The French assume that American expatriates living in France choose to do so due to their hate of their native country. They have negative perceptions towards Americans and judge them unfairly in most instances. The author of I Pledge Allegiance to The Bag, David Sedaris talks about being subjected to hate and unfair judgement during his time in France. The French judge him not as an individual but as America itself. Such judgements and perceptions force him to defend his country. There are various reasons why people judge others unfairly. If I were to become a victim of such judgments and perception, I would defend myself and my country.
People judge others unfairly because they do not know them well. The author of I Pledge Allegiance to The Bag, David Sedaris, is judged unfairly by the French who do not know him well. While staying in France, David learns that he horrifies the French every time he opens his mouth to talk about money. The French judge Americans harshly and view them as boastful (Sedaris). When we do not know people well, we tend to judge them based on assumptions or stereotypes. For example, an American citizen may believe that a person is corrupt or poor because he or she lives in Africa. Such an assumption is because the mind simplifies the processing of information by putting environmental clues into categories through generalization. While poverty and corruption are prevalent in Africa, the two issues do not define all Africans. The French did not know the author quite well having just immigrated to France from America. Therefore, they judged him based on the stereotypes and assumptions they had of America, his native country.
Unfair judgment of others arises when a person cannot identify with other people’s belief systems, values, or behavior. Sedaris, having no prior knowledge of the French culture and language, was unaware of the French people’s belief system and values. On the other hand, the French were not aware of Americans’ beliefs or values thus judging them harshly (Sedaris). People also judge others harshly due to their own personal weaknesses. For example, when a person threatens how we perceive ourselves, we may be tempted to judge them unfairly. Unfair judgment, especially when it targets citizens from another country, should be shunned.
I am a patriotic citizen hence I would defend my country if it were unfairly judged in my presence. It is every citizen’s civic duty to be patriotic and defend their country in every way possible. The author sets a good example in this regard by always being ready to defend not only himself but also his motherland. At the end of the story, he narrates how he is surrounded by a captive audience that listens to his explanation of the single greatest thing about his country.
David Sedaris, in his short story I Pledge Alliance to the Bag, explores the issue of unfair judgment that is primarily targeted at people living in foreign countries. He was judged unfairly on several occasions because he was from the United States. People judge others unfairly because they do not know them well or cannot identify with other people’s belief systems, values, or behavior. If my country were unfairly judged, I would not hesitate to defend it just as David Sedaris does during his stay in France.
Sedaris, David. “I Pledge Allegiance to the Bag.” Me Talk Pretty One Day, London: Hachette Digital, 2000.