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Do you think about the United States often???

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
I am wondering how the rest of the world views the United States? Does the US come up in everyday conversation often or just when there is a major crisis like the War in Iraq?
I have never been to Europe and the Middle East so my view of the US is a very one sided one. I was born here and consider myself very patriotic. I don't find myself thinking of other countries often, or about thier leaders. I only know France's leaders name because of the war coverage, and I consider myself somewhat interested in world affairs.
Is this the case in other countries? Or, is the US more visible from a non-US citizen's point of view? Do you know all of the states names? Have an idea of where they are on the map, etc...

post #2 of 42
Wow Ginger, most USA citizens don't know all the states let alone where they are on the map! LOL I'm curious too though! Anyone????
post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 
Ya i could name them all but it would take a while!
For example, England is our closest ally and I don't even know if they have states, do they? Do they have counties? What's the deal with Great Britain and England, are they the same thing. It's questions like that that I wonder if people know about the US because we seem so visible in the national community.

post #4 of 42
A lot of the people I talk to online are forigen. Some of them have a hard time understanding America and the way we do things, some don't care, some hate America and all it stands for. And others are just like us and perhaps wish they lived here.

It's funny, I know someone from Great Britain and he down right hates America and all the people in it (he's got some problems.) Honestly most people I talk to from there are very anti-american if you will.
post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
I really don't want this to turn into a thread about how much people hate the US, but it probably will. I just kinda want to know how much you know or think about the US as opposed to other countries, not just hatred

post #6 of 42
Here's my few pence worth - I'm not going to slag anyone off, but express and honest opinion.

Firstly, the difference between England and Great Britain (or as I prefer, the United Kingdom - GB smacks of imperialism to me). England is just one country - GB or UK is England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, hence United Kingdom. They all are under the jurisdiction of the crown (the Queen), but both Scotland and Wales have recently been awarded devolution, that means they create their own laws and govern their own land (within certain overall guidelines). Northern Ireland is in the process of devolving, but this is a more complex issue due to the past 'troubles'.

In terms of how the US is perceived. The US is a very powerful nation, economically, politically and socially. It's culture is very pervasive, that is it is all over the world and has, in some cases completely obliterrated the indiginous cultures of smaller, less powerful nations. This is not to say that individual Americans are bad, power-crazed individuals - every single one I've ever met and spoken to are friendly, open and frankly very nice people.

I think it is the power that the USA has, and stands for, that frightens a lot of nations who are scared of losing their own identity. I for one do take exception to the all-pervasive culture of brands such as Disney and McDonalds. Remember around the world there are a lot of people for whom these types of brands are the only exposure they are likely to get to the US and her culture. If the symbolism of these brands are at odds with their own culture it is understandable that they might reject these.

I can imagine that living in the US bring a certain amount of isolationism - why go elsewhere when what you have at home is the best. That is not arrogance, but a natural acceptance and confidence of a country that IS very powerful and has (on the face of it) nothing to fear.

It is therefore a huge surprise to the rest of the world when the US starts to make overtures about an axis of evil. And they are rightly scared of this powerful nation. The attacks on the US are borne out of fear as well as hatred (and I am in no way at all condoning acts of violence or terrorism). A fear that the US will take over the world. This might seem a silly concept to those living in the US, but for some smaller nations I can see it is a real fear.

OK. That is what I think about how the US is perceived (in very outline terms).

Generally, I think there is a lot of ignorance about other nations in all countries. In England, the French are still called Frogs, the Germans are regularly called Krauts, The Americans are called Yanks, etc etc. These prejudices and this type of ignorance is even fueled by our tabloid press.

I'd love to see the world get closer together and learn more about each others fears, hatreds and loves. And no, I'm not an old hippy, just someone that is a bit scared of all the agression that exists.
post #7 of 42
Do I think about the US often?
No, I don't think so. At least not on a daily basis.

Ofcourse the US are mentioned in the news nearly every day, but so are many other countries.
When you live in a small country like the Netherlands, "abroad" covers a lot of space.

Personally I don't hate the US. Why should I? Apart from a 3-day vist to Las Vegas when my sister got married, I have never even been there.
I loved Vegas, but I seriously doubt if Vegas can be considered representative for the entire US
Besides, how can anyone hate an entire country?

What I admire about the US is the total dedication that is displayed as soon as a decision has been made.
No second thoughts, no "what if", no establishing a few hundred consultative bodies, but just full speed ahead. No half measures, just get the job done.

However I do feel that the US could show a little more knowledge of, or consideration with, things that go on outside their own border.
If you appoint yourself World Leader, than you should try to be there for the entire World and not just protect your own interests.

What I find amazing about the US is that there seem to be so many contradictions.
E.g., from what I understand, Freedom of Speech is very important, but it seems to be limited to express only those opinons or beliefs that are considered acceptable by the general public.

Or this one. In the legal system, being held accountable for your actions is a big issue (and rightly so), yet when someone tries to dry his dog in a microwave oven, the manufacturer is to blame because he didn't mention in the manual that you're not supposed to do that.
On the other hand, if the system provides these means of getting money of someone, why not use it?

BTW, most of what I know about the US comes from newspapers and television. Especially television is not the most reliable source.
Or is life in New York really anything like Sex and the City?
post #8 of 42
Seagull, i totally agree, as a person of middle east origin and living in the UK, i guess i can see it from both sides.
Yes i can see alot of Anti- American feeling here, but i think that this has always been around, as someone pointed out earlier it stems from fear.
And yet it works the other way too, the recent Iraq crisis, has meant that the US has been put more favourably in some Iraqi views. On a recent outing to Hyde Park here in London where organised protests are held, i actually saw some very anti-american views from English people, with the Iraqi's standing up for them holding banners saying "thankyou For Our Freedom Bush and Blair"
Also as i was growing up most music/ dress/ attitude etc influences come from US, so i guess it's always been on my mind, but more now than ever
post #9 of 42
I think the US is pretty much like any other foreign country to me. It's interesting and I'd love to visit and to learn as much as I can about it. I think I'm pretty familiar with the American geography, history and names of states. Must admit I am probably more familiar with British history and geography (I can pretty much place most English counties on the map ). That may be because I have traveled to the UK several times (ok... eight times soon to make it nine on June ) and when I travel to a place I like to take the opportunity and learn as much as I can about it. I have also been to Paris, so I know quite a bit about its culture and history (only Paris though - not all of France). Other countries I know less about but I'd love to learn more.

How do I view the US? Well, for starters it's very big and I see it as huge mix of climates, terrains, cultures and people. As far as I can tell, NY atmosphere is very different from that in Iwoa for instance. I think it's a great country in many respects, though I also think there are a lot of problems in the US that we are fortunate not to have (at least not in that scale). Basically, I'm talking about drug abuse, alchohol abuse, violence and how if you have no money your health may be at risk.

From my humble experience, every place has all sorts of people. Americans are no exception. Most of them seem to be very nice (as do most of people of other nationalities) but I'm sure there are all kinds out there.

Yes, America is pretty much in the news here. I think I'm fairly aware of American domestic politics. The perception here is that having the US as our ally is a strategic asset, so that anything that may affect that is of inerest to us. Hubby really wants to travel and visit the US. Our master plan - in 12 years to take time off work, pack the kids and go spend a couple of years in different countries. We're thinking of doing 6 months to a year in the States. Maybe rent an RV and go around. We also want to spend time in Canada, and Australia and NZ. Not sure about the non English speaking countries yet - we're still thinking about that... Hopefully we'll visit the US before that for a shorter trip, but that would probably be in a few years time too.
post #10 of 42
Anne - I hope you visit NZ - let me know!

Back on track, I am a NZer and I always saw the US as a powerful country, with more power than other countries - mind you, I come from a small country and the population of NZ equals the population of some smaller states. All the Americans I had met then were great, I had lots of american penpals.
THen I met hubby and got married and have been in the states since October 1999. I lived in a county that doesnt like outsiders which made it difficult for me, but I have since moved and its much better here. I dont think the US is a bad place at all, overall, but there are some people I have met who give the US a bad name as there are in all countries, and I have chosed to ignore those people, because there are a LOT of wonderful people - goodness knows, Ive met them!
That comment that Bush made about the axis of evil, I agree with Yola - it is scary and its bound to make some nations angry - after all how would you feel if someone called your country evil? I would be upset if someone called NZ evil. I wish that every single country would get together and in harmony too. But I guess thats just a pipe dream.
I grieved along with the US when the attack on 9-11 happened. That was a big shock to the system, and every day I pray that it doesnt happen again.
post #11 of 42

I appreciated reading your comment regarding the U.S. You are completely right about this being a very diverse nation. If you are from say Michigan - you feel quite out of water when you go to the Southern State like Alabama. There are all kinds of different accents throughout the United States, as there are political and moral beliefs.

I think the thing that I appreciate most is that many people have come here because there are opportunities for them. My mothers family came from Sweden and my fathers family came from Finland. I appreciate the fact that they could come to this country and make a good life for themselves.

I also think that most people don't understand what a giving nation we are. You just don't read about it in the news.
post #12 of 42
As one of America's closest neighbours, I think about America often, and mostly with respect and admiration. Even though are nations are so close, I still feel there is a large difference in Canadians and Americans. I feel that America is a "melting pot" that has many cultures, but most cultures become a "background" to being American, for example " I am an American Italian". In Canada we are more of a "Cultural Mosaic" - we are a land filled with cultural diversity and people often refer to themselves as, for example "Chinese Canadian". I am not sure which is better, but I like the way Canadians can still have strong connections to their roots and have the freedom to express them thru different means, for example cultural festivals like Caribana.

I don't necessarily agree with the politcs of the US, but I admire the democratic process that allows the politics.

I have traveled to many places in the US, including Maine, New Hampshire, Upper New York State, Ohio, Maryland Florida, Arizona and Nevada. I have always enjoyed being a tourist in these locations. Each State has something unique to bring to the world and I look forward to visiting more of them.

That being said, I at times, find the American's government's standpoint on Canada and other countries to be disrespectful of any way or choice but the Amereican. The "if you are not with us, you are against us" attitude makes me think of the US, at times, as a domineering older sibling who always thinks he/she knows best.

I am proud to say I am Canadian, and equally proud to have friends and familes in the States.
post #13 of 42
Hello! I am from Toronto (Canada) as well, and have mixed feelings about the States. One thing that drives me crazy is how little Americans seem to know about Canada, even though we are right above them, and are prominent trade partners. I have many times spoken to Americans who didn't even know where Canada was located, thought we were part of their country, thought we were still a part of the UK, thought we were practically a third world nation that was 'inferior' to them, etc. This can be very frustrating. On the other hand, Canadians seem to be fairly knowledgeable about the States, mostly because we watch quite a lot of American tv. (Canadian programming, aside from the news, is for the most part quite awful!)
We Canadians seem to walk the fine line between kissing the State's a** (not legalizing marijuana for fear it will anger Americans) and then being afraid the they are controlling are country too much.
post #14 of 42
Mellanie, I totally hear you that we Americans know nothing about other countries. It's one of the problems with the education system as a whole. Honestly, much of it is a by-product of all the political correctness crap that has infiltrated our society. We have to learn Black History Month, Women's History, Mexican Pride, and who knows what else while completely ignoring some of the basic subjects like World History, Politics, Current Events, Geography, basically anything that doesn't directly pertain to the US. There are some good teachers who try to work it in where they can, but standardized tests don't cover it and that's the emphasis anymore. It's sad really, and that is one of the big things I'm ashamed of as an American.
post #15 of 42
Originally posted by mellanie
I have many times spoken to Americans who didn't even know where Canada was located, thought we were part of their country, thought we were still a part of the UK, thought we were practically a third world nation that was 'inferior' to them, etc.
I'm the farthest thing from the sharpest knife in the drawer (as demonstrated by my spelling), but even I know where Canada is located, realize it isn't a part of America or the UK and know that it isn't not a third world country.

I find it absolutely horrifying that anyone could be that dense.
post #16 of 42
When I lived in Germany, it really brought to light for me how ignorant a lot of Americans can be. I had friends who would call me and say ridiculous things like "Do you have tv there?" , or "do you have to go outside for the bathroom?" Germany, although much smaller than the US, has just as much technology and in a lot of cases is more advanced! I gave birth to both of my children while living there, and I can honestly say I received the BEST medical care I could have gotten.

My friends that would say these things are educated people, who just basically are plain ignorant when it comes to other cultures and countries. This is the one area I will always push w/ my own kids, they will never be as misinformed about other nations as so many of my generation are.
post #17 of 42
I know quite a bit about Canada, however, I live practically on the border. I love the people and the different cultures. We get the CBC and it's one of my favorite channels. In fact, during the Olympics, I watched the CBC more than I did American television. We love to travel in Canada, in fact, I'll be there for a week in August. Not all Americans are ignorant of Canada.
post #18 of 42
There is a political satire show in Canada called This Hour Has 22 Minutes. When Rick Mercer was on it he would travel to different States and do a thing called "Taliking to Americans". He would tell them he was from a show in Canada and often get them to sign petitions against fake things he made up that he got them to believe the government was doing. For example - he was on a university campus and was have people sign a petition to stop the practice of setting seniors out to die on ice flows. He got the Governer of Iowa to congratulate Canada on switching from the 23 to 24 hour clock. It really shows how much peple really don't know about the fine nation I live in!
post #19 of 42
Thread Starter 
It really shows how much peple really don't know about the fine nation I live in!
It's not that we don't care about Canada, its just that here, in America, we don't see any Canadian news or tv shows.

That is really the point of this thread summed up. Everyone keeps and eye on US affairs and have US tv shows on thier tv and alot of people in other countries even speak the English language. We have so much going on here in the US that it is hard to concentrate on outside affairs. Its hard enough keeping track of our own government, laws, tv shows, celebrities, states, etc...
post #20 of 42
As the sole remaining superpower, and the largest English-speaking country in the world (discounting India, of course, because only the educated speak "Inglish"), the U.S. seems to get far more media coverage than countries greater in population (China, India) or area (Russia, China, Canada). I find that people here in Germany to some extent know more about the U.S. than many Americans, because they have geography, U.S. social studies, and English in school. I always laugh when Jay Leno goes out on the street and asks people how many Representatives there are, what the biggest cities are, etc., and it's the obvious immigrants who answer the questions correctly! I've also been asked by fellow Americans if we have electricity and running water here in Germany! (My response: Mercedes-Benz,BMW, Porsche, Lufthansa, Siemens, Bosch, Metabo, Braun, etc.) I've been to the U.K. several times, and actually find Germany more like the U.S. than the U.K. is. Conversely, I find the British more like the Yanks than the Germans are. Probably because of the language and shared past. And at the risk of insulting the Canadians here: for some reason I've never considered Canada a "foreign" country, although I was always aware that it wasn't a "part of the U.S.". I guess because I spent a lot of time in eastern Canada as a kid, and was a hockey fanatic (Philadelphia Flyers' fan in those days) as a teenager. I still don't distinguish between the two nations.
post #21 of 42
I think most countries have other things to think about other than America. I, myself, am from Ukraine, but I live in the states. Based on my visits back to ukraine and other foreign country, people either dont care about or dont like America. See alot of countries I have been too are very poor. People there are worried about themselves and not another country. There is terrorism in the middle east and poverty else where, I dont think most countries, or most people rather really think about it.
post #22 of 42
Ady and Mellaine, since I live in a state that borders Canda, it really doesn't seem very foreign to me. However, I have only visited the English speaking sections of southern Canada. I have seen many similarities between that part of Canada and my state. The last time I was there, crossing the border was really quick and easy, but this was before 9/11, maybe it's more difficult now.
post #23 of 42
Originally posted by Seagull
Or is life in New York really anything like Sex and the City?
Don't I personally wish!
post #24 of 42
I'm come from Wyoming (a big western state with barely any people) and when I'm back east or even out here in CA I've had people ask me what country that is, what state it's in, etc.... I think I've also posted that I've had people believing we rode Buffalo to school and lived in high-rise Tepees (people in the US specifically). So US people's ignorance is not just of the rest of the world, it's of everything. I cannot believe it when I hear stuff like that because I simply cannot comprehend not knowing stuff like that. I used to be able to recite all the state capitols and I still generally know where almost every state is (I get confused back east because I've only been there once when I wasn't just going through an airport), but I know which states we have.

When I lived in Germany nobody asked me any stupid questions about Germany (except maybe about the food, I lived in Northern Germany and the German food people in the US are familiar with comes from an area in Bavaria), but I did experience some really strange things. The worst was that if I spoke with an American accent (kind of hard for me not to do) many of the older Germans would spit on me or turn their back on me. Once, when I was in a department store and two German kids ran by me and a couple of older ladies one of the older ladies turned to me (she didn't know I was from the US) and said, "Amerikaner!" referring to the kids. So people outside the US don't have a very nice view of people from the US. But I really can't blame them because I saw some really "ugly" Americans when I was living over there. I was embarrassed that they were from the same country as I was.

I also noticed that although the industrialized countries don't seem to have a very good view of the US, people from the 3rd world either hate the US or they view it as heaven. I had people from Turkey, different African countries, Iran, China, etc. asking me to send them a written invitation to come visit me so they could legally come visit and stay in the US. They would tell me of these outlandish stories where it sounded like the streets in the US really are paved with gold! I had a hard time with this at the time because my father had just lost his job because he was an old, white, man. Sucks to be the traditional mainstream in the US.

Just a few views from a US citizen who loves other countries and cultures.
post #25 of 42
This is just my opinion, not Australia's.

With regard to Iraq - It was about oil and US control in the middle east. If it was a war on terror and reducing terrorism, well now because of Australia's involvment, the country is now one targeted by various terror groups with vague/definite links to Al Quida. I did not support the war and I am proud to say that BUT I did feel for the troops that were sent over to the Persian Gulf and for their families. And for about two weeks I gave up on television because there was only footage of Iraq, even though it was days old.

With regard to legal system - It seems to be based on dollars, not common sense. It seems that if you happen to chip a nail while opening a packet of Oreo's you can sue the manufacturer's. It's a world of litigation and no one seems to accept responsibility for their actions. And I am afraid that this is where Australia's legal system is heading fast, and ever since 9/11, the rate has increased.

With regard to the medical/education system - Do you have a credit card and what is that limit? That's what it seems like from shows of Chicago Hope, ER and American news shows.

With regard to everyday life - Seems alright but with firearms being relatively easy to buy in comparison with Australia, just how many people have guns over there? Seriously, the Gun Lobby has a loud voice over there and the politicians seem blind to school shootings. Just how many more Columbines have to occur? And by the way, we do not turn our homes into prisons due to not having guns in our homes. (Yes I saw that campaign too.)

With regard to people - Well I've met all sorts. Some are ignorant of Australia and think either of Crocodile Dundee or Sydney due to the Olympics and think that it's quite ok to keep a kangaroo as a pet. This is in fact illegal and you need permits to do so and wildlife carers often do an accredication course before handling any native animals. Then there are other people who do know about Australia and other places in the world and it's quite enjoyable to talk to them about world events as a whole and not just be focussed on USA. But then, every country has an ignorant bunch so really, I don't have anything against the people of America. People are different.

With regard to the political system - It seems to be all fanfare with very little achieved.

With regard to geography - Well I know where the San Andreas fault line runs. And there's something like 50 states and kids are taught it in a song. Washington DC is the capital.

With regard to history - The country has had civil war, apartheid, first president was George Washington, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, New York state was the 11th state to join the federation of states, (not too sure what to call it), the JFK conspiracy continues to this day, Roswell, (who really knows what happenned there?).

With regard to exports - Hollywood, well I don't like most of the movies. I neeed a movie with a story and find gratuitous acts of sex and violence nauseating. MacDonalds, Burger King, (Hungry Jack's in Australia), Pizza Hut, Dominoe's, KFC, well it's all well and good but seriously, has anyone looked at the fat content???

Would I visit? - Possibly. I do want to travel once I'm finished studying and working.

Well I hope I haven't burnt any bridges by stating what I think. I do not mean anything as a personal attack to anyone. This is what I think of America.
post #26 of 42
Heck, I know more history than the average US adult (who didn't major in history) and I didn't know that New York was the 11th state! I don't know what number Wyoming or California were either. I just know that Wyoming was a territory still about 100 years ago and they were the first to grant women the right to vote (actually it was because they didn't have enough voters if they just had men voting, not because they believed women should have the vote).

One of the things I'm always in awe of is people who graduate from universities in other countries, especially when they major in English. They can recite works off the cuff that I barely recognize and I'm an English major. My friend in Holland was a business major and she can recite the first 14 lines of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", I can only recite the first 2 and poorly at that. I don't think we spend enough time on education in the US. I'm not sure that rote learning is better, but is sure is impressive.
post #27 of 42

I must say I was a bit offended by your comments. You are getting what you know about America from news stories and television shows.
Both don't show what America is about. You really don't know anything about the American people or America.

You don't know that, for the most part, Americans are hard working, charitable and patriotic. You don't know that most Americans don't own a gun. You don't know that most Americans don't sue for just anything. You obviously don't know that our judicial system is made up of a jury of your own peers and works very well.

I'm not saying that we don't have problems. Every and I mean every country does. I find it very hard to swallow when I read a post of someone who has never even been to this country to comment on it in such a negative way.

I love this country and feel privileged to be an American. Obviously, many people from many countries feel the same way, because thousands of people become Americans every year.
post #28 of 42
I was a bit taken aback by Mags' thoughts on the US, but really is it her fault that this is how we are portrayed to other countries?

Of course, being one of those "gun fanatics" that you hear about on the news (yes, I support the NRA and am thoroughly against gun control) that was one of the big things that popped out at me. There isn't a gun in every home nor a mugging on every corner. Did they ever report that the guns used at Columbine were obtained illegally? Does anyone remember that Columbine was an ISOLATED incident involving two very disturbed young men who made PIPE BOMBS (ineffective, but still....) as well as using equally ineffective guns? (Sorry, but firing over 200 rounds of ammunition with the amount of casualties is ineffective, IMO). Sorry, but the whole Columbine thing just gets me going. I live here, my hubby worked less than a mile from the school when it happened. They are making a 2 acre memorial site - larger than most of the National War memorials. I've had it with the whole Columbine thing, overkill media coverage and using that as the basis for every argument for gun control. (Sorry, Mags, not your fault I've just reached a breaking point with that today. )

Anyway, enough of my rant. Actually, my thought on what Mags said is that you believe what you are shown. Unfortunately, it is only the bad stuff that makes international news. They also only get our crap TV shows, our horrible fast food restaurants, our self-glorifying movies. None of this shows the REAL day-to-day life of us average Americans who don't sue when we break a fingernail, don't get mugged at gunpoint every day on the way to work, try to eat healthy (most of the time), and believe in the system of our government and judicial system even though we do know it is flawed.
post #29 of 42
I agree with you Heidi - the whole Columbine thing has gone too far and it isnt the only school who has experienced a shooting. What about memorials for the other victims of school shootings?

Anyways, It is true, we only see mostly the negative aspects of America on the news in NZ, but since coming here, I have had a lot of bad experiences, (too long to tell) but I have had a lot of good experiences. Just as I would in any other country, not just the USA. A friend of mine had bad experiences in the UK. So its not just USA - every country has its bad points and good points. Sad fact is, people tend to remember the bad more than the good. I try and think more of the good over bad. Since I moved to a new county, I am having better experiences, I have made better friends and life is getting better for me here. The county I was living in before was stuck in the dark ages, I was having a lot of trouble with interpreter services - they have the small town mentality that you only see on lifetime movies.
post #30 of 42
I usually hear the United States mentioned occassional in political conversations.... oh...Once a week? On the radio maybe once a day. In casual conversations once a week, and usually accompanied by some sarcastic joke. Now I'm not trying to say anything negative about America or Americans. I remain neutral, as many Canadians do. We all have our good/bad/ugly. People are people no matter where you are on a map.

However, I think that a lot of the resentment that has been turned towards the USA is due to the extreme patriotism of the nation. Because american media dominates most of the world, people in other countries often find themselves listening to one american's view or another's on how terrific they think their nation is. Add nauseaum. It has the effect of a person who always talks about how swell they think they are. This creates a range of responses from bitterness, anger, awe, inferiority, hostility etc.

Where I am from, Ontario Canada, we live lifestyles very similar to east coast usa. We end up having an outside looking in perspective. We already have many of the lifestyle benefits which come in thanks partially to the usa. So what differences are left are often the negative ones. This is why many Canadians have a negative attitude towards Americans. I often find that most people who "hate americans" haven't thought out their opinion very far. Those who view you neutrally, or positively, take many factors in to account. For example, the security we are afforded by being next door. We have virtually no national security.

You say in class you learn Black History Month, Women's History, Mexican Pride... oh my god, I have NO disrespect for any of these groups of individuals...but why? These subjects can be encorperated in to the curriculum as a whole. In fact by segregating the topics in a subtle way you are almost teaching children to categorise these groups seperatly.
Canadian education is far from the best in the world. But I feel that it covered many issues and topics in a way that was vast enough to give me a vague impression of most of the worlds geography. It also gave me a spark of interest to discover more on my own. Personal experience will teach you far more than any teacher or book. You kind of contradict yourself in your post. You say you "don't find myself thinking of other countries often" and yet "consider myself somewhat interested in world affairs." Well, myself I'm not often concerned with political affairs. But when the war began I was quite intrigued to hear what the other side had to say. I heard quite a bit about it from my boyfriends parents, who live in Qatar. A somewhat neutral middle eastern country beside Saudi Arabia. I read a few Iraq websites, I heard what people had to say on the internet. I read opinion after opinion of various message boards. I feel I ended up with a better view of the big picture but I really came to realise one thing. You can never really know the whole story, but you can learn a lot by playing devil's advocate.

One view is always limited. That's why I've always been skeptical of the media.

"We witness a passing phrase of eternity. Important things happen but some people never notice. Accidents intervene. You are not present at episodes. You depend on reports. And people shutter their minds. What good are reports? History in a news account? Preselected at an editorial conference, digested and excreted by prejudice? Accounts you need seldom come from those who make history. Diaries, memoirs and autobiographies are subjective forms of special pleading. Archives are crammed with such suspect stuff"

At this point I'm rambling so I'm going to look for a picture to show you guys.
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