Here is an example of an experience/ strategy that allowed me to respect my Spanish friends’ appreciation of bullfighting as a different and equally valid perspective:
While living in Spain, I was invited to Pamplona during the yearly San Fermínes festival. Horrified by the amount of blood shed during the first bullfight I saw, I felt a judgement arise within me about the barbaric nature of the ritual. Rather than accepting this one-sided point of view as fact, I asked my friends questions about the culture of bullfighting, which has a long history as tradition and identity in Spanish culture. As I learned about how the fighting bulls (toros de lidia) are raised in very humane conditions and the precision and skill necessary to be a bullfighter, I was reminded of a similar experience being raised in the South by Yankee parents unfamiliar with the rules and restrictions placed on deer-hunting practices. Learning about these rules from experienced hunters helped me understand the practice in a context of tradition and ecology and respect it as a sport and art in spite of my parent’s rejection of its value. This comparison helped me understand why bullfighting is celebrated in Spain and valued by my friends in spite of my initial skepticism.