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yoplay
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Sat May-27-00 01:19 PM

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"americentricity"


  

          

there's a lot that i want to say with this post, but i'm not quite sure how to get it all in. first, let me give you some background about myself. i'm nearing the end of my senior year in college, and i've spent this whole year in england. the university i've gone to is quite nice because it contains sooo many international students. people from all of western and eastern europe, many of the different countries of africa, india, south america, and countless countries in asia. during this year i've had the blessing of being able to talk with many of these peoples from the different countries.
now, i think that it's not to far of a stretch to say that these people would have a bad view of america's government and millitary. after all, we have throughly spent the last...i don't know, 50 years(?) fucking over countries from all around the world. as i've said this could be expected(the bad view of americans that is). what i did not expect to find however in my talks with these people is that their disdain for americans goes much deeper. don't get me wrong, the majority of people i've met are open minded enough that if you show that you are aware and open minded, then they will show you respect.
but this further stereotype of americans, beyond our government's foriegn policy comes from the fact that american's are IGNORANT to the actions and events that go on outside of our country. granted, there are obvious explanations for this. the size of our country is massive. we are also totally isolated from europe and asia.
i guess i'm writing this to encourage, and ask to my fellow okayplayers to try to think more outward. pay attention to that stuff going on in other countries. i think with the relativly recent success of america in the world wars, we've been lulled into thinking that america is untouchable. i'm sure much more goes into it than just that, such as us having so much money to back up our influences(brief brake. i'm listenning to do you want more right now, and is there anything better than the version of essaywhuman on it? i think not). but seriously, all of those foreign events greatly affect us whether we realize it or not. one thing that i hope and wish, is that if americans as a whole were aware of the stuff going on in other countries, then it would be more difficult for our government to get away with all of the bullshit that they pull so often, without the public even knowing. honestly, i'm tired in my history classes of learning about places such as the phillipines, nicuragua, iran...and so many other places that we went in, and no matter how you look at it, we were the machevellian bastards.

i'm going to bring in another point right now. that is the media. in england, you can't even call the newspapers forms of true info(any u.k. okayplayers can correct me if i'm wrong). but basically, there are different tabloids which cate to all of the different political intrests. it's rediculous how subjective the righting is. but i think that people in the u.s. need to be more aware of the fact that maybe what you read in the papers isn't objective. for example: the most recent confrontation between the u.s. and iraq. i believe it was maybe a year or two ago. you remember...sadam kicked out the weapons inspectors. at least that's how it was posted in the washington post, n.y. times, and countless national news shows. BUT, this wasn't the case. sadam didn't kick them out. it was a decision made be the u.s. person in charge. yet, it was reported falsely in some of the most respected forms of media in the u.s.!!! because we're so isolated, geographically wise, we're left to trust these forms of information, and we're very vulnerable to this type of brain washing.(another brake. man, if you don't think that dice raw rips it on the lesson, then you smoke crack. i can not wait for this guys solo album). but seriously, think about it. i'll start another post about places to find the REAL news. whether the internet or other sources.
okay, so in attempt to tie this back to what i was saying earlier, here in england among all of these people from around the globe, americans are definetely known as the most ignorant and unrespectful. from the people i've talked with, and from my experiences of traveling around western europe on my breaks this year, american's expect to be catered to, and don't respect the cultures they are visitors in. i acknowledge the fact that i am generalizing here from my limited travels and experiences. i believe that this ignorance is definetely an extension of the americentric thinking that goes on, and when we go to other places, we are as a whole UNAWARE of culture and country we are in.
anyways this has gone on for a long time...my post that is. please post anything that this post may have spurred in your mind. i look forward to hearing others experiences in dealing with the aspects of americentricity.

there comes a time in every mans life when he's gotta handle shit up on his own Can't depend on friends to help you in a squeeze, please they got problems of their own---slim kid3

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
RE: americentricity
AfroPuffsXL
May 27th 2000
1
RE: americentricity
May 27th 2000
2
to a certain extent
Isis
May 27th 2000
3
RE: to a certain extent
May 27th 2000
4
      RE: to a certain extent
Tlanextic
May 27th 2000
5
           hi tlanextic,
May 28th 2000
6
           hi tlanextic,
May 28th 2000
7
                oops
May 28th 2000
8
RE: americentricity
May 28th 2000
9
my experience(s)
May 29th 2000
10
americans..
May 29th 2000
11

AfroPuffsXL

Sat May-27-00 02:04 PM

  
1. "RE: americentricity"
In response to Reply # 0


          

I have to agree with you yoplay. In America we seem to be more concerned with paying our bills than really finding out what's going on in the world; even as it affects us. We watch the news or read the paper as it fits into our schedules and don't venture out to find anything more than what is presented to us. And when we do travel, it's usually for vacation, to get away from the stress and routine of our jobs and material possesions that have to be maintained. It's not to learn from the people who live there. Most people just stick to the travel package or follow the tourguide, and come back with nothing more than a sample of the culture, a taste of some of the food, and an idea of the climate in that season. We all need to get a better understanding of how people live in different parts of the world. Then maybe we can see what is really important, and put things into perspective.

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yoplay
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Sat May-27-00 02:32 PM

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2. "RE: americentricity"
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

you raise really good points. it reminded me of something that my european history professor told us last year. she mentioned that she was working on a thesis that dealt with the idea that the people of the great superpowers of the ages(for my lack of a better term) don't read the newspaper. i guess she had done lots of research and found that the romans at the height of thier empire paid little, to no attention to what went on outside of thier empire. granted that there are obvious differences between the massive roman empire and the u.s., but i think that it raises an interesting point. has the american public been lulled into a (false?) sense of security by our power since ww1? seriously, a rediculous number of countries have nuculear power at thier disposal. is it all that far fetched that we try to impose our riteous ideals of democracy(or so the government calls it) on one of these countries, and the person running this country isn't going to put up with it, and fires upon us?
okay, i may be getting caried away here, but it's something to think about.

there comes a time in every mans life when he's gotta handle shit up on his own Can't depend on friends to help you in a squeeze, please they got problems of their own---slim kid3

  

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Isis

Sat May-27-00 02:34 PM

  
3. "to a certain extent"
In response to Reply # 0


          

This is true. America is very focused on itself. But you can't blame the average American for this. Other countries are more aware because their media outlets make it possible. When I was in Sydney I became aware of world issues because the papers were better at getting this information out. So the average Aussie didn't have to seek out this information in obscure places just to be informed. They also are able to get entertainment from other countries so American and British shows, movies, and music comes in and broadens people's perspective.
America is very Americentric but much of it is not our fault. Most people are going to watch the TV in their living rooms and the news that comes on the basic network channels. The information that gets passed to them is very limited. The news has maybe 5 minutes on intl affairs. So yes you can say that we need to a better job of looking for information but the media needs to do a better job of presenting the information. Not everyone can read a variety of newspapers and news websites everyday to keep informed. People abroad are able to do this because the info is placed in their lap. They are bombarded with American images everyday and that is why they know more about us than we know about them.

I agree that we need to step out of our shell and learn about other countries and the real issues that go on. But to blame it on Americans and our ignorance....it doesn't sit well with me. This type of miseducation begins when we are in elementary school and continues. It is hard to blame people for this. So its not as clear cut as other countries are less focused on themselves because they are more informed citizens. The education in their country was designed around this.

******************
This life is temporary but the soul is eternal, separate the real from the lie, let me learn you. --Mos Def

  

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yoplay
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Sat May-27-00 03:05 PM

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4. "RE: to a certain extent"
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

>But you can't blame the
>average American for this.
>Other countries are more aware
>because their media outlets make
>it possible.
>America is very Americentric but much
>of it is not our
>fault. Most people are
>going to watch the TV
>in their living rooms and
>the news that comes on
>the basic network channels.
>The information that gets passed
>to them is very limited.
> The news has maybe
>5 minutes on intl affairs.
> So yes you can
>say that we need to
>a better job of looking
>for information but the media
>needs to do a better
>job of presenting the information.
> Not everyone can read
>a variety of newspapers and
>news websites everyday to keep
>informed. People abroad are
>able to do this because
>the info is placed in
>their lap. They are
>bombarded with American images everyday
>and that is why they
>know more about us than
>we know about them.
>
>I agree that we need to
>step out of our shell
>and learn about other countries
>and the real issues that
>go on. But to
>blame it on Americans and
>our ignorance....it doesn't sit well
>with me. This type
>of miseducation begins when we
>are in elementary school and
>continues. It is hard to
>blame people for this.
>So its not as clear
>cut as other countries are
>less focused on themselves because
>they are more informed citizens.
> The education in their
>country was designed around this.



i see what you're saying(i think so at least), and i tried to touch on it partially in my original post. as a country, we are extremely isolated from europe and asia. also, we are completely self sufficient with our natural resourses. what i was trying to get at though, is that i don't think that the ignorance which comes from factors such as above is acceptable. i'm no poly sci genius, but i really believe that if the american public took the effort(and i agree that we are at a great disadvantage to find out international news than many of the countries on the other continents of the world) then it would make it much more difficult for our government to do so many of the terrible things it does. i know that it's not easy to keep informed, but it's not going to be too long, until all of the ill deeds our government has done are going to come back and affect us(who knows, maybe it has already begun).
you raise a great point when you say that this type of ignorance begins in elementary school. gosh, i remember all thorough school, until college, learning about what a great friendship and bond good 'ol john smith had with pochahantas. those savages sure did get along great with them settlers(that was sarcasm, just in case anyone didn't catch it). furthermore, the british people i've talked with really resent the way the u.s. views ww2. yeah, that's great we came in at the end of the war to save the day, but it was the brittish who held the fight until we got there. we portray ourselves as these world saviors, yet, where the eff were we when hitler was killing millions upon millions of non-aryans? granted, i know that the great depression had a big impact on our decisions, but lets admit our flaws when ww2 is taught, and give credit where it is due.
anyways, i totally agree with you here. i think that education is one of the things that really can make a difference. i'm going to get my teaching credential this upcoming year, which is another point, but i really believe that a teacher can make the biggest difference in the world, in many areas, including this ignorance we're talking about.

there comes a time in every mans life when he's gotta handle shit up on his own Can't depend on friends to help you in a squeeze, please they got problems of their own---slim kid3

  

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Tlanextic

Sat May-27-00 03:46 PM

  
5. "RE: to a certain extent"
In response to Reply # 4


          

I have to agree with you on the issue as a whole. We, Americans, that is, are extremely ignorant of world affairs. I consider myself a well-informed person, but I only have a decent understanding of the situations in a few countries: Mexico, England, and maybe Russia. I know a little about the other English-speaking countries, Germany, France, and about a half dozen other European/Asia countries, but not nearly enough to make the kind of decisions and exert the kind of power America seems to on a regular basis. Fact is, though, that Americans get blamed for a lot that isn;t their fault. This nation isn't anywhere near perfect, but how many could do much better. Ignorance, misunderstanding, etc. are all very human traits. Okay, I'm geting a bit defensive, let's cool off, okay then...let's talk about World War II.

I don't know many British people, and I wasn't around sixty years ago (and I doubt anyone n this board was). However, my understanding of the events in World War II lead me to believe that the attitudes towards the American involvement in that War was unfair. From what I learned in European history (perhaps a biased class, but considering it was in a school run by French nuns taught by a man who currently lives in Poland with an Asian wife), American isolationism and Britsh/French appeasement of Germany were equally wrong. The difference was, the British felt threatened three or four years too late while the Americans were five or six years late. The Russians had even worse problems, and they had to wait until 1944, when they were starting to turn things around on their own, until their Allies decided to make it a two front war. What about Czechoslovakia?

All I'm saying is, evey person, every country, has a bias, and Americans just mess up more because we have the most to mess up with. But maybe that's just my americentric opinion. I could be, and probably am, wrong, but I have to stick with my impressions until someone show me a better way. I'm going to go look at those news sources now.

  

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yoplay
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Sun May-28-00 06:14 AM

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6. "hi tlanextic,"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

>All I'm saying is, evey person,
>every country, has a bias,
>and Americans just mess up
>more because we have the
>most to mess up with.
>But maybe that's just my
>americentric opinion. I could be,
>and probably am, wrong, but
>I have to stick with
>my impressions until someone show
>me a better way.

i think you're right about every country having it's bias'. england and france each have their own ways of inward looking, and sources of perhaps unnesecary pride. now, it's not that big of a deal, it's just accepted. but when as americans we have this americentric thinking, it is magnified and scrutinized more than other countries because we are so powerful. hollywood is also another way which these american ideals are spread throughout the world.

i disagree with you though about us just messing up becuase we have the most to mess up with. i think that this is a way of justifying, and accepting the terrible things we've done through our foriegn policy. i think that because of the fact that we have the most to mess up with, and all this power, it makes our mess ups that much more destructive. because of this great power and influence we have, i think that it's is all the more important that we as citezens pay attention to what our government is doing in other places with this great influence.
i think this also very much ties back into what's going on in our own country. i mean for hecks sake, our own govenment had crack/cocaine brought into the ghetto as a way of funding what they saw to be this countries foriegn intrests.

there comes a time in every mans life when he's gotta handle shit up on his own Can't depend on friends to help you in a squeeze, please they got problems of their own---slim kid3

  

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yoplay
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1440 posts
Sun May-28-00 06:14 AM

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7. "hi tlanextic,"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

>All I'm saying is, evey person,
>every country, has a bias,
>and Americans just mess up
>more because we have the
>most to mess up with.
>But maybe that's just my
>americentric opinion. I could be,
>and probably am, wrong, but
>I have to stick with
>my impressions until someone show
>me a better way.

i think you're right about every country having it's bias'. england and france each have their own ways of inward looking, and sources of perhaps unnesecary pride. now, it's not that big of a deal, it's just accepted. but when as americans we have this americentric thinking, it is magnified and scrutinized more than other countries because we are so powerful. hollywood is also another way which these american ideals are spread throughout the world.

i disagree with you though about us just messing up becuase we have the most to mess up with. i think that this is a way of justifying, and accepting the terrible things we've done through our foriegn policy. i think that because of the fact that we have the most to mess up with, and all this power, it makes our mess ups that much more destructive. because of this great power and influence we have, i think that it's is all the more important that we as citezens pay attention to what our government is doing in other places with this great influence.
i think this also very much ties back into what's going on in our own country. i mean for hecks sake, our own govenment had crack/cocaine brought into the ghetto as a way of funding what they saw to be this countries foriegn intrests.

there comes a time in every mans life when he's gotta handle shit up on his own Can't depend on friends to help you in a squeeze, please they got problems of their own---slim kid3

  

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yoplay
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Sun May-28-00 06:16 AM

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8. "oops"
In response to Reply # 7


  

          

sorry i hadn't quite finished. i just think that not only are we really unaware of what's going on elsewhere, but also to large degree in our own country. i guess that's a whole other issue however.

there comes a time in every mans life when he's gotta handle shit up on his own Can't depend on friends to help you in a squeeze, please they got problems of their own---slim kid3

  

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Zesi
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Sun May-28-00 01:00 PM

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9. "RE: americentricity"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

People point out flaws(real and preceived) in other people to make themselves feel better at times.
Now, of course, as we all know, all countries have some skeletons in their closets. I would think more than some, rather, lets say a lot.

While the US is certainly not all it cracks itself up to be, neither are most countries in the world. Probably all.

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krewcial
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Mon May-29-00 02:41 AM

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10. "my experience(s)"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I admit my view of "Americans" isn't too positive either, in general. Mainly becos of the (cultural) imperialism of the US.

However, in '94 I met 2 heads from Cali (Tom and Corey from Mystik Journeymen) who were very aware of the world outside the US. That was my first GOOD encounter. Since then I've remarked a LOT of people on these boards that are different, far from ignorant, and far from ethnocentric. Of course I knew my stereotypical view of 'THE' American was false, since there's no such thing as 'THE' American in the first place.

However, there is a LOT of truth in talking about Americentricity when it comes to American culture, politics, defense and economy.
And becos of this, it will be reflected in the behaviour/attitudes of a lot of US citizens, especially those who blindly accept that US culture & political system and what it does worldwide.

So there's a lot of truth in what you referred to, but of course (and luckily) it's not valid for EVERY American.

take care,
krewcial

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donwill
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Mon May-29-00 07:34 AM

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11. "americans.."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

yeahyeahyeah...we gon take this lil intermission and listen to what the fuk i got to say.....(c) prodigy

i feel that the reason why americans stay so self focused is becuase there are many different nationalities trying to HAVE a culture..
think about it..what is the american culture...
theft, death, deception...what is there really to be proud of...we live in the melting pot...there are so many distractions here to the rest of the world...its hard to embrace the world when we cant embrace every race here..
us americans have sorta came to consider this contry as a microcosm of the world as a whole...we have every culture here represented in some form....so we are content to live in our bubble..

i dunno...did that make sense?

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