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  1. #41
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    Whose shall I start with, and where does it end? It feels like intense pressure from non-Americans, really. Incessant -- and even from our own to ourselves, as in this thread. It kind of amazes me, the expectations.
    I think we're just trying to make clear what many Americans appear oblivious to, rather than imposing pressure upon you as an individual to become more informed.

    (1) The way one thinks about things directly affects one's actions.
    (2) America has the power to (and does) take powerful action.

    To quote the superhero, with great power comes great responsibility. The problem is being uninformed about other worldviews WHILE taking action that directly influences others, sometimes to an incredible degree.

    Like Geoff said, America as one entity is grossly divided from the world as one whole, whereas most countries have a greater international focus. I don't think the pressure is meant to be applied to any one American, but rather to awaken you guys to the fact that there's a reason Americans who haven't taken the self-initiative to break out can be identified as such. A lack of integration and interaction with others becomes readily apparent. Which is cool, it's your lives, and I myself am not bilingual or well-versed in a lot of international politics, but I at least make an effort to grow because I see that there's things I can't see yet. The OP of this thread is some TCK American, and he "sees" a lot of things that other Americans can't see unless they take the initiative to go looking.
    *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. #42
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Partly true, for Britain. Don't forget Britain was hugely active all over the globe subduing the natives and inflicting it's views (and hopefully some "civilisation" occasionally). The impact of the British Raj, for example, should not be underestimated on British Culture. I don't think America looks outwards to the same extent?
    Yes, but even then, I'd say the US gets the same influence from its foreign involvement. I'd also say that we already had a point of great cultural influx during our immigration era.

    We read the history of the Empire mostly through the eyes of its wealthier residents - who would have greater opportunity to experience the rest of the world. American expats are much the same way. Meanwhile, an East Ender or Brummer in those days had much the same sense of nationalism that someone in Middle America has today - thinking that the military is nearly invincible and that the British way of life is clearly superior to elsewhere.

  3. #43
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    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.
    I think Hindi is more prevalent as a lingua franca in Northern India, while English is more prevalent in Dravidian states.

  4. #44
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    I think we're just trying to make clear what many Americans appear oblivious to, rather than imposing pressure upon you.

    (1) The way one thinks about things directly affects ones actions.
    (2) America has the power to (and does) take powerful action.

    To quote the superhero, with great power comes great responsibility. The problem is being uninformed about other worldviews WHILE taking action that directly influences others, sometimes to an incredible degree.

    Like Geoff said, America as one entity is grossly divided from the world as one whole, whereas most countries have a greater international focus. I don't think the pressure is meant to be applied to any one American, but rather to awaken you guys to the fact that there's a reason Americans who haven't taken the self-initiative to break out can be identified as such, and with good reason.
    This is not news to me. I mean, I appreciate your careful and thoughtful explanations, but this is all I ever hear. I work in DC and I'm in a multicultural environment 24/7. No one ever says anything BUT this. I get in a cab and I hear it from the cab driver. There's no let up.

    Even the most informed of people disagree. There seems an assumption that if we all were more informed or sympathetic to everyone else's culture, we would make decisions better for those people. We've got so much stuff going on in our own that we don't understand each other, to start with. Much less the rest of the world.

  5. #45
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Yes, but even then, I'd say the US gets the same influence from its foreign involvement. I'd also say that we already had a point of great cultural influx during our immigration era.

    We read the history of the Empire mostly through the eyes of its wealthier residents - who would have greater opportunity to experience the rest of the world. American expats are much the same way. Meanwhile, an East Ender or Brummer in those days had much the same sense of nationalism that someone in Middle America has today - thinking that the military is nearly invincible and that the British way of life is clearly superior to elsewhere.
    Interesting debate! It's so tricky to work out what the man on the street, in history, actually thought.

    It does seem incredible how quickly the US has assimilated and homogenised inbound cultural influxes. Most inbound individuals lost nearly all cultural identity within a generation - the kids learned English and the "old world" was abandoned. It happened with shocking speed (interesting read on this subject in "Made in America" by Bill Bryson if anyone wants to explore this)

  6. #46
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    It sounds to me like you simply disagree with American interpretations of various facts and worldviews (that is, among those Americans curious enough about the world to research information about other countries, and would therefore claim to have an informed opinion on the matter), and would rather dismiss opposing (American) viewpoints as impoverished rather than directly debate the details of those disagreements.

    Edit: incidentally, I DID in fact know all those things about South Africa.
    I don't think the debate can exist until someone becomes informed. Are many Americans informed? Absolutely. Are many Americans ill-informed? Absolutely, as well.

    My issue isn't with the informed Americans, it's with the Americans who think they're informed, but have only understood the world from within the cycle of America. Breaking out to see from another POV might include considerable reading from non-Americans, it might include cultural immersion, it might include thorough discussions with individuals who grew up in other cultures. Whether or not I agree with these individuals, if they have ventured out of American-media-for-Americans, then I can respect that. If they haven't, then yes, I consider their POV impoverished.

    Like I've said, there's a reason TCK Americans like the OP, or non-Americans, can pick out those Americans who haven't ventured outside of their American-informed worldviews to gain knowledge from outside. The positions are irrelevant. The fact that their entire worldview was created from only American media and individuals is relevant.

    I would like to include that I recognize that my POV is impoverished in a number of subject areas as well, I don't think there's a "better than" thing going on here. Rather, I'm only saying that a number of Americans don't know that they're imposing a whole ideological way of being onto others and that a pattern of this imposition has serious consequences if they happen to be taking action through voting or similar things.
    *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

  7. #47
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Interesting debate! It's so tricky to work out what the man on the street, in history, actually thought.

    It does seem incredible how quickly the US has assimilated and homogenised inbound cultural influxes. Most inbound individuals lost nearly all cultural identity within a generation - the kids learned English and the "old world" was abandoned. It happened with shocking speed (interesting read on this subject in "Made in America" by Bill Bryson if anyone wants to explore this)

    Is this necessarily a bad thing? I mean, I wouldn't emigrate to a country permanently if I didn't want to include myself in their culture. I'd bring my own experiences from home (like I have moving from the East Coast to the West Coast here), but that's part of the idea. Also, globalization has helped those of my generation of Americans who are interested in other parts of the world. You would not have found Thai beer and Ethiopian food and Korean films and Indian dance troupes in Philadelphia 20 years ago. Now all of those things and more are readily available. That is cool. It's also cool that people in all of those countries get to experience American culture. These are positives.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #48
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Is this necessarily a bad thing? I mean, I wouldn't emigrate to a country permanently if I didn't want to include myself in their culture. I'd bring my own experiences from home (like I have moving from the East Coast to the West Coast here), but that's part of the idea. Also, globalization has helped those of my generation of Americans who are interested in other parts of the world. You would not have found Thai beer and Ethiopian food and Korean films and Indian dance troupes in Philadelphia 20 years ago. Now all of those things and more are readily available. That is cool. It's also cool that people in all of those countries get to experience American culture. These are positives.
    Agreed... I dont see it as a bad thing, just a shocking one how quickly it happens in US culture (in the past)

  9. #49
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    I would like to include that I recognize that my POV is impoverished in a number of subject areas as well, I don't think there's a "better than" thing going on here. Rather, I'm only saying that a number of Americans don't know that they're imposing a whole ideological way of being onto others and that a pattern of this imposition has serious consequences if they happen to be taking action through voting or similar things.

    What exactly do you mean here?
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #50
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    What exactly do you mean here?
    Take Christianity, for example. When a Christian begins to impose their ideology/way of being/living upon others who don't share the same worldview, those that are imposed upon usually go HEY WTF I am a good and decent human and I don't need your version of what's good and true and right forced upon me.

    I mean that within American culture, there are a whole lot of things that are "better than," just like it is with any culture. But I've encountered a number of Americans who assert that the "better thans" within their culture are universally "better thans." The imposition of American ideologies upon places where things are different as if the culturally American "better thans" are universals are troubling, especially when one recognizes the power of your country, and the action it takes that affects others in the world.

    And to reiterate, the difference between Americans who do this and their counterpart individuals from other countries who do this is that, like Geoff says, Americans can go their whole lives without much of any international media or experiences imposed upon them, whereas other countries cannot operate like that, so the individuals are exposed to other worldviews out of necessity. (This all has no bearing on how intelligent an individual is, or moral an individual is, it only matters because America is unique in its ability to, as much as a country can, exist within itself without much interaction with others.

    I know there are lot of really intelligent and well-informed Americans, I'm only saying your country's unique situation allows for the OPs experience to ring true to such a depth.
    *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

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