2006-09-12

arrogance...

we in america are so arrogant in our view of the rest of the world. we view our political system, our religion, our culture as so much superior to the rest of the world. we seem to think that democracy is the best thing for the whole world - have we ever stopped to consider that maybe because of another country's culture, background, etc - that democracy may not work well for them? but WE are democratic and we're the most wealthy country in the world!!! that's another thing, we define success so much within our cultural framework - that is having status in society, having a good, steady job, having a lot of stuff - those equal success for us in America. therefore we look at a continent like Africa where frankly a lot of people just don't have jobs or possessions or anything which fits into our cultural framework, and we say "oh, they are not successful so we had better help them out". don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad idea to give aid to people who need it. however, here is the process that usually happens - some guy in america is sitting there thinking "these people really need our help. i think it would be a great idea if we _______" (fill in the blank). then they go do it. there is often no thought about a process like "let's go talk to them and see what they feel would most benefit them given their situation, their values, their culture, their way of life, and then determine how we can best use our resources to help them accomplish that" because we can see they obviously haven't succeeded so they probably don't know what they're doing - or at least we obviously know much better, because look at us, we've succeded in becoming affluent and having lots of stuff and being important in society.

frankly, I find our arrogance rather disturbing. we feel as though we have nothing to learn from anyone, but only a lot to teach, give, force upon the world. however, if we were all to get to know people from outside our own culture, to get to know them intimately as friends, we would start to realize that they have at least as much to teach us as we have to teach them, if not more. you can learn a lot about life from someone who is very different from you. please, let's begin to think of the world as equals, in every way. we are doing away with racial segregation, but we still segregate the minds of those outside our cultural landscape and that must go.

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