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Thread: Criticizing foreign cultures = Taboo. Why?

  1. #1 Criticizing foreign cultures = Taboo. Why? 
    Time Lord
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    What is this fear of making observations about someone else's culture? Why are we making it that sacred?

    I've totally given up criticizing Mexican culture, even though I'm familiar with it to the point of speaking Spanish fluently, and reading quite a number of contemporary and historical authors attempting to articulate the culture's values, plus direct interaction with the immigrant community spanning 2 years. ... But for some reason, it seems that no matter how much you know, it's never enough to criticize. For that, you actually have to be a member of the community. (Like I would ever want to be a member of that God-forsaken community. :-p )

    Must every culture self denigrate? Is there no room for criticism from the outside? If I wanted to speak ill of American culture, nobody would say I was out of my depth, or get all upset about it, or call me a meat head.

    I must ask epistemologically: Is any culture's self denigration adequate? Can we reasonably hope to see our own failings from within, without outside criticism? But... people are so frightened it will become xenophobia, they don't seem to care. Better we live on in blissful optimism than take the smallest chance we might say something unfairly critical, or allow anyone else to.

    I think that if we go without criticizing each other, that breaks down communication just as much as if we refused to offer each other praise. Let the communication break down far enough, and we'll end up shooting each other over things we might have discussed instead.


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  3. #2 Re: Criticizing foreign cultures = Taboo. Why? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    For that, you actually have to be a member of the community. (Like I would ever want to be a member of that God-forsaken community. :-p )
    That might have been a little too much, and the tongue sticking out doesn't guarantee that people will know that I'm kidding. The truth is I think most cultures have potential, but a lot of what we think of as cultural understanding is tradition, often carried over from times when a different technology prevailed. In such cases those traditions will be perfectly useless, and may serve as barriers to the emergence of practices which are more adapted to present technology.

    I don't think there is room for cultures that don't want to become modern. They'll constantly run into economic problems, and then expect the industrialized world to fix it for them. Children growing up in those communities will wonder why they aren't privileged to have all the same possessions as children growing up in industrialized societies have. It will seem like an injustice, but an unmodern culture that doesn't produce very much can't reasonably expect to possess very much.

    Where this will be felt the most is when it comes to medical care. By staying steeped in tradition, you give up more than just the opportunity to own a TV set, or Nintendo DS. Educating doctors costs a lot of money. Those doctors are likely going to expect to be well compensated, and only an industrialized society has anything valuable enough to offer them.


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  4. #3 Re: Criticizing foreign cultures = Taboo. Why? 
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    What is this fear of making observations about someone else's culture?
    Probably because generalizations are always wrong, including this one.
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    kojax

    I assume you are American??

    I am not. If I were to launch into a criticism of American culture, how would that make you feel? Especially if that criticism were intense. I could, of course, because every culture has good and bad. If I ignored the good in US culture, I could easily deliver a vitriolic criticism.

    Of course, you could do the same to my culture. Probably with equal justification. And I doubt that would make us friends!
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Of course, you could do the same to my culture. Probably with equal justification. And I doubt that would make us friends!
    That answers the question.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    kojax

    I assume you are American??.......
    American ?
    I think that kojax is at the least an US-american.

    True Americans, descend directly from all those native cultures that once and still lived in the continent otherwise known as America, which was discovered by Americo Vespucci who gave his name to the new continent, that was found accidentally by Cristopher Columbus when he thought that he was at the west indies (Asia) in 1492.

    The new American culture involves the mixing of the cultures of the natives plus all of those who came from Europe to conquer and colonize it, by mixing themselves and those are refered to Spaniards, Portugese and some Italians. What happened in North America, only at the Eastern coast, wasn`t a mixing with the natives, but a destruction and exile from the original natives of their land, in order to colonize the new land with the former european cultures that constituted the pilgrims, which is very much different than what happened in the rest of the continent.

    So if someone is going to refer to the Mexican culture, they`ll be closer to say as they are analizing the American culture, since in Mexico happened what was like the rest of the American continent, not in the USA, where even nowdays the rest of the remains of its former natives have been outcasted or restricted to certain areas within the country into "Indian Reservs", who by fact are really Americans, not the rest of its inhabitants. (Xenophobia ?,.... no my friend, only truth and sometimes the truth isn`t pleasing to hear).

    I am American too, from South America, specifically from Chile.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Ya because native cultures do so well in the mountains of the Andes where they live in 3rd world conditions

    Moreover, the way you talk about reserves makes me think you picture them as walled off prisons. A reserve is simply land where natives who live there are not required to pay taxes or submit to state/provincial law. Furthermore, most native activist groups today see the retention of the reserves as vital to preventing the complete destruction of native culture through cultural assimilation.

    And really, very different from what happened elsewhere? Mid 19th century USA pursues a military campaign against the natives to expand into native land... Mid 19th century Chile pursues a military campaign against natives to expand into native land... so very different.

    There are even less surviving natives in Argentina and Brazil than there are in the USA.

    It's nonsense to say that the Americans were specially cruel in their domination of aboriginal populations. Moreover, it stinks of spin when someone tries to present cultural domination as somehow superior to military domination and segregation. Most people in Mexico are Catholic and speak Spanish no matter what their genetic heritage. Even a country like Peru with a huge native population continue to mistreat their aboriginal populations.
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  9. #8  
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    tired and sleepy.

    Wrong is wrong. What happened in the USA in relation to its native peoples was wrong. Attacking other nations for doing the same does not change that.

    In my own country (New Zealand) we began with a treaty with the native peoples, which we promptly broke, to confiscate land. We are now in a process to compensate the descendents of those who were victims. This compensation will cost the nation a large percentage of GDP, but is necessary.

    At no time, however, were our native peoples ever regarded as less than equals under the law. New Zealand is not lily white, but has a record probably much better than most other nations that began as western colonies.

    The USA has improved its approach to its native peoples in the last few decades, and their lot is far better than it was. For this, I say : "well done!" However, it would be well for Americans to remember their history.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman Rickdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    ......

    Wrong is wrong. What happened in the USA in relation to its native peoples was wrong. Attacking other nations for doing the same does not change that.
    Beautiful my friend, you got a very good point here. I applaude your post. 8)

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Ya because native cultures do so well in the mountains of the Andes where they live in 3rd world conditions
    Correction, unfortunately we still all, are 3rd world here at the South of the USA, the rest of America. Improving, but still 3rd world American countries.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    A reserve is simply land where natives who live there are not required to pay taxes or submit to state/provincial law. Furthermore, most native activist groups today see the retention of the reserves as vital to preventing the complete destruction of native culture through cultural assimilation.
    Oh yes. The reserves where the best land for agriculture and full of hunting species, so the natives were very happy to go to them, not considering that they had to leave their ancestral territories. Geronimo must have been very crazy to initiate a revolt at the time. Probably the same natives pacified him. I imagine that Mr. Leonard Peltier and the members of the AIM (american indian movement), are among those "happy" activists.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    And really, very different from what happened elsewhere? Mid 19th century USA pursues a military campaign against the natives to expand into native land... Mid 19th century Chile pursues a military campaign against natives to expand into native land... so very different.
    In the USA the natives were outcasted by force from their original territories and sent to harsh land which was called an "indian reserve". In Chile, through force and after battling the Mapuches, there was established an agreement by which the natives promised to not continue their attacks over forts and cities, and the Chilean government promised to never attack them in reprisal, the mapuches remained in their ancestral territory, even as in the present, agreement that still remains to nowdays. I don`t know, to me is very different.

    About the rest of your post, I`m not so sure that there is less natives as in the USA, since most of them have been assimilated by the rest of the country, by continued interaction with them throughout the years, but their ancestral culture still remains. Now if your refering yourself to "pure breed natives", then you are probably right.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    tired and sleepy.

    Wrong is wrong. What happened in the USA in relation to its native peoples was wrong. Attacking other nations for doing the same does not change that.
    I agree, but it wasn't my intention to imply that the wrongdoing of European colonialism didn't exist. My intention was to attack the obvious attempt by Rick to place South American states in a position of moral superiority to the USA in regards to native rights.

    For Rick:

    As to comparing the reserves as they were when natives were forcefully relocated, and what they are today is absurd. Moreover, if you read what I wrote more closely you would see that I said "native activist today" support the retention of those reserves. Those reserves stand as a last bastion where natives have some form of political control and are not the prison camps today that you would make them out to be.
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  12. #11  
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    The Kiwi has the moral high ground.

    Maoris retained respect because they did engage settlers in warfare... or more accurately: they engaged not so much the ordinary settlers as the foreign army. I think the relative lack of cultural xenophobia from either side, coupled with transparent political assertion, kept the conflict from growing very asymmetrical. Neither nation fell into a bad spiral of exterminating savages, on one hand, or retreating from the changing world, on the other.

    Meanwhile on the BC coast, same time and same British colonists, conflict was over largely incompatible economic systems. And crippling an economy does genocide more completely than a Gatling gun. The Native economy was based on migration of entire villages between seasonal resources. As well each tribe specialized in particular manufactured goods or resources, and depended on a complex trade network spanning over 500km of coastline. When settlers came in, they found the coast dotted with strategically situated ghost towns, "up for grabs" apparently - that were in fact seasonally unoccupied villages. The settlers moved into these spacious vacant houses and warehouses to equip sawmills, whaling stations, etc. operating year-round. A returning tribe would promptly U-turn when they found their 2nd or 3rd homes occupied. Then they'd have to cancel trade agreements and make do with a pared-down sedentary existence. The effect on Native economy was like knocking one leg out from under a table. And so long as Natives tried to continue their traditional migratory lifestyle, settlers peacefully claimed town after town, ratchet-fashion.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  13. #12 Re: Criticizing foreign cultures = Taboo. Why? 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Of course there's no taboo about criticizing other cultures. What might be a more pertinent question is why do people sometimes get angry when aspects of their culture are criticized.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    .... My intention was to attack the obvious attempt by Rick to place South American states in a position of moral superiority to the USA in regards to native rights.
    My friend, I never intended to place our reality above yours in no way. I only wanted to establish that when you are refering yourselves as Americans in despite of Mexicans, you aren`t being objective. Mexicans, as the rest of America are Americans too. I also tried to explain the origins of our continents cultures, and talked about the difference within the USA and the rest, and in regards to our discoverers and conquerors, if someone should be called Americans, its the rest of us, Mexico included. Despite of this explanation, at the end, Americans are all of those who live in America (North, Central and South), so by saying that Kojax is American, you are not being so specific, are you ?


    Of course I understand your point, that the reserves of today aren`t what they first were, but I also understand the natives worry, that they can loose their reserves in the coming future, and they`ll struggle in any way they can to preserve the last remains of their culture. That was the original inttention of the AIM (also native activists), who by the creation of a dependent state within the USA, they could achieve their subsistence in the future. Btw, their claim still stands with the creation of the Republic of Lakota and their struggle to liberate Mr. Leonard Peltier, who is still in a Federal prison waiting for a trial, after more than 30 years, after being accused and declared guilty, without trial (kind of like a Nelson Mandela, during Appartheid in South Africa).
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  15. #14  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    I am not from the USA.

    Also, they are Americans because they are from the United States of America. They certainly aren't United Statesians, it isn't cultural insensitivity to call them Americans, it's simply the nature of the English language.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    What is this fear of making observations about someone else's culture?
    Probably because generalizations are always wrong, including this one.
    Generalizations are always less than 100% accurate. The difference between hitting the bull's eye and hitting the outer edge of a target is not the same as the difference between hitting the bull's eye and and being off by 180 degrees.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rickdog
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    kojax

    I assume you are American??.......
    American ?
    I think that kojax is at the least an US-american.

    True Americans, descend directly from all those native cultures that once and still lived in the continent otherwise known as America, which was discovered by Americo Vespucci who gave his name to the new continent, that was found accidentally by Cristopher Columbus when he thought that he was at the west indies (Asia) in 1492.
    That makes them natives to the landmass where the USA currently resides, but not natives to the institution that is the USA. The institution is the more important part. If that institution were located on another land mass, it would still be fundamentally the same country. However, the opposite is not true. Keep the landmass the same, but change the institution, and it would be a fundamentally different country.

    Imagine what it would be like to live in California if it were still owned by Mexico.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    kojax

    I assume you are American??

    I am not. If I were to launch into a criticism of American culture, how would that make you feel? Especially if that criticism were intense. I could, of course, because every culture has good and bad. If I ignored the good in US culture, I could easily deliver a vitriolic criticism.

    Of course, you could do the same to my culture. Probably with equal justification. And I doubt that would make us friends!
    Why would I not be your friend over it? If your criticisms are accurate, and maybe even insightful, then the stupidest thing I could ever do is refuse to hear them. Is unpleasant reality not to be preferred over blindness?
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  17. #16  
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    kojax

    If you are one of those very rare, and enormously admirable people, who can hear themselves, their spouses, their family, or their country, roundly criticized, and treat it purely as a learning experience, then I take my hat off to you.

    A person like that is to be admired, not just for his/her virtue, but also for the rarity factor!
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    ........ they are Americans because they are from the United States of America.
    ............... it's simply the nature of the English language.
    You got that correct, it is simply the nature of the English language. :wink:


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    That makes them natives to the landmass where the USA currently resides, but not natives to the institution that is the USA. The institution is the more important part. If that institution were located on another land mass, it would still be fundamentally the same country. However, the opposite is not true. Keep the landmass the same, but change the institution, and it would be a fundamentally different country.

    Imagine what it would be like to live in California if it were still owned by Mexico.
    They would be Mexican`s, but still Americans as they have always been, since the 16th century when Americo Vespucci discovered America, by naming the "new land" after his name.

    If you are not aware, you should know that Mexico is officially known as "Mexican United States" (translated from Spanish : "Estados Unidos Mexicanos" ), but that doesn`t mean that both countries are the same, for sharing words as "united" and the word "states". At the end, to make the story short, they are both, Americans.

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  19. #18  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    It is not taboo to criticize other cultures, it happens all the time, and seems to be very important in developing a sense of loyalty amongst many cultures to express that you are disloyal to other cultures through insults and criticism of others, while not critiquing one's own. This is the philosopher's struggle, how to share one's criticism in a way that doesn't shut people's eyes and ears more than they already are.

    I think it's just unwise to criticize others, depending on who you are and who you are criticizing, and the nature of the criticism, because then wars and major conflicts are started. Also, if individuals in your culture disagree with your criticism of other cultures then a divide may occur, making your culture weaker, and possibly strengthening the culture you disagree with.

    There are many layers to politics that may make something not commonly publicized because it's frankly stupid or counter productive to one's goals, but is nonetheless totally acceptable, and there are many cultures that succeed in their criticism of others.

    many cultures with differing religious, spiritual, philosophical points of view criticize one another, if not in public debates, in private and in their teachings

    certain cultures with different political points of view criticize each other, and it makes the country stronger(if you don't know your opponents argument, how can you fully know your own?)

    different cultures who share an equally contested natural resource will likely eventually, as time goes on, question the other's right to it, and criticize the other's humanity as they care not for what is right.

    people in power critices those they lead, and people without power criticise those who lead them



    another point worthy of noting is that "culture" can mean a variety of things, I'm sure you mean national cultures, or something like that. But there are socio economic cultures within national boundaries, and beyond them as well; there are a variety of sub cultures, each one a culture of their own. And humanity can be considered one macro culture, since we share similarities with how we live and think.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    You're the one implying the Americans don't have the right to refer to themselves as "American", when clearly it is the most logical word to call them considering the name of their country. I don't think anyone is arguing that no one else can call themselves American in a continental sense, but it is largely a meaningless denotation. There is no unified identifiable "Americaness" of the cultures of the American continents. Even if you wanted to talk about natives, most have no interest in claiming the title of "original Americans" but would rather speak about the names of their previous tribes/states/cultures.

    Arguably there is a shared cultural experience amongst the Spanish colonies, although I think Argentina is very different from most. What about former French, Portuguese, and English colonies? The cultural experiences and history of Canada is different from the USA, which is in turn different from Mexico. Can you really pinpoint a definable, meaningful reason for blanketing everyone under the term of "American" with more than geographic reasons.

    At least, with the United States when we refer to Americans we are speaking of an identifiable cultural heritage and group.
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    “Criticizing foreign cultures”, sounds really strange to me.
    All about cultures are only feelings. I don't think any culture can be completely good or bad. Success or fail are all the surface.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I don't think there is room for cultures that don't want to become modern.
    Modern(or not) is not depend on your own criteria. If you 'criticize' so simply, maybe the 'no-modern' culture will take you just as their 'no-modern' mirror.
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    Marcusclayman, my friend, Imho, I think you`ve hit the "bulls eye" with your post about the topic. I sincerely applaude it. :wink:

    I_feel_tiredsleepy, my friend. The people who live in the USA have the complete right to call themselves as Americans, since they are.

    What I am trying to say, is that everybody who lives in this continent is American too, and when you refer to US citizens in regards to Mexican citizens for example, you can`t call neither one as Americans, since they both are Americans.
    When you ask me for a true "definable, meaningful reason for blanketing everyone under the term of "American" with more than geographic reasons", all that I can tell you, is that most of the people who live in this continent, despite of their origin (English, Spanish, Portugese, French or others who came afterwards), we are very, very proud to be Americans, being the same feeling in all the continent, a feeling that unifies us all with this common link among us.

    Whenever you hear on people talking about Americans, when you`re actually refering yourself only to US citizens, it makes the rest of us all, feel bad as though we were nothing for this continent, even though we are. When we hear a US citizen refering himself as American in regards to other American citizens from other countries, we feel that their arrogance and, sorry to say, their ignorance is overwhelming. Most of the time, we don`t make a big deal about this issue. Ignorance is not a shameful issue, but being this a Scientific forum, at least I can`t accept it and I feel the need to say so.
    I`m proud to be American.
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    I think you'll find that there is no sense of pan-americaness amongst Canadians and people of the USA. For most their national identity comes foremost in defining themselves. Any kinship between Canada and the USA derives more from shared values of Democracy, religion, and language with a legacy of peaceful coexistence going back 200 years. Otherwise, Canadians are quite avid in distancing themselves form an American identity. Likewise, I have difficult discerning any cultural associations between a country like Canada and Peru. When Canada has a clear entrenchment within English and French cultural influences. Canada probably has the lowest proportion of Spanish speakers in all of the Americas.

    It seems to me that there is simply a feeling of cultural kinship amongst Spanish speaking American states, which is understandable. However, this hardly speaks to a feeling of universal pan-americanism. I'm not sure the people of French Guinea, holding their French passports, really identify all that strongly with the people of the Americas. Moreover, the Caribbean states seem likewise culturally removed from the mainland American states.

    Europeans like to speak of European values, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in Canada or the USA willing to speak about continental American values.

    Finally, once again when Americans speak of themselves as Americans they are speaking simply of their national identity and this has nothing to do with diminishing the right for someone to identify themselves continentally as American. Although, I'm still at a loss as to why anyone would be so proud to be from a continent when there is so little definable about that.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    ...........Any kinship between Canada and the USA derives more from shared values of Democracy, religion, and language with a legacy of peaceful coexistence going back 200 years. Otherwise, Canadians are quite avid in distancing themselves form an American identity. Likewise, I have difficult discerning any cultural associations between a country like Canada and Peru. When Canada has a clear entrenchment within English and French cultural influences. Canada probably has the lowest proportion of Spanish speakers in all of the Americas.
    Well my friend. Who is eagerly trying to draw a line among Americans now, me or you ?. USA and Canada on one side and the rest on the other. About the so called differences between Canada and Peru (your example), why don`t you rephrase it, by establishing the difference among the original natives of this continent, lets say, the Iroquois, Chippewas, Apaches, Sioux, Aztecs, Mayas, Incas, Quechuas and Mapuches, just to mention only some of them. You`ll find out that there were differences, but not so obvious as in the present days. What finally lead to the major differences was our European origin, but this is another story.........

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    I'm not sure the people of French Guinea, holding their French passports, really identify all that strongly with the people of the Americas. Moreover, the Caribbean states seem likewise culturally removed from the mainland American states.
    Its your opinion. I`ve met Cubans, Dominicans and people from Puerto Rico, who consider themselves equally as Americans, as the rest, but it is my opinion, and opinions are subjective, the same as yours. Btw, in the case of the French Guinea, you are right, since there is no French Guinea in America (:P), you`ve got confused with the French Guiana, in which case I`m not sure of what they think about the issue, never met somebody from there.


    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Europeans like to speak of European values, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in Canada or the USA willing to speak about continental American values.
    Apparently true. But then it is your problem that you don`t want to share with the rest of us, so you actually don`t really know how we (the rest of America) are. I am sure (can`t demonstrate it, its still an opinion), that the so called by you, "rest of continental America" people, know more about the USA and Canada, than what the USA and Canada knows about the rest of us Americans. You are the ones that have to learn, not us. Of course, you must be refering yourself to the 70 % (if not more) of the USA, cause the rest are hispanic (Spanish origin), and they ussually think as I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    ................ I'm still at a loss as to why anyone would be so proud to be from a continent when there is so little definable about that.
    Richness of culture my friend is our biggest asset. Where else in the world, do you have the chance to meet and depart with people from all around the globe, with different origins, ethnics, languages, religions, thoughts of all kind, within the same continent, and everything done in a relatively civilized relationship among each other ?. Only in America, where our native cultures got pieces of culture from all those citizens that came to colonize this "New World", enriching their original culture with the best and the worse from beyond the other continents.

    :-D 8)
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  25. #24  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    "Where else in the world, do you have the chance to meet and depart with people from all around the globe, with different origins, ethnics, languages, religions, thoughts of all kind, within the same continent, and everything done in a relatively civilized relationship among each other ?"

    UN summit meetings, and I'm sure there are communities, and cities here and there around the world that pride themselves on their diversity; some of which I would wager have a higher diversity than the average US city/community, and far less crime as well.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickdog
    Well my friend. Who is eagerly trying to draw a line among Americans now, me or you ?. USA and Canada on one side and the rest on the other. About the so called differences between Canada and Peru (your example), why don`t you rephrase it, by establishing the difference among the original natives of this continent, lets say, the Iroquois, Chippewas, Apaches, Sioux, Aztecs, Mayas, Incas, Quechuas and Mapuches, just to mention only some of them. You`ll find out that there were differences, but not so obvious as in the present days. What finally lead to the major differences was our European origin, but this is another story.........
    Clearly I am trying to define differences between members of the Americas because I'm arguing against the existence of a pan-american identity.

    As to natives, I doubt any Iroquois feel any great kinship for Aztecs, since they have no historical, religious, or cultural relationship. Moreover, besides your belief that people of the USA and Canada didn't marry natives, my grandmother is Mi'kmaq and am not merely of European origin. Connecting a matrilineal, animist, semi-nomadic society like the Iroquois to a patriarchal, polytheistic, sedentary society like that of the Aztecs is just plain absurd. The only thing they share in common is that they both had unfortunate encounters with Europeans.

    Apparently true. But then it is your problem that you don`t want to share with the rest of us, so you actually don`t really know how we (the rest of America) are. I am sure (can`t demonstrate it, its still an opinion), that the so called by you, "rest of continental America" people, know more about the USA and Canada, than what the USA and Canada knows about the rest of us Americans. You are the ones that have to learn, not us. Of course, you must be refering yourself to the 70 % (if not more) of the USA, cause the rest are hispanic (Spanish origin), and they ussually think as I do.
    BS, first of all 15% of the US population is of hispanic origin. Moreover, I'll eat my hat if you know shit all about Canada besides what you can look up on the wiki. All you really know about the USA is the same propagandist nonsense that comes from European "experts" on the USA. People who have never been to the USA, but because they've seen some news stories and movies think they know the country inside and out. I don't make claims to understanding the USA entirely and I've been there several times and to several different parts of the country.

    Richness of culture my friend is our biggest asset. Where else in the world, do you have the chance to meet and depart with people from all around the globe, with different origins, ethnics, languages, religions, thoughts of all kind, within the same continent, and everything done in a relatively civilized relationship among each other ?. Only in America, where our native cultures got pieces of culture from all those citizens that came to colonize this "New World", enriching their original culture with the best and the worse from beyond the other continents.

    :-D 8)
    Right down the street, I went to school with people from the West Indies, India, Lebanon, Vietnam, Laos, etc. Moreover, my next door neighbor (shock) is from Chile! We don't need to make any grand claim to a non-existent pan-american identity for the sake of multiculturalism.
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickdog

    What I am trying to say, is that everybody who lives in this continent is American too, and when you refer to US citizens in regards to Mexican citizens for example, you can`t call neither one as Americans, since they both are Americans.
    When you ask me for a true "definable, meaningful reason for blanketing everyone under the term of "American" with more than geographic reasons", all that I can tell you, is that most of the people who live in this continent, despite of their origin (English, Spanish, Portugese, French or others who came afterwards), we are very, very proud to be Americans, being the same feeling in all the continent, a feeling that unifies us all with this common link among us.

    Whenever you hear on people talking about Americans, when you`re actually refering yourself only to US citizens, it makes the rest of us all, feel bad as though we were nothing for this continent, even though we are. When we hear a US citizen refering himself as American in regards to other American citizens from other countries, we feel that their arrogance and, sorry to say, their ignorance is overwhelming. Most of the time, we don`t make a big deal about this issue. Ignorance is not a shameful issue, but being this a Scientific forum, at least I can`t accept it and I feel the need to say so.
    I`m proud to be American.
    I'm starting to see where you're coming from, especially since your bio data says you're from Chile. While the problem is purely semantic, I agree that it's silly for any one country on a continent (or pair of continents) to be able to claim the continent's name over all the rest. There's no "United States of Asia", or "United States of Europe" (at least not until the EU decides to formally declare itself a country.) I guess Africa has "South Africa", which is close.

    One frustrating thing about trying to tell people where I'm from is if I say I'm a US citizen, well...... there are other countries with "United States" in their name. If I say I am an American, then there's the issue you point out. I'm forced to drop the full acronym "USA". It seems somehow unfortunate that my ancestors chose to give my country such an ambiguous and non-descript name. It's a good thing this is a well known country, or it could result in no end of frustrations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickdog
    If you are not aware, you should know that Mexico is officially known as "Mexican United States" (translated from Spanish : "Estados Unidos Mexicanos" ), but that doesn`t mean that both countries are the same, for sharing words as "united" and the word "states". At the end, to make the story short, they are both, Americans.

    In fairness, however, Mexico became a country after we did. For them to have taken any elements of our name and used it in naming themselves at that time is bald faced plagiarism. We had those words first.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    .............Clearly I am trying to define differences between members of the Americas because I'm arguing against the existence of a pan-american identity.
    There is plenty of differences, my friend, among each other, but that doesn`t justify the fact that we are all Americans. About the existence of a pan-american identity, I already told you that (I`ll quote myself),......it is your problem that you don`t want to share with the rest of us, so you actually don`t really know how we (the rest of America) are.,.... and..,...You are the ones that have to learn, not us.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    As to natives, I doubt any Iroquois feel any great kinship for Aztecs, since they have no historical, religious, or cultural relationship.
    Their similarity lies within their worship on the land they inhabited. When you took them out of their lands, we (I`ll also include myself, since I must recognize that in Chile, all about the natives weren`t only "honey and roses", there was fight too), broke their spirit, allowing us to dominate them afterwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    BS, first of all 15% of the US population is of hispanic origin. Moreover, I'll eat my hat if you know shit all about Canada besides what you can look up on the wiki. All you really know about the USA is the same propagandist nonsense that comes from European "experts" on the USA. People who have never been to the USA, but because they've seen some news stories and movies think they know the country inside and out. I don't make claims to understanding the USA entirely and I've been there several times and to several different parts of the country.
    I must have made a mistake in how I said it, 30 % is not the whole hispanic community, since many hispanics who live there, don`t have the same feeling about the issue and that the 30 %, doesn`t represent only hispanic people, cause there are non-hispanics, who also feel that there is a pan-american identity. Although, I think (opinion), you got a wrong figure of how big is the hispanic community in the USA.
    I lived 5 years in the USA (that`s how I learned English), it`s a very beautiful country I have to say, I even thought of staying there, but family connections and patriotism, are stronger, so I didn`t. However, part of my family resides in the USA (Houston, Dallas and L.A.), and another part lives in Canada (Toronto), with whom we`ve never lost touch, so through them, and from the time I lived there, I know pretty well how is the USA and I have an idea about Canada.(this is in relation to me, but off-topic). On topic now, I never said that we know everything there is to know about Canada and the USA (would be arrogant), I said that its more likely that the rest of continental America (as you call it), know more about Canada and the USA than what the USA and Canada, knows about the rest of "continental America". Sadly, most of US citizens, don`t even know about the existence of many countries in their own continent, being Chile for instance, only known as a mexican spicy sausage and when you try to explain them, they don`t understand, they ussually still believe that we are a part of Argentina or a community within another nation. It`s sad.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    While the problem is purely semantic, I agree that it's silly for any one country on a continent (or pair of continents) to be able to claim the continent's name over all the rest.
    Exactly my friend, you understood where I`m trying to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    One frustrating thing about trying to tell people where I'm from is if I say I'm a US citizen, well...... there are other countries with "United States" in their name. If I say I am an American, then there's the issue you point out. I'm forced to drop the full acronym "USA". It seems somehow unfortunate that my ancestors chose to give my country such an ambiguous and non-descript name. It's a good thing this is a well known country, or it could result in no end of frustrations.
    There is no shame if you refer yourself as an American to almost everybody, cause for the rest of the world that`s how they usually call you. For the rest of us, unfortunately we have to go on explaining the difference, but that`s our "bargain", but among American countries you should call yourselves, as a US citizen, since both are Americans. This goes the same for a Scientific community, since if Science is about Knowledge, then ignorance can`t prevail. That`s my point here.


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    In fairness, however, Mexico became a country after we did. For them to have taken any elements of our name and used it in naming themselves at that time is bald faced plagiarism. We had those words first.
    Mexico didn`t take anything out of your countries name. You said it yourself, ..........It seems somehow unfortunate that my ancestors chose to give my country such an ambiguous and non-descript name....., they simply used the same ambiguous and non-descript name your ancestors did, but they were more "witty", by adding the word "Mexican" to it, clearly establishing a difference with whoever wanted to use the words "united" and "states" in their naming. Btw, the words "united" and "states", existed long before the discovery of America, so if there is anyone to call the first ones to use them, maybe we should seek for them, in the period of time, when men created language and first nations appeared in our history.

    In relation of who was first independent, I`m not going to argue with you, as a matter of fact, the first country who accomplished it, was yours in all of America, and due to its outcome, it gave the rest of the nations of this continent, the "guts" to go for it, since you showed us that it was possible. If the USA, wouldn`t have accomplished its Independence, maybe lots of countries, and not of only America, would still be colonies of Foreign Nations. Together with the French Revolution, these historic events, planted the seed of freedom for all of those smaller nations.
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    Times like these I'm thankful for Queen Victoria's borderline na´vetÚ: She named it Canada, because that's what it was called.

    Actually it's the Iroquois word for village.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rickdog


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    In fairness, however, Mexico became a country after we did. For them to have taken any elements of our name and used it in naming themselves at that time is bald faced plagiarism. We had those words first.
    Mexico didn`t take anything out of your countries name. You said it yourself, ..........It seems somehow unfortunate that my ancestors chose to give my country such an ambiguous and non-descript name....., they simply used the same ambiguous and non-descript name your ancestors did, but they were more "witty", by adding the word "Mexican" to it, clearly establishing a difference with whoever wanted to use the words "united" and "states" in their naming. Btw, the words "united" and "states", existed long before the discovery of America, so if there is anyone to call the first ones to use them, maybe we should seek for them, in the period of time, when men created language and first nations appeared in our history.
    Right, but they're our neighbors. Think of the Ambiguity. If I say I'm a "United States" citizen, or if I say I'm an "American" citizen, either way that could be taken to mean I'm from Mexico.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    One frustrating thing about trying to tell people where I'm from is if I say I'm a US citizen, well...... there are other countries with "United States" in their name. If I say I am an American, then there's the issue you point out. I'm forced to drop the full acronym "USA". It seems somehow unfortunate that my ancestors chose to give my country such an ambiguous and non-descript name. It's a good thing this is a well known country, or it could result in no end of frustrations.
    There is no shame if you refer yourself as an American to almost everybody, cause for the rest of the world that`s how they usually call you. For the rest of us, unfortunately we have to go on explaining the difference, but that`s our "bargain", but among American countries you should call yourselves, as a US citizen, since both are Americans. This goes the same for a Scientific community, since if Science is about Knowledge, then ignorance can`t prevail. That`s my point here.
    I'm glad there's at least an accepted convention, then, of understanding that "US" usually means "USA", rather than "EUM".


    In relation of who was first independent, I`m not going to argue with you, as a matter of fact, the first country who accomplished it, was yours in all of America, and due to its outcome, it gave the rest of the nations of this continent, the "guts" to go for it, since you showed us that it was possible. If the USA, wouldn`t have accomplished its Independence, maybe lots of countries, and not of only America, would still be colonies of Foreign Nations. Together with the French Revolution, these historic events, planted the seed of freedom for all of those smaller nations.
    I tend to see places like Mexico simply as places where the revolution is not complete yet. In some sense, these countries never reached that point of independence where they could set their own terms. Partly the USA bullies them too much, and partly because too often the local government isn't credible enough to unite everybody.

    The best kind of revolution is where you go from one very credible (but disliked) form of leadership to another equally credible (but preferred) form of leadership. And, that's a lot easier to accomplish if you've already got cultural unity within your population. If you go from vassal state to anarchy, then you really haven't accomplished anything at all. You're just waiting for the next colonial power to come along and do the same as before.

    When I criticize foreign cultures, I'm not just trying to belittle them. I just see a set of choices that a group of people are making, and passing their reasoning off as "culture". If it's a really stupid choice, I like to hope that it's ok to call it what it is, rather than worry about whether it's a "culture" issue. For example, if certain indigenous populations in Mexico resist uniting with the main group because of the perceived loss of individuality, I think that cultural tradition is a very small thing being weighed against a very large thing. If they don't unite, then how will they ever be a power unto themselves? How will conditions in Mexico ever improve?
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