Oh, Canada…

Dear America,

I have a beef with you.

But let me back up.  During last week was Canada Day.

Of course as a 34-year old American I have no fricking clue what Canada Day is.  So what did I do?  I asked twitter, of course.

After I wished my Canadian tweeps a happy Canada Day first. I mean, I’m not a total jerk.

Anyway, what I got was an entire history lesson. I was amazed!  I learned new things!

I mean, did you know that the Queen of England still “checks in” every week?  Or that the British who burned down DC in the war of 1812 were the CANADIANS?

Yeah, you probably did.  But I didn’t.

After the amazement and the fun of learning fell away, I was left stewing about how much my country just decides what is important for me to know.

Yeah, yeah…I realize I can go out and look up history of countries on my own. But I have a lot going on. Normally I don’t just think, “hmm.  School never taught me about Canadian government. And they are our neighbors to the north. I should know this. Let me go spend a few hours on that.”

I get that a high school World History class can’t cover every single country in the world. But considering our continent only consists of THREE countries, you would think we would spend a little more time learning that Canada isn’t just a bunch of polite northerners with a cute accent or that Mexico isn’t just full of poor people trying to sneak in and steal our jobs.

I mean really.

World History should maybe do more than teach names and capitols of countries and the World Wars.

We Americans (by the way, that bothers me too. All of the Western Hemisphere is American. ALL OF IT.  Why are the people of the United States only referred to as American?)…anyway, we Americans are known around the world as a bunch of egotistical jerks.

And we are!  Not because we wake up, look in the mirror, and decide to hate the world or something, but because it’s the way we were taught. It’s how we were brainwashed.

As Loraine’s dad in Back to the Future says, “It comes from upbringing. Parents were probably idiots too.”

The problem is, my parents are very nice people who had no idea they were making us into jerk Americans. Because they are jerk Americans too.  And so were their parents. AMERICA MADE US INTO JERK AMERICANS.

Now, I know there are plenty of people who have come to this realization already and who are doing something about it. And really, I knew that Americans were globally dumb. The problem is that I consider myself to be pretty open-minded and willing to learn.

Plus I know that The United States isn’t the king of Earth and that the sun doesn’t shine only on us.

But I didn’t realize how much my knowledge of, well, EVERYTHING is so USA-heavy.  And it is scary to me.

What else don’t I know?

Damn it Canada, you may have made me into a conspiracy theory believer.

Way to go.

And happy Canada Day.  I tip my tuque to you.


Comments

  1. The sad thing is, I think us Michigan peeps know more about Canada than most Americans (considering a tiny part of Canada is actually SOUTH of us).

  2. Thanks for the Canada Day wishes 🙂 You may also be interested to know that in Canada, we celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday… by going camping and drinking a case of beer! (and by the way, it’s toque, not tuque, eventhough it’s pronounced that way)

    Seriously though, you make some really good points about American ignorance, points that can be applied to other countries as well, including Canada. But I dont think blaming a lack of knowledge or perspective on one’s society or upbringing is really fair. Yes it takes time to learn, but it is worth the time. Hell, 10 minutes on wikipedia can teach you all kinds of things!

  3. Thanks to my husband’s work with the military, this is something I’d like to try and erase with my daughters. Not only am I genuinely interested in the goings on in other countries, but I hear and read things that make me wonder about them. One day I’d like to visit many other countries, and I don’t want to wander the streets and have the locals muttering, “Stupid Americans…”

    On that note, can anyone hook me up with a good resource for learning Czech…? 😉

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