world map according to americans

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Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

world map according to americans

you know that guy who when someone tells a joke, he just kills it because he over-analyzes it or wants to dissect it into unnecessarily serious parts? you know that guy?

ok, this post is going to be me being that guy…

so, a few days ago, i received—in an email—the image that you see here.

alright, let’s get this out of the way. on a surface level, yes, i think this is funny. i laughed when i looked at it. i can take a joke. i can live in a space where i’m not so hyper-politically-correct that i can’t just laugh at this. for example, i laughed all the way through borat because you should understand that the blatant racial/ethnic/religious humor was meant to show the ignorance and absurdity of the people who perpetuate those things—not celebrate it. much like this map, some simple-minded people will look at this and say, “hell yeah, those sure do make some good tv’s! woo, u.s.a.!!” ok, so there’s those people and then there’s people who can laugh at the absurdity.

i’m here to laugh at the absurdity and also, to address a larger issue (this is the part in which i kill the joke…thus invoking a total debbie downer moment…).

i am consistently amazed at the intense level of ethnocentricity that is on display in our country. look, i really do love the united states. i think it’s a great country and i’m very glad to live here. but to assume that the rest of the world is some kind of inferior third-world or that they’re just here to make electronics or to grow our coffee or even just to be communists is sad.

in a shifting global culture, to be ethnically near-sighted—or more appropriately, globally blind—is dangerous and unfair. to be bound so tightly within our imaginary boundaries that we call the united states is to severely limit our ability to foster global dialogue and mutual understanding.

just last week, conservative pundits had a field day with obama after he referred to the united states’ foreign policies as “arrogant” when addressing an audience in strasbourg, france. people said that he shouldn’t admit that while overseas and that it shows some kind of weakness. to assume that we’re so great and mighty that we can’t show some semblance of national humility and repentance is really sad and unhelpful, to say the least. claiming that we’re the world leader in all areas has only isolated the rest of the world and won us new enemies.

so, instead of this insulated view that america is number 1 and the rest of the world is just there to provide us with zoo animals, let’s begin to view the world through a more gracious and culturally rich lens.

ok, now that i’m done ranting, i’m gonna go put on my nikes that were made by tiny guatemalan kids and drink my hot cup of coffee that helped to provide 3 cents to a starving farming family in colombia…