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Letters to Nowhere

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A World of Ignorance (and it's a small world, after all)

My wife and I had a discussion this evening, after she endured a challenging day. She was certainly justified in her annoyance, although I came away feeling just as annoyed. I'd like to make a few comments about ignorance.

Here in Canada, we suffer from a decided shortsightedness regarding the United States. Most of what we exposed to is disgorged in the popular media. This being CNN, Fox, and the major networks. Movies and novels add to the mix. The general picture is that of a huge patriotism, great pride in the nation, and a celebration of their sense of being. Canadians, while not as demostrative about their country, do exibit these same qualities. However, I don't think we suffer from the xenophobia that one might see on Main Street USA.

Since my wife and I have been married, these four months, she has had a few people talk to her about when she's moving, and wondering why she is doing so. There are not that many differences between people in the US and Canada. For the most part, we watch the same TV, eat a lot of the same foods (except for some unique dishes I had not been exposed to when visiting the woman of my dreams), and have exposure to the same media outlets. Now, I grant, the Canadian slant to world news will be somewhat different, but generally we get the same sources for world news. There aren't that many glaring differences between us.

I have always had a belief that stems from something Martin Luther King said. In a speech he said something about not judging someone by the colour of one's skin, but by the content of their character. I paraphrase this in my own head, and just say that it's better to judge someone by their character, not by what they are. You know, I don't think anyone has ever asked me what my wife is; black, white, Jewish, Muslim, Asian, or whatever. No, I can't think of a time. But to be truthful, our ignorance is like our patriotism; something we hide. But it's there, all the same.

My name sounds like a classic American Jewish name. Funny that I've heard this so little. But the family, on both sides, are Christian from way back. And it's a German name, with roots stretching back to White Russia. Doesn't matter; I'm your typical WASP Canadian. As far as Canadians go, we got all kinds. We may look and sound different, some of us. But for the most part, we wave the same flag on Canada Day (July 1). And celebrate the differences.

If the above two paragraphs seem incongruous, it's true. Remember me mentioning content of Character? My other theory is that it doesn't matter where you're from or who you are, there is always the same percentage of boneheads in the population. Those precious few who see differences and can't stand them, because they are different. Perhaps in some areas, they cluster. I bring this up, because my wife has been questioned about the wisdom of marrying a "foreigner" and moving to a "foreign" country. And this happens continuously. Coupled with a birthday, and some family challenges, it was an especially crummy day. Due to the exposure to a slanted press, I expect, many people in her area seem to feel that if it's not in the US, it can't be good, healthy or pious, and that being exposed to these rogues are a danger to right-thinking folks. I've always wanted to be a rogue, just not in that way.

In a world of ignorance, it's easy to slap a label on people. But I learned long ago that folks are pretty much the same, and if they are open-minded to new ideas and people, they discover this. Regrettably, the percentages say that there are just as many boneheads here as anywhere else. I suppose the difference is we're more polite about it? To those people who think my wife is crazy to leave, perhaps that's the lesson they should learn.

1 Comments:

  • I also find it fascinating how much we know about he USA , as we should being their neighbours...Yet..MOST.. americans know NOTHING about Canada...and even ironically...many of us Canadians know more about the US then alot of americans I have met lmao...or every Jay Leno skit ..when they ask ppl on the street, simple geographic or political questions about their own country...Just saying lol.

    By Blogger moon, at 6:23 PM  

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