Shot/Reverse Shot:
How we view others and how others view us
By: Shiva Delpazir

           From my experience of growing up in Kansas around many spoiled, rich, and selfish peers, I have come to view and judge people and places very differently than most people. When I was younger and I lived in Kansas, we lived in a small, simple, inexpensive house in a nice part of town. Since I was a minority in the community that I lived in, being half Persian and half Russian, I was treated as an outsider most of the time, so I am very familiar with being judged for my culture or skin color. Since we lived in a middle class neighborhood, everyone that I grew up around was very happy for everything they had. When my family and I moved to Phoenix in 1999, the atmosphere and outlooks were much different. I had never been in such a materialistic setting as I am today. My friends point out how certain parts of neighborhoods are trashy and they show me what is acceptable, and this began to influence my thoughts of certain neighborhoods and people.
              From my experience of South Phoenix, in my eyes I find it to be some sort of little Mexico. Iíve visited places such as Cancun and Senora Mexico, and I almost felt as if I were actually in Mexico while in South Phoenix while walking in and out of the little shops and boutiques. I enjoy being around the town and seeing how festive the people are, but in the eyes of the shop owners I feel like I am being watched very closely. Our group visited many little shops and boutiques around the strip of shopping centers along Central and Southern, and when we went into every one of them I felt as if I was being watched very closely, almost like I was going to steal something. The funny thing is, in the upper class Anglo dominating city of Scottsdale for example, many white shop owners watch the Hispanics in the same way that the Mexican Americans watch Caucasians in their stores out in South Phoenix, as if they are planning to steal something. Although our group had a very mixed diversity, I watched how closely Charity was watched, who is a Caucasian female, in comparison to me, who has dark skin and hair and actually looks Hispanic. They were monitored her more closely, while asking me questions in Spanish about what I was looking for.
             In an article by Paris Spleen titled The Family of Eyes, she explains how peopleís perspectives differ on how they view people, places, and ideas. She points out that what one person might see as beautiful, another may see as unbearable. This idea just goes into the topic of ethnocentrism, where many of us have blinders on that keep us from seeing anything other then what others tell us to see. In this case, I believe that not only do a lot of people from the upper class areas of Phoenix and Scottsdale have blinders on, but so do some of the Chiconos from South Phoenix. We view what is unknown or different as bad in most cases, and itís only through experience that the ďblindersĒ are taken off. In my experience of South Phoenix, I have not only learned that itís reputation of being dangerous and scary are not true, but I also have learned that it is a beautiful city that deserves a chance.


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