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  1. #21
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    This is true to an extent. Many people I know who are not native Americans really had no idea how large and varied this country is.
    Very valid point. But that's sort of neutralized, because it's true for many places. I didn't know how large and varied South Africa was (penguins? snow? mountains? 11 national languages because it's so diverse a country?) until I traveled the whole thing.

    It's not that difficult to take a look at Google maps and sit there once in a while and check things out. For instance, while in Texas we spoke about how far it was to drive across Quebec, and a Texan was like, "yeah, but imagine driving across Texas! Our state is huge!" And we politely told him that the province of Quebec is distinctly bigger than Texas, and in fact, many provinces and territories are larger in size than Texas, and he gave us this look like, "if only you knew how large Texas was." Like he was being polite about our "error."

    It's just that the geographic questions are illustrative/symptomatic of many individuals never *thinking* with any sort of informed knowledge about other countries. If individuals don't have base knowledge about other places, they impose American values, ideologies and ways of being that simply are not supposed to be there, and it's frustrating to talk to some Americans because of their ability to be so egocentric (because of the way the country is structured--other countries simply can't be so egocentric because of geographical or economical reasons, so those individuals learn more out of necessity).
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  2. #22
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    Many (not all, but many) Americans have no idea of what exists outside of their borders not in the sense of geographic knowledge of information or language like you speak of (all of which are, as you note, relatively insignificant), but primarily in worldview.
    And I ask you, as well; are you concerned about a lack of American knowledge concerning other worldviews, or a lack of American agreement with some other worldviews that you just happen to identify or agree with?

    Incidentally, it is somewhat difficult to identify which countries in Africa communicate PRIMARILY in English, as most of the citizens of African countries with English as an official language still primarily speak indigenous languages most of the time, though proficiency in English is indeed widespread.

  3. #23
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    I know Uganda, along with a few other former British colonies have English as their official language. India did too until the 1960's.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metaphours View Post
    This is pretty much what I was trying to say.
    Yes, but it's true of any person who has not been outside his own country. Surely you don't mean to tell me that every Canadian in Canada knows his own geography as well as the geography of every other country in the world, etc? You can find an ignorant person in any country. You, as a traveling Canadian, met a Texan who was ignorant. Couldn't a Texan just as well go to Canada and find the same?

  5. #25
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    And I ask you, as well; are you concerned about a lack of American knowledge concerning other worldviews, or a lack of American agreement with some other worldviews that you just happen to identify or agree with?
    The factual area (knowing facts, like I said, about geography or language) is not the problem, as situationally frustrating as that can be. The problem is that when people don't have some semblence of understanding about these facts, i.e. when they don't hold an informed base knowledge about other places in the world, they simply cannot have a remotely "true" understanding about the worldviews.

    I mean, certainly there are American teachers or professors who know their stuff, and I've read some of their works or been taught by American professors. But I suspect most only know things from reading texts written by almost entirely nothing but Americans.

    When over half of your politicians don't own a passport and have never left America... with respect to topics that require an understanding of a distinctly different worldview, often the blind is leading the blind.

    I'm saying that Americans who have never detached from that cycle (and yes, it almost always takes intentional detachment whether through non-touristy-types of travel or reading or engaging in conversation with others who are from these different worldviews) can't see these worldviews, nevermind disagree with them.

    They probably know the main linguistic terms, they probably think they can hold an informed debate about it. But when all their informed knowledge comes from other Americans...

    (I'd like to stress that NOT ALL AMERICANS are like this. But it would be ill-advised to receive all of the complains Americans hear about their citizens without bearing this POV in mind, which I believe can be represented through pretty much any non-American, or any TCK American like the OP.)
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  6. #26
    Sniffles
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    Some of the most asinine shit I've ever heard usually comes from Globe-trotters who like to endlessly boast of how more "enlightened" they are than everybody else.

    Let's keep in mind that a great mind like Immanuel Kant never travelled more than 30 miles from his hometown.

    And yes I'm somebody who's very interested in other cultures; and critical of the cultural depravity that marks much of America. Not to mention I'm often mistaken for being from a foreign country.

  7. #27
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDP2525 View Post
    I really hate these kinds of comment about the South. I'm not saying it's perfect and there isn't problems but not everyone is a racist, evangelical zealot. Yet, that's the brush we get painted with. It sucks.
    Yeah well unfortunately, the brush is spilling over and it's painting the rest of America. Is the Bible Belt responsible for much of the stereotypes people have about Americans being racist, evangelical zealots? Sure.

    So own up to it and take responsibility for tarnishing our image abroad!!

  8. #28
    Senior Member Willfrey's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure there are two bigass oceans (I think, I'm not sure though ) separating the U.S. from a majority of the old world. I can easily see how a person won't invest too much time or effort into cultures of when they have little or no reason to do so. I myself enjoy reading about far away places but I by no means am the voice of the people, and honestly I don't have any amazing plans to visit these far away places any time soon. It annoys me when I see the U.S. get tangled up in international scuffles.
    ...Then I ducked my head and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the dark;
    And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark...

  9. #29
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    No. Americans (generally) are not as exposed to the current events and culture of other nations because our own current events and culture are so dominant on the world scene. We must seek out information about other places, because we don't just absorb it through our day-to-day dealings.
    That's partly the case - it's also true that the American media doesn't care to share non-US related matters. So, yes, of course it is important when Obama makes a policy decision that impacts on the world. Not sure it is so important when one or two deaths in the US overshadow hundreds of deaths from, say, a typhoon internationally.

    I've never been anywhere (and I've travelled a lot) that excludes international news to the extent that I see it in the US.

  10. #30
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    I know Uganda, along with a few other former British colonies have English as their official language. India did too until the 1960's.
    English is still incredibly dominant in India (as it is throughout most of the world) as a convenient intermediate language. Much of India uses English simply because there are so many different Indian languages, and it is the only sure way to be understood. Apparently there are more than 29 languages in India with over 1 million speakers. Fun.

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