Thursday, April 12, 2007

American view Vs World view

I received this article by email a while ago, but didn't want to blog about it until I found it's original source. Jessica Long is the author of this article titled I’m American….Shhh!! Don’t tell, that delves into the question on how Americans are perceived across the world. I have lived in the US for several years and simply adore lots of things about the country, but I have never been to keen on their bravado of sorts when it comes to "not knowing" anything about the rest of the world.

I find it quite sad actually, since most of the world at one time (and now only certain pockets of it) were thirsting for all things American, but it has never really been reciprocated. Americans, by and large, are very content with where they are in their own country, their own county and their own city. I can't imagine what that would be like, since I have lived away from home at boarding school since I was 9, moved to the US on my own when I was 18 and dealt with life and learnt from it with my new experiences on my own, constantly absorbing things from my new surroundings. We will be moving to another new country next month and we are absolutely excited by the prospect and the opportunities that it will offer.

Here is a little excerpt of the article, read the full article here in ICH.
Alright, alright!! The secret is out….. I am, regrettably, not Canadian. In fact, I am an American from a small city called Olympia, WA about three hours south of the Canadian border. But shhh…. Don’t tell! Perhaps if you knew the grief these three hours distance have caused me the last six years you wouldn’t judge me so harshly for this little white lie.

I represent the 7% of Americans that travel abroad each year. Ordinarily, I would be proud to belong to this statistic. Yet having done the majority of my globetrotting during the Bush Administration years, I find my nationality to be the biggest cause of stress in my travels. I have learned that being an American is something you can no longer be proud of- well, at least if you have any knowledge of global affairs. In fact I am ashamed of my nationality. But wait a second here…. before I am accosted by the headstrong patriot with ten “United we stand” bumper stickers adorning his SUV, let me say this: I understand the value of pride in opportunity, equality and justice- but NOT in nationalism for the sake of nationalism! And that is what is at stake here: American insular ideology. Traveling abroad has allowed me a new perspective on this skewed American self-image. I am grateful for my opportunities, my freedom, and my standard of living- but I am ashamed of my government’s corruption, my people’s ignorance and my nation’s neo-colonial egotism. But you needn’t be a hardcore lefty to agree with me. All you need is to go abroad to be reminded of the global hatred toward our nation.

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