america should learn

Some folks I know over at Nightingale’s Lamp have been chatting about this post on the web called Memos to Americans. Call me a hippy, call me a liberal, call me an anti-American, but I agree with a whole lot of the sentiments going on here. Here are my thoughts:

It’s funny… I didn’t see this post so much as bashing america, as bashing the things that come out of people’s mouths that actually make it a dangerous thing to say I’m american.

Not only that, but I see the growing droves of people who come back here to China due to a whole mountain of reasons.

Also… folks from all walks of life who do manage to come to America get grilled with all kinds of nastiness when they come to the US, even if they are only staying as students. The INS is not exactly the most friendly department, even for our Canadian neighbors.

Heck, at the moment I have to watch my step here as retaliation for screening Chinese folks so heavily, and my Chinese friends in the US can’t visit family why? nothing to do with the Chinese government this time. It’s because the US will hold them up before letting them back. Funny thing for folks working on things like cancer research, you’d think they’d be welcome.

One of the things I like about the post is that it reflects a little bit of a global perspective, and it echoes things I hear from folks from other countries, not just Americans. Why? Because we aren’t the only democrats, we aren’t the only “free” country, we aren’t the police, and we seldom see other people’s cultures within the US, nevermind the rest of the world. The US isn’t perfect, though many people get very hurt and very angry for believing some of the PR. The most angry anti-american non-americans I know are people who have lived in the US, people who have lots of personal experience to speak from, it’s hard not to listen to that.

It’s hard when this is added to questions from my students when they try to unravel conflicting historical information, and when they try to understand “modern english” in various news clips. Even my littlest students want to know what they did to be so “dangerous” and to stand so near to the “axis of evil.” Why? Because they don’t see anything else from US news. It takes a lot of effort to convince my students that Americans won’t think they’re dangerous on sight, and won’t shoot them with a gun, and that’s equally true for my students from grade 1 through university.

Love to hear folks’ thoughts on this one.

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