If Americans knew more about the rest of the world.....


Someone
#1
I did see clips of Rick Mercer talking to Americans, and yes, he did reveal quite a bit of American ignorance about Canada (haha, President Jean Poutine..... that's funny!). I do agree, in fact, that Americans tend to be ignorant about the rest of the world. I have heard many jokes about American ignorance about Canada.

But here's my main point: if Americans did pay more attention to the rest of the world, do you really think Canada would be among the highest priority among the world's countries?

Here's my story relevant to the topic, as well as my many observations:

I was born and raised in Northern California to parents from the Philippines. I always knew that Canada was more than a northern "wilderness," French speakers, and Mounties (in fact, as a kid, I thought of Canada as like the US, but having guarded more aspects of its British heritage that Americans tossed).

But Canada didn't really enter my radar until my dad's brother migrated with his family to Vancouver when I was 11. Because his sons were my age, I had a good reason to go there nearly every summer. My frequent visits made me fall in love with Vancouver, and I kept coming back, even when I didn't feel as close to my cousins as I used to. I also became curious about the rest of Canada, and got to see much more of it as an adult. I like the majority of what I have seen. I even intend to live there after a few years of going to other countries.

What if, however, my uncle didn't migrate to Canada? Or what if he migrated to a part of Canada that my teenage self would not have appreciated so much. I don't think Canada would be so high on my radar. Would I be ignorant of the world outside the USA, though? Here are some main points:


1) As my parents are from the Philippines, that country would, one way or another, be on my radar. With or without Canada in my life, the Philippines would always be on my radar. And I think many people of recent immigrant background (self, parents, or grandparents) can say the same. For many people of recent immigrant background in the US (like anywhere else), their world will often revolve largely around both the "old country" and the "new country" (in my case, Philippines and USA). Additionally, many of us will have friends whose recent origins are from countries other than these, and those countries will be on our radar as well (for example, I have many Chinese friends, so China and its neighbours are on my radar as well).

So since most immigrants to the US from previous generations are from Europe, while most immigrants since 1965 are from Latin America and Asia, I think it's not hard to find people in the US who place countries from those regions high on their radar.

2) I have white American friends who have been in the States for generations, and have few friends of recent immigrant background (besides me, of course), but they do take huge interest in the pop cultures from countries such as the UK, Germany, and Japan. As long as the US has been a major world power, its closest rivals have generally been in Europe and Asia, so aside from the influence of immigrants from those regions, continued exposure to the pop cultures of those regions could put their countries further in the minds of many Americans. Good example: Japanese Anime

On that note, I actually enjoy and appreciate CBC programming and many bands from Canada - but I noticed that even many Canadians don't seem to, because they prefer that which comes from the States. So if many Canadians don't seem to have Canada on their radar, how can anyone else?

3) When you talk about border issues, Canada's only concern is the US. The US, on the other hand, is concerned not only with Canada, but with Mexico and other countries to the south. And whatever issues concerning smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people may happen at the Canada/USA border, I guarantee you it's easily 100 times bigger at the USA/Mexico border. I mean, to my knowledge, the USA/Mexico border receives 10,000 illegal crossings into the USA DAILY!!!! I don't think the Canada/USA border can even come close! And particularly being from California, we get a plurality of it. Mexico is thousands of times visible in the daily live of a Californian than Canada would ever be!

On that note, that's why there are more Mexicans in the US than there are total people in Canada. Whereas whatever Canadians migrate to the US tend to blend in too well.... even better than out-of-state Americans from some places would. In California, someone from Texas or Tennessee would stick out more likely than someone from Toronto would. (Likewise, when I go to Canada aside from Quebec and parts of Atlantic Canada, I don't get noticed as an outsider, whereas I would in many US states).

And if the Canadian who moved to the US is of an "ethnic" background, they will be more likely to identify with locals if their ethnic background than with being Canadian. For example, a Chinese-Canadian from Vancouver who moves to California will likely identify much more easily with Chinese locals in California than they would with a white Quebecois or Newfoundlander who also moves to California. So my point with this point is that if we have millions of Mexicans everywhere who make their presence largely visible, whereas Canadians often blend in better than out-of-state Americans do, that takes away some pressure to pay more attention to Canada.

Additionally, while 90% of Canadians live within 150 km of the US border, a smaller percentage of Americans live within the same distance of the Canadian border. In fact, even more live the same distance from the Mexican border, and like I said, that includes many Mexicans themselves.


SUMMARY: I do agree that too many Americans don't pay as much attention to the rest of the world as they should. But even if more Americans did start taking interest in the rest of the world, do you really think Canada would get more attention than Europe, Asia, or Mexico would (for the reasons listed above)?
 
petros
+1
#2
Where have you been on this planet? You are blowing so much sunshine up your own ass yet it still doesn't even come close to enlightening your appendix.
 
Mowich
+1
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by Someone View Post

I did see clips of Rick Mercer talking to Americans, and yes, he did reveal quite a bit of American ignorance about Canada (haha, President Jean Poutine..... that's funny!). I do agree, in fact, that Americans tend to be ignorant about the rest of the world. I have heard many jokes about American ignorance about Canada.

But here's my main point: if Americans did pay more attention to the rest of the world, do you really think Canada would be among the highest priority among the world's countries?

Here's my story relevant to the topic, as well as my many observations:

I was born and raised in Northern California to parents from the Philippines. I always knew that Canada was more than a northern "wilderness," French speakers, and Mounties (in fact, as a kid, I thought of Canada as like the US, but having guarded more aspects of its British heritage that Americans tossed).

But Canada didn't really enter my radar until my dad's brother migrated with his family to Vancouver when I was 11. Because his sons were my age, I had a good reason to go there nearly every summer. My frequent visits made me fall in love with Vancouver, and I kept coming back, even when I didn't feel as close to my cousins as I used to. I also became curious about the rest of Canada, and got to see much more of it as an adult. I like the majority of what I have seen. I even intend to live there after a few years of going to other countries.

What if, however, my uncle didn't migrate to Canada? Or what if he migrated to a part of Canada that my teenage self would not have appreciated so much. I don't think Canada would be so high on my radar. Would I be ignorant of the world outside the USA, though? Here are some main points:


1) As my parents are from the Philippines, that country would, one way or another, be on my radar. With or without Canada in my life, the Philippines would always be on my radar. And I think many people of recent immigrant background (self, parents, or grandparents) can say the same. For many people of recent immigrant background in the US (like anywhere else), their world will often revolve largely around both the "old country" and the "new country" (in my case, Philippines and USA). Additionally, many of us will have friends whose recent origins are from countries other than these, and those countries will be on our radar as well (for example, I have many Chinese friends, so China and its neighbours are on my radar as well).

So since most immigrants to the US from previous generations are from Europe, while most immigrants since 1965 are from Latin America and Asia, I think it's not hard to find people in the US who place countries from those regions high on their radar.

2) I have white American friends who have been in the States for generations, and have few friends of recent immigrant background (besides me, of course), but they do take huge interest in the pop cultures from countries such as the UK, Germany, and Japan. As long as the US has been a major world power, its closest rivals have generally been in Europe and Asia, so aside from the influence of immigrants from those regions, continued exposure to the pop cultures of those regions could put their countries further in the minds of many Americans. Good example: Japanese Anime

On that note, I actually enjoy and appreciate CBC programming and many bands from Canada - but I noticed that even many Canadians don't seem to, because they prefer that which comes from the States. So if many Canadians don't seem to have Canada on their radar, how can anyone else?

3) When you talk about border issues, Canada's only concern is the US. The US, on the other hand, is concerned not only with Canada, but with Mexico and other countries to the south. And whatever issues concerning smuggling of drugs, weapons, and people may happen at the Canada/USA border, I guarantee you it's easily 100 times bigger at the USA/Mexico border. I mean, to my knowledge, the USA/Mexico border receives 10,000 illegal crossings into the USA DAILY!!!! I don't think the Canada/USA border can even come close! And particularly being from California, we get a plurality of it. Mexico is thousands of times visible in the daily live of a Californian than Canada would ever be!

On that note, that's why there are more Mexicans in the US than there are total people in Canada. Whereas whatever Canadians migrate to the US tend to blend in too well.... even better than out-of-state Americans from some places would. In California, someone from Texas or Tennessee would stick out more likely than someone from Toronto would. (Likewise, when I go to Canada aside from Quebec and parts of Atlantic Canada, I don't get noticed as an outsider, whereas I would in many US states).

And if the Canadian who moved to the US is of an "ethnic" background, they will be more likely to identify with locals if their ethnic background than with being Canadian. For example, a Chinese-Canadian from Vancouver who moves to California will likely identify much more easily with Chinese locals in California than they would with a white Quebecois or Newfoundlander who also moves to California. So my point with this point is that if we have millions of Mexicans everywhere who make their presence largely visible, whereas Canadians often blend in better than out-of-state Americans do, that takes away some pressure to pay more attention to Canada.

Additionally, while 90% of Canadians live within 150 km of the US border, a smaller percentage of Americans live within the same distance of the Canadian border. In fact, even more live the same distance from the Mexican border, and like I said, that includes many Mexicans themselves.


SUMMARY: I do agree that too many Americans don't pay as much attention to the rest of the world as they should. But even if more Americans did start taking interest in the rest of the world, do you really think Canada would get more attention than Europe, Asia, or Mexico would (for the reasons listed above)?

Why should Americans pay more attention to Canada? We have existed beside each other since the two countries were established. Sure we have problems from time to time but the fact is that we are more alike than not and to understand each other is more a matter of understanding the politics of the two nations than anything involving individuals, IMHO.
 
Durry
+2
#4
I hate long posts, a good communicator can usually make his point in a couple of sentences.
 
Bar Sinister
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Durry View Post

I hate long posts, a good communicator can usually make his point in a couple of sentences.

No one forced you to read it.
 
taxslave
+1
#6
I'm not convinced that having Americans know more about us is a good thing.
 
Tonington
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Durry View Post

I hate long posts, a good communicator can usually make his point in a couple of sentences.

To be or not to be, the hell with the rest of those useless words, right?

A good communicator uses no more words than are necessary. A good communicator would understand that sometimes that requires many words. Don't blame others for your ADD.
 
damngrumpy
#8
The problem is most issues are not decided in a sentence or two and unfortunately we have too many
of those decisions that have come back to haunt us. Ronald Reagan is a prime example he kept a
simple idea so simple he dismantled America.
As for this topic, who ever said, I am not sure having Americans know more about Canada, is a good
thing. I think it was taxslave and you are right. We need to be quiet so Americans won't hear what a
great place Canada is. The already know, and a lot of young people at that, that is why they use the
Maple Leaf on their backpack while hitch hiking through Europe.
There are a lot of Canadians that know little or nothing about America as well.
 
Durry
-1
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

No one forced you to read it.

I didn't read it !!
 
Someone
#10
I agree that anonymity can be a good thing. I agree with you, Mowich, that Canada and the USA have such a shared history that it does deserve at least a little bit more attention than it gets from the USA. And I like Canada enough that I don't think it should be ignored. My point, however, was that if Americans were to pay more attention to the rest of the world, do you really think Canada would be more noticed than would Mexico, Europe, or Asia?

Sorry for my long post; in real life, I'm rather talkative, and I guess that shows here in my post. I just find it interesting that in all my visits to Canada and interactions with people from there, the US, by far, tends to be the country they pay the most attention to - often more than their countries of origin, if they are of recent immigrant origin, and even more than they do to Canada itself. So many of them seem to take more interest in politics and pop culture from the US than in the CBC or what's going on in Canadian Parliament. Other countries are somewhere in between, even for those of recent immigrant origin.

On the other hand, it's true that so many Americans don't care about other countries, but for those that do, Canada is rarely the country they notice the most. They're more likely to pay attention to Mexico, Europe, and Asia because of either immigrant background, global influence of and economic rivalry with European and Asian countries, or the fact that the US-Mexican border is the busiest border crossing in the world.
 
Ariadne
#11
I was sipping champagne in Paris in 1974. I met a girl from Chicago. I was young too. She asked me all about Canada. Because she had heard that most people use outhouses, she wanted to know what that was like. I finally told her that if I was drinking champagne with her in Paris, she should assume that my house had a toilet.

What can I say ... people from the US sometimes have some funny ideas. If only they would think them through!

Yes, that means that many people from the united States are oblivious to what goes on in another country until they bomb it, and only then are they interested in what they can loot. Fortunately, none of the outhouses in Canada have been looted or bombed by people from the United States.
 
Someone
#12
Yes, I do agree that too many people from the US have ridiculous ideas. As I have traveled Europe before with other tourists, I found that Americans were among the most annoying to be around. Although I see little relation between your post and my original point.
 
annabattler
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Someone View Post

Yes, I do agree that too many people from the US have ridiculous ideas. As I have traveled Europe before with other tourists, I found that Americans were among the most annoying to be around. Although I see little relation between your post and my original point.

As one American tourist to Canada once said to me..."Don't be upset if we Americans don't know much about you. We don't even know(or care) much about our neighbouring states.
 
The Old Medic
#14
I took World Geography in the 6th grade. That was in the 1954-1955 school year for me. I was already well aware of Canada, of the various Provinces in Canada, of their governmental system, and of much of it's history and customs long before that class.

You see, my father was born in Winnipeg, and I spent at least a portion of every summer visiting with my paternal grandfather and his 2nd wife in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and later in British Columbia. I did NOT realize that my father was a Canadian, because he hid that fact from everyone (he was an illegal immigrant to the USA).

But, my class, in the very small town of Ukiah, California, studied the majority of the countries of the world back in 1954-1955; studied their governmental systems, knew where they were in the world, and had a pretty good idea of their commerce, imports/exports, etc.

We ALL knew where Canada was located. And frankly, I do not believe those "polls" that claim to show that Americans are so ignorant of their neighbor to the North. You can easily slant a poll, by the way the questions are asked.

But frankly, Canada is of little importance to most Americans. It contains just about the same number of people as ONE of the 50 States does. It's economy is smaller than the economy of California. It has no significant military importance. There is nothing manufactured in Canada that can not be obtained elsewhere.

It does have vast natural resources, and those are needed (but once again, rarely is Canada the only source available). Canada's effect on the US economy if slight, at best.

So, to the average person living in the US, why should they really need to be aware of Canada? It is likely that many times more people know that Michael J. Fox is a Canadian, than would know the name of the Prime Minister.

And frankly, why would the vast majority of Canadians care whether Americans know much about Canada or not? To even be concerned about something like that is to display a severe inferiority complex.
 
EagleSmack
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by damngrumpy View Post

The already know, and a lot of young people at that, that is why they use the
Maple Leaf on their backpack while hitch hiking through Europe.
.

Myth.
 
Locutus
+3
#16
The average American citizen (that has not and will likely never come here) is under no obligation to know diddly about us. Why should they care? Any more than we care about Iceland.

Business and political leaders would be helped to know something about trading and dollar partners, sure.

Just because some Canadians (I'm among them) were taught American geography and/or history, doesn't mean the reverse should be expected. Hell, the toy army men I played with as a kid were green (American in my mind) and gray (Germans). Big deal. I didn't feel like a castrated Canadian after I grew up.

Our nation has a bit (or even a lot) of little brother relationship. We want to be noticed, be asked to play and such.

But all the folks south of 49 going about their work-a-day lives, have little time to wonder about a small population 'way up north'. We're good folks. Kinda goofy. Play hockey or whatever other stereotypes apply. I don't care. No matter how ignorant their perceptions may be. We're just as ignorant of them at times.

As long as they buy our stuff and keep making porn, I'm fine with them.
 
EagleSmack
+4
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Locutus View Post

The average American citizen (that has not and will likely never come here) is under no obligation to know diddly about us. Why should they care? Any more than we care about Iceland.

I often wonder that myself.

If us Yanks have an interest in Canada (like I do) then great. If not... big deal. I cannot wait to get back to Newfoundland and my youngest son has been bugging me to take him to Canada. Anywhere in Canada... he just wants to see Canada. My oldest son does not care either way. That doesn't make him a d*ck.
 
SLM
+5
#18  Top Rated Post
I really don't get this big "hate" for the USA. Par for the course I suppose, with the one brush, one colour crowd.

Let's be real here. If it wasn't for the US we'd all have to watch Canadian television shows. And nobody wants to do that.

Quote: Originally Posted by Locutus View Post

As long as they buy our stuff and keep making porn, I'm fine with them.

It's important to have priorities in life.
 
JLM
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington View Post

To be or not to be, the hell with the rest of those useless words, right?

A good communicator uses no more words than are necessary. A good communicator would understand that sometimes that requires many words. Don't blame others for your ADD.

The trick is to start the O.P. with as few salient words as possible to get people started reading and THEN expand on it as other ideas and opinions immerge!
 
Locutus
+2
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by SLM View Post

Let's be real here. If it wasn't for the US we'd all have to watch Canadian television shows. And nobody wants to do that.


I could tolerate Celebrity Chefs, Forest Rangers and Adventures in Rainbow Country.

Overdoses of anything since and I'd go mad.

Big Bang Theory makes me pee when I laugh now. God bless the USA.
 
SLM
+1
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by Locutus View Post

I could tolerate Celebrity Chefs, Forest Rangers and Adventures in Rainbow Country.

Overdoses of anything since and I'd go mad.

Big Bang Theory makes me pee when I laugh now. God bless the USA.

I grew up on, and in, Rainbow Country. I even got to meet the stars of the show one day when I was really little. My own little brush with celebrity, lol.
 
Bar Sinister
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Where have you been on this planet? You are blowing so much sunshine up your own ass yet it still doesn't even come close to enlightening your appendix.

It might have been useful if you had bothered to reply to some of the points in the thread instead of just trolling.
 
Cliffy
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Bar Sinister View Post

It might have been useful if you had bothered to reply to some of the points in the thread instead of just trolling.

The personal slight aside, it was a good string of words - a bit of a work of art.
 
Someone
#24
The Old Medic:

I would say your post is well-written. It's because I fell in love with Vancouver from my childhood/teenage visits there that I became interested in Canada, and wanted to see more from there. And for that matter, did get to see more and wasn't disappointed.

But if it weren't for the relatives in Vancouver that made it possible for me to fall in love with it, I wouldn't have gone there so much, nor would I have developed much of a personal connection to Canada. Instead, I would have been more interested in:

Philippines - family ties
Mexico - the other border
various countries all over Europe and Asia (growing up, I took interest in the UK because of British pop culture, Japan because of Japanese animation, and countries in Europe and Asia because I had friends from those places)


However, I do find it bland that American pop culture tends to be solely either American homegrown, or outside imports that eventually become American. I like variety.
 
EagleSmack
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by Someone View Post


However, I do find it bland that American pop culture tends to be solely either American homegrown,

That's typically how it works.

Quote:

or outside imports that eventually become American. I like variety.

You contradicted yourself.
 
wulfie68
#26
On one hand, it behooves Americans to know something about their largest trading partner and next door neighbour, but on the other that is their decision to make, and there are a LOT of Canadians who are ignorant of things south of the 49th, and we have more reason to be informed than they do...


p.s. Someone, you do realize that half of American pop culture is Canadian right? We've been taking their airwaves over for years and they haven't noticed...
 
EagleSmack
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by wulfie68 View Post


p.s. Someone, you do realize that half of American pop culture is Canadian right? We've been taking their airwaves over for years and they haven't noticed...

He seemed to have an issue with American pop culture being American or incorporated cultures from other nations.
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
+5
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by JLM View Post

The trick is to start the O.P. with as few salient words as possible to get people started reading and THEN expand on it as other ideas and opinions immerge!

Exactly. Here's an example.

I think that people in America would benefit from learning about Canada. I have a body decomposing in my basement. Mutual understanding will only strengthen our relationship. His name was Bob and he was my neighbor. Understanding will lead to trust. The bugger was always hassling me, wanting to borrow stuff. It should be pointed out that Canadians along with Americans have much to learn about each other. I dismembered him with a hatchet.

What do you think?
 
EagleSmack
+1
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_Soldier View Post

Exactly. Here's an example.

I think that people in America would benefit from learning about Canada. I have a body decomposing in my basement. Mutual understanding will only strengthen our relationship. His name was Bob and he was my neighbor. Understanding will lead to trust. The bugger was always hassling me, wanting to borrow stuff. It should be pointed out that Canadians along with Americans have much to learn about each other. I dismembered him with a hatchet.

What do you think ?

I don't know what to think but I sure am laughing.
 
SLM
+1
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_Soldier View Post

Exactly. Here's an example.

I think that people in America would benefit from learning about Canada. I have a body decomposing in my basement. Mutual understanding will only strengthen our relationship. His name was Bob and he was my neighbor. Understanding will lead to trust. The bugger was always hassling me, wanting to borrow stuff. It should be pointed out that Canadians along with Americans have much to learn about each other. I dismembered him with a hatchet.

What do you think?

Something in between laughter and fear actually.