Cultural Ignorance

Discussion in 'SHH Community Forum' started by CConn, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    The shooting yesterday brought to my attention (for about the hundredth time), just how isolated Americans (and honestly, possibly most of the western world, depending on the country and culture) are.

    Because, while 20 children were murdered in Ct (which was absolutely horrible, of course), 22 Chinese elementary school students were stabbed the very same day in China (also absolutely horrible). Moreover, some 20+ children were stabbed to death during a killing spree in 2010 in China, and I honestly never would've heard of either event if not for a random tweet I happened upon yesterday. There's rarely, if any, news coverage about tragedies or events anywhere outside of America (or the Middle East, because that always makes for interesting news, apparently).

    This latent example of xenophobia was even further made evident today, when I happened upon an article talking about Mao Tse Tung being the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century - killing 4-5 times as many people as Hitler (Mao killed an estimated 49 million people between 1949-1969).

    But, again, ask any American who the most evil person ever is, and Hitler is all you'll ever hear. Or maybe Stalin. Or Osama Bin Laden. Or something like that.

    Admittedly, some of this ignorance may spring from China's own isolationist habits and beliefs, but the news is out there, the information is available, and it's very often ignored or passed by.

    Why is this? Do you think it's okay? Is it just a matter of things that happen in close proximity meaning more, or is it something that's really a flaw in our cultural and intellectual make up? Should it be something that should be changed?
     
  2. obin_gam Registered

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    *something something* education.
     
  3. Raoul Duke Registered

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    i think it's mainly because, if it doesn't involve america or it doesn't effect america... who cares? that's the attitude. why? i can't possibly say.
     
  4. Pink Ranger The North Remembers

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    If you ask any American, even a college graduate, what the worst act the Japanese committed during WW2, they'd say Pearl Harbor. :dry:

    It's a combination of several factors. Education is one; Americans simply aren't educated, at school or by the media, on Asian things. Isolation is another: Americans are less interested in anything occurring outside their own borders. The third is underlying racial sentiment: I'm not going to say "racism," as that's too strong, but I find many Americans and Canadians, of all other ethnicities, have a little bit more trouble seeing Asians (us Oriental people, specifically) as sympathetic, autonomous humans.

    I am of Chinese descent, and I know deep in my soul that every day I step out into the world, the world sees me as something less than a man. If I got shot in a random spree shooting at the mall, the news item would be on page 4 of tomorrow's paper and the headline would read Immigrant fails to dodge gunfire.
     
  5. Optimus_Prime_ Registered

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    Oh Mao is an incredible nutcase!

    My favorite of all the nutcases!

    Read about his "record swims". He used to claim he was a world class swimmer, like Michael Phelps, but he was fat, and all he'd do is have people take pictures of him floating in the water and then he'd send out all this propoganda about it.

    He was really out to lunch.

    Unfortunately for all those starving people.
     
  6. Pink Ranger The North Remembers

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    Mao Tse Tung could divide by zero, swim through land, and shoot down a fighter jet by pointing his finger at it and saying, "bang." :woot:
     
  7. Optimus_Prime_ Registered

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    I forget those two!:woot:
     
  8. Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    You could probably combine a few things. Education, mainstream media, people not really giving a ****. All lead to this type of situation. It's a tough thing to say in the wake of a tragedy like the one our nation experienced yesterday but the world doesn't stop turning because of it. There are other things out there happening in the world, I dare say some even more important as tough as that it is to fathom right now. But you'll turn on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC etc and all you will get today, tomorrow and for a few days is this. 20 children dead, 8 adults and nothing else.

    On an educational standpoint. In my experience, our educational system focuses on how things affected our country when it comes to History. If we had gone to war with China, you better believe our history text books would paint Mao as the most evil man ever. But since his actions had no direct effect on us, it's largely ignored. Of course there are World History classes and the such but the material covered is usually the most general aspects of historical events and people.

    Finally, some people just don't care. "That's over there in China, nothing I can do about it." is the attitude some have.
     
  9. chamber-music Infinity Ammo

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    The Chinese stabbing was a news story here in the UK. It wasn't a headline news story but it was featured on most the televison news stations and newspapers.

    The Chinese school stabbings are not getting anywhere near as much coverage as these U.S shootings but that may be down to China not being the most accessible country to western journalists.

    China has had alot of focus in Britain in recent years due to its ever increasing rise in power, wealth and influence. China gets more news coverage today than it got ten years ago.

    When I have been in the U.S I have been suprised at times by the lack of foreign news on certain networks. I think in certain parts of the country it might be very possible to go through your entire life and not hear or know anything which is going on in the rest of the world.

    The world is far more interconnected today than its ever been so it is somewhat important to have some understanding of the world in general.
     
    #9 chamber-music, Dec 15, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  10. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    Which is pretty terrible, IMO. Both in a humanist sense and an academic one. When it comes to life and death, there really should be no sense of "we" or "them". Not to rip off the founding fathers, but all men are created equal. Regardless of border or nation. Historically, IMO, that's how these things should be viewed.

    The other thing, obviously, that plays into it is the use of propaganda - which I actually agree with. There were massive amounts of anti-Hitler and Nazi propaganda - there had to be given the severity of WW2 - and I'm sure that tainted the general perception of him a lot.

    Lastly, I think everyone still is too based on ethic divisions and emotional connection. This may be a little politically incorrect to say, but I'm 100% sure one of the reasons WW2 and the Holocaust is still so heavily poplicized (don't get me wrong, I agree with it being highly publicized - it was an awful event) is due to the large amounts of Jewish born, descended, etc. in America and in highly influential positions as well. Conversely, other ethnic or religious minorities are a lot less well represented in the country, so many of their attroticies go largely ignored.

    Which, again, I believe is just a wholly outdated and non-rational way of looking at things. Rationally, logically, intellectually speaking, they're all of equal worth and value. And that concept is really something that sbould bs getting disseminated throughout the media as opposed to the continued emotion-based sensationalism that they've been subscribed to.
     
  11. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    Some of what you're saying plays into the scientific fact that people are naturally better able to distinguish facial features (and thusly look "more" human, I guess) of those from their own racial makeup than more "foreign" races, so I'm sure that does play into it a bit.

    But I will say, I truthfully believe your concept that you'd be seen as less than human if you were killed is more born from your imagination than anything soluble. I'm sure there were multiple races affected in Connecticut, Aroura, etc.
     
  12. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    Also. Just out of curiosity. What would you say was the worst thing they did? Nanking?
     
  13. chamber-music Infinity Ammo

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    emotion-based sensationalism sells sadly and the 'us vs them' mentality is an easy way to manipulate people by playing them off against one another.

    There is a certain level of xenophobia in every country unfortunately. Jingoistic rhetoric also creates a don't trust the foreigners ideology amongst certain sections of the population.

    The more of the world I have travelled in my lifetime the more I have seen that most people regardless or race, religion, gender, ect on most levels want the same things they just might have different ideas on how to go about it.

    Foreignness is all relative.
     
  14. Optimus_Prime_ Registered

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    I watch/listen to Al-Jazeera, and getting a different perspective is very illuminating.
     
  15. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    Oh no, I'm aware and I agree entirely.

    I'm just saying that the intelligent people who can see beyond all of that base thinking should be more vocal in conveying a more civilized way of thinking.
     
  16. Optimus_Prime_ Registered

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    I'm not even sure I care for the soldier distinction. Oh, what, soldier doesn't have a wife and kids? Doesn't have his whole life ahead of him? Dying for his country, he thinks.

    One of the funny things is even in WWII we were committing atrocities a lot, but of course no internet so in the states all they would hear about is Nazis getting killed.

    That's why Vietnam was such a wake up call for many.

    To me death is death.
     
  17. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    Hah. Vietnam was an embarrassment as it kind of showed that Americans had absolutely no academic, intellectual or emotional clue of what war is. It honestly angers me that the children of WW2 vets could've been that dense.
     
  18. Spider-Who? ERMERGERD!

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    Apparently no one here reads world news. It's out there. Just because your local news chooses to focus on it's first few pages on events that happen in this country, or that every other headline isn't about another country does not make it xenophobic. It's absolutely natural and expected to focus on events that transpire in one's own country. The fact that it happens in the US isn't some rare thing that offers evidence of self-importance or ignorance. In terms of education, the Western World focuses on Western World history because it's applicable. Though I will agree that schools should be more broad in it's history lessons,I do not think what they do not teach is automatically a cause for claims of xenophobia -
     
  19. Pink Ranger The North Remembers

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    Nanking ranks upwards on the list, I will give you that. When it comes to the Japanese attacking other Asian people, it's really hard to come up with a definitive worst-of example. though.
     
  20. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    The racist hierarchy of Asian races really is amazing to me. How the Koreans think they're better than the Chinese, and the Japanese think they're better than everybody, etc.

    What was even more shocking to me was how - as a white American - when asked to describe the differences in facial features of Japanese and Chinese, the first thing I thought was that the Japanese looked more Regal, while the Chinese looked more weathered, and working class.

    To realize that that centuries-old Asia-based racism had subliminally carried over into America and my own mind was pretty incredible. In a bad way, of course.
     
  21. E-Man Cooler than your daddy.

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    Aww man. You mentioned Hitler and said that somebody killed more people than him. Somebody is going to come in this thread and focus on that and how you don't care about the Holocaust and all kinds of ****.
     
  22. Pink Ranger The North Remembers

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    Lol, everyone in Asia dislikes the Chinese right now, but not for the reasons you might think. The Chinese are perceived a lot like Americans stereotypically have been in Europe; loud, obnoxious with lots of money to throw around, and ignorant in defiance of local customs and culture.
     
  23. CConn Fountainhead of culture.

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    And here America is just hating them because they're filthy commies. :o
     
  24. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    On Hitler and Mao, it's very different, for several reasons. Mao's crimes for the most part remained in China, often in rural areas. Much of the mass killings were done locally. Much of it went unreported. Reports were slow to come out, and the rest of the world wasn't particularly interested in China.

    Hitler tried to conquer the world in super-villain-fashion. The Nazis set up a transcontinental industry for genocide. All of which they documented quite well. Thanks to the aftermath of World War II, the world learned of their crimes.

    The world lived through what Hitler did. Only the Chinese lived through Mao. Not to mention that the Nazis obviously fell from power. China is still ruled by communists, who pay lip service to Mao's ideologies.
     
  25. Fading ---

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    Heck, most of the populace doesn't even seem to read their own local or national news. I'm not going to fault ppl for not being more world weary. Life can be pretty hectic sometimes, and it can be hard to justify spending time looking for news on daily world events. In fact, I'd be hypocrtical if I did since I don't follow world news either (though I do follow a lot of US politics).

    I would be happier though if so many in this country didn't hold a view that all things not American are bad, and treat nations like football teams. I'm a fan of anime, and manga. Given the typical answer you get in real life if you even mention anime, "You mean those pokemanz, and yugiuh crap?". I don't even try to explain that a lot have good stories, character and plot development, ect. I usually just shrug, and say that I enjoy it if it comes up, no further elaborating.

    There are plenty of other cultures around the world I find interesting, and other countries would like to visit. It's an odd thought to me that someone would want to shut themselves off from the world outsides their border, and boycott or frown on anything not homegrown. We're a part of this world, and other countries problems do affect us whether we like it or not.
     

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