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Author Topic: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History  (Read 10153 times)

Offline Hot6^

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #40 on: September 19, 2014, 03:33:05 PM »
I've noticed that people only get upset when Americans don't know their politicians or history. Is it because everyone knows our president but we don't know their's? Maybe that's why people get upset? By saying that knowledge of a country is related to its relevance, it implies that the US is more relevant than other countries. I don't know...I don't really care. Knowledge is wonderful but useless knowledge won't do me any good. What would knowing about Scotland's politics actually do for me? Perhaps mold me as a person and give me a wider worldview? I don't know...I'm just waiting for 5:00. I guess I should brush up on Scotland...it's what everyone's going to be talking about tonight over drinks...wouldn't want to look like a dumb American. okay bye

Or it could be what no one is talking about over drinks hahahahha.
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Offline jwharrison30

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #41 on: September 19, 2014, 03:33:58 PM »
To jw:

I stared the thread as a response to what appears to be yet another opportunity for non-Americans to openly ridicule Americans' lack of knowledge about a particular subject. As I'm sure you'll agree, the open and unapologetic ridicule of Americans is a province of discourse reserved for Americans.

Seriously, though, I am deeply critical of my home country as I would likely be about any place I had a vested interest in. I like to be rational, though. I try to parse the hype from the substance and criticise at a level that actually opens a dialogue as opposed to name calling and generalising. I hope many people here would agree that it's possible to be critical and honest about a place without completely throwing it under the bus. Unfortunately, what I see quite often is a giddy enthusiasm on the part of non-Americans to do just that.

I would make the same arguments in favour of any people who found themselves being cast unfairly in a negative light. None of us is a stranger to Korea-bashing on here and it's just as inappropriate. Constructive dialogue (or at least interesting dialogue) should be held on a higher plane. I've met numerous Korean people whose entire concept of the United States seems to have been gleaned from a Lady Gaga music video. I don't interpret that as a reflection of their intelligence, but a reflection of their priorities. Those same people likely know infinitely more than me about Japan, China, and obviously Korea. Because they don't know (or particularly care) about a place that is important to ME, I can not just write them off as ignorant or arrogant. I certainly wouldn't walk around expecting every Korean to know the intricacies of any one political issue that doesn't immediately impact their lives.

The fact that most (or close to all) Koreans don't know a ton about your country may say more about the relevance of your country than it says about the Korean people.

Hmmm really? That's why the whole world watches to see what president gets elected in the United Sates, and many countries around the world know something about their political platforms.
Oh wait, that's interesting, most of the world could give crap about other global politics etc... (except wars and whos on whos side.)

Seriously... just stop trying to argue semantics.

I just took what he said in his original post and swapped "americans" with "koreans" to show how retarded this argument is.

Offline jwharrison30

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #42 on: September 19, 2014, 03:37:51 PM »
It's sadly true that America is no stranger to clumsily conquering a place without putting a lot of effort into learning about the people already there. That's an unavoidable reality. One of the results of that sort of relationship is one side knowing a LOT about the other and another not really knowing or caring about the other side. To varying degrees, I'd say this is the case for pop-culture, politics, and some other things. As one person mentioned above, most places in the world do have some general awareness or even intimate knowledge of America, while Americans may not even be able to point that place out on a map. Unfortunately, the poplar musical and artistic styles of Turkmenistan have not permeated the global consciousness as deeply as jazz and rock and roll.

I don't think it's realistic to expect a perfectly reciprocal degree of understanding from every international relationship. The next president of the US matters a lot more to ordinary Liberians than the next president of Liberia matters to ordinary Americans.

I think it is sadder that you made this thread because other people were talking about events in another country.

How dare people not talk about America!

Offline country09

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #43 on: September 19, 2014, 03:39:25 PM »
I mentioned in the other article, about the vote, how stupid I felt about not knowing much about the UK when the whole Scotland vote was going on. Does that mean I am literally stupid?(don't answer that) I think it just means I have not spent time thinking about those issues. You know what is awesome about the world today? Instead of people bickering about what we should know, how about we use the internet to find this stuff out. I actually looked up Djibouti politics. Why? No reason other than knowledge is power and I think they have a cool country name.

Offline philby1985

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #44 on: September 19, 2014, 04:36:02 PM »
On average, I don't think Americans are any more or less knowledgeable about the world than people from other developed countries. I think Americans get a bad rap for a couple of reasons.

1) Americans have a reputation of being loud and outspoken (I’m not saying all Americans are loud and outspoken). If you are going to be loud and outspoken, make sure you know what it is you are talking about otherwise it only (if you are American) perpetuate the stereotype that Americans are dumb.

2) There are a lot of Americans which means you are more likely to bump into one when you travel and therefore more likely to bump into a **** that likes to pretend he/she knows everything.

3) America is the last superpower of a bygone era and has found/put themselves in the position of being the “world police” and project their power to all corners of the globe via a huge military. If America is going to interfere with other countries, I don’t think it is surprising that people expect America (and by extension, Americans) to have a sound knowledge of the globe.

Offline CanineKimchi

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #45 on: September 19, 2014, 04:49:29 PM »
For the record, I am American (not that it has anything to do with the point I'm hoping to make).

I always find it a little peculiar when citizens of certain nations criticize Americans for their apparent lack of knowledge regarding the history of a given nation.  As a life-long learner and lover of knowledge, I do NOT support apathy or ignorance as a lifestyle and I think everyone should embrace the joys of digesting as much information as possible.

BUT

The fact that most (or close to all) Americans don't know a ton about your country may say more about the relevance of your country than it says about the American people.

How much can you tell me, off the top of your head, about... Moldova? How about Djibouti? Even Belarus... That's a decent sized country and population with as much an interesting history as anyone else. 

When people say things like, "Americans don't know anything about my country apart from what they saw in a movie", I can't help but think about someone walking into a department store and shouting, "Don't you know who I am?!?"  No.  We don't.  Until the moment you started shouting, we never had an occasion to even think about your existence. 

How often do you think about the history and politics of Kansas?

It's not (entirely) a matter of American ignorance and stupidity.  People have their own lives full of personal concerns.  Most people have a cocktail of global concerns that may or may not include you or your country. 

I don't know enough about Scotland to write more than a single page, but I'm not particularly embarrassed about that.  Every Scottish person I have ever met has been awesome, friendly, intelligent, worldly, and kind.  I haven't met that many, but still.  I have no ill feelings toward Scotland and I'm sure it's a beautiful place full of colorful people, rich culture, gorgeous landscapes, proud elders, and diverse opinions and views.

The fact that Scotland is now going through something very important does NOT mean that all Americans should have been preparing their knowledge base in the years leading up to this point.  I'll be the first to admit that there are innumerable stupid and complacent Americans, but I'd be curious to visit the country of which that could not be said.

I'm just surprised he's proselytizing about knowledge and not his diet

Offline GoCyclones

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #46 on: September 19, 2014, 05:37:01 PM »
Another thread started by a stupid idiot.

Looks like Dave's had another purging, and the idiots have wound up here until their new ID's clear over there.

Really, why should American's give a flying ___ about studying in-depth about Scotland, Ireland, the UK, or anywhere, unless they want to?  Really, who gives a ___   _____?

Offline EvilToast

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #47 on: September 19, 2014, 05:42:27 PM »
I've met people of many nationalities, including Americans, who don't know much about my country or Faith, for example. It really doesn't bother me, at all. What does bother me, is when people still decide to form opinions about my nationality, or Faith, despite their complete ignorance.

Offline MonsoonPepper

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #48 on: September 19, 2014, 07:05:48 PM »
I've met people of many nationalities, including Americans, who don't know much about my country or Faith, for example. It really doesn't bother me, at all. What does bother me, is when people still decide to form opinions about my nationality, or Faith, despite their complete ignorance.

I agree. If someone, no matter what country they come from, push their opinions of my country/faith/race/gender onto me, they better know what they are talking about. And then, they still need to be open to new knowledge. It's always better to not talk about something you don't know, and just listen and learn from the people who do. Your opinion as an outsider is NEVER more important than an insider's perspective.

Online MayorHaggar

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #49 on: September 19, 2014, 09:23:52 PM »
Something most people, including Americans,  don't get about the US is how goddamn many of us there are. 300 million! That's more than all the other English-speaking countries on the planet put together. So anyone who starts sentences with "all Americans always..." is a moron. I could get the point of making stereotypes about people from a small country like New Zealand, or New York City, but a giant country of 300 million people? For Pete's sake. And we Americans all hate one another and can never agree on anything, anyway. Ask 100 Americans a question and you'll get 100 different answers.

Offline oatmealkooky

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #50 on: September 19, 2014, 09:38:52 PM »
What does bother me, is when people still decide to form opinions about my nationality, or Faith, despite their complete ignorance.

Who?

Offline Vintorez

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #51 on: September 20, 2014, 04:30:29 PM »
Something most people, including Americans,  don't get about the US is how goddamn many of us there are. 300 million! That's more than all the other English-speaking countries on the planet put together. So anyone who starts sentences with "all Americans always..." is a moron. I could get the point of making stereotypes about people from a small country like New Zealand, or New York City, but a giant country of 300 million people? For Pete's sake. And we Americans all hate one another and can never agree on anything, anyway. Ask 100 Americans a question and you'll get 100 different answers.

You are saying people shouldnt be stereotypical about the US but then you say for small countries its OK because they are less people?? Thats complete BS and you should now it.
The percentage of idiots in a country with less people then the US wont be much more or less than in the US...

I guess im one of not many non-native speakers in this forum. In my country there are less than 9 million people which makes us "unimportant" when it comes to other people in this thread...


Offline waygo0k

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #52 on: September 20, 2014, 04:37:23 PM »
Something most people, including Americans,  don't get about the US is how goddamn many of us there are. 300 million! That's more than all the other English-speaking countries on the planet put together. So anyone who starts sentences with "all Americans always..." is a moron. I could get the point of making stereotypes about people from a small country like New Zealand, or New York City, but a giant country of 300 million people? For Pete's sake. And we Americans all hate one another and can never agree on anything, anyway. Ask 100 Americans a question and you'll get 100 different answers.

You are saying people shouldnt be stereotypical about the US but then you say for small countries its OK because they are less people?? Thats complete BS and you should now it.
The percentage of idiots in a country with less people then the US wont be much more or less than in the US...

I guess im one of not many non-native speakers in this forum. In my country there are less than 9 million people which makes us "unimportant" when it comes to other people in this thread...


Offline Mr C

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #53 on: September 20, 2014, 05:02:57 PM »
Scotland's relevance is not just for exports like the fifteen (or whatever) Presidents mentioned.


Offline BigEaredHylian

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #54 on: September 22, 2014, 11:42:37 AM »
As a former vegan I laughed when I read your comment.

Offline lee233

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #55 on: September 22, 2014, 12:42:16 PM »
Something most people, including Americans,  don't get about the US is how goddamn many of us there are. 300 million! That's more than all the other English-speaking countries on the planet put together. So anyone who starts sentences with "all Americans always..." is a moron. I could get the point of making stereotypes about people from a small country like New Zealand, or New York City, but a giant country of 300 million people? For Pete's sake. And we Americans all hate one another and can never agree on anything, anyway. Ask 100 Americans a question and you'll get 100 different answers.

You are saying people shouldnt be stereotypical about the US but then you say for small countries its OK because they are less people?? Thats complete BS and you should now it.
The percentage of idiots in a country with less people then the US wont be much more or less than in the US...

I guess im one of not many non-native speakers in this forum. In my country there are less than 9 million people which makes us "unimportant" when it comes to other people in this thread...

I think you missed his point. He isn't saying stereotyping is isn't allowed, he is just saying once trying to stereotype a country with almost third of a billion people from myriad of different ethnic backgrounds with almost every climate type on earth is hardly successful. Almost every stereotype you come up with dealing with all the citizens of the US doesn't apply to literally tens of millions of people. Now if you take it in smaller chunks as in cities, states, or regions it is much more applicable, and due to the size of our country some of those said cities, states, and regions are the same size if not larger then many different countries.  Even with all this being said, stereotypes remain stereotypes. They are not the true, factual, be all end all definition of a country, place or people. They are just generally held thoughts about a place.

Now for the usage of the word unimportant. Each country has it's influence on the the world, but some most certainly have less. If country A has little impact or interaction with country B, what is the motivation of the citizens of country B try to learn about country A instead of one of the almost 300 other countries in the world? There is none. Some countries are bigger and more powerful then others, to deny that fact is to deny the truth, but just because a country is more powerful today, does not mean it will be so tomorrow. Look at Korea, it started as one of the poorest war torn countries and in less then 50 years it turned into one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Also just because a country isn't the most influential doesn't take away from any of it's past accomplishments, or it's proud history. Personally I think you should focus on the citizens, I mean just because a country is bigger does not mean it's citizens are any more important in the big scheme of things. In the scientific world, sports world, and economic world it doesn't matter where you are from, it matters what you are able to accomplish.

Whelp, that was my two dollars on the topic.
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Offline CanineKimchi

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Re: American's Knowledge of World Affairs and History
« Reply #56 on: October 01, 2014, 08:33:06 PM »


I'm just surprised he's proselytizing about knowledge and not his diet

I wonder what you think 'proselytizing' means and if your intellect is really at the level of attempting to discredit a person's character rather than addressing their points or if you are just a troll.

I think it means promoting a belief. Is your intellect really at the level of attempting to deny this
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 08:54:15 PM by CanineKimchi »