you describe Africans?
- Africans are good people, but lack knowledge and are ignorant about things.
- They are from Africa. They are humble and good.
- Good and hardworking, but think less when it comes to making money.
- Africans have a lot of knowledge, but most of them don’t want to work and would rather beg for money thinking they will get everything on a plate.
These survey results were very interesting: the University students in Uganda and the Random People in Uganda.
I admit, when I first read the survey questions, I felt overwhelmed by the scope of those questions. The questions encompassed everything possible–yet, when I read the answers that Emily reported, I thought, “yeah, good answers.”
I’m glad Emily posted the responses. I think it showed me that we do make assumptions about groups of people (be it tribes, nationalities, or countries in general). We don’t realize there is as much variance and individuality in every group of humans as any other group.
I appreciate Emily taking the time to think up this survey and completing the circle to give us this lesson in understanding. We really are “all the same” and “all different”. Our sameness brings us together and our differences make us interesting. The trick is to keep this in mind as we strive to understand each other and work together. We’re not all going to see eye-to-eye but we can learn ‘awareness’ and ‘compromise’ as we realize we hope and dream about getting the same things out of life.
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