Sunday, October 24, 2004

"The town of Hope, where I was born, has very good feng shui."

The title quote comes from a butchered Chinese propaganda version of Bill Clinton's "My Life"editorialzed today in the NY Times. Apparently in the Chinese culture infringement is a good thing? They are attempting to create a ethnic cultural false reality. It fails. Last week I was assaulted by a panel of foreign students as part of a class where us Americans were exposed to other views of us in the world. They too argued for this false reality. It's theirs and hence is real even if facts say it isn't; the old perception problem. It wasn't pretty. The class is made up of diverse backgrounds from Iran, Bellarus, Armenia, Mexico and all are US citizens.

The discussion quickly descended into a food fight over whose culture is the best and Americans are stupid because we don't speak Swahili according to the Kenyan journalist on the panel. "Why are you free," said the Polish student. "Kenyans are the best runners and no one in the West can figure out why," she said. I didn't elaborate but evolution comes to mind. Not in that culture. The gist is that cultural relativism rules the day and we don't get it. All they had was fallacies about our propagandistic ethnocentric media and a general lack of concern for other countries' cultures. She lamented having to resort to English to compete here and that in itself is prejudicial. Since the young Graduate student teaching assistant is Japanese, bias against English first students is evident from the thesis. They resent having us dictate the language here, but refuse to accept the fact that we are English. That's where the country's founders came from. Nothing can change that or should.

People concentrate on what affects them. I would and did argue that Africans do the same, and no apology for ethnic cleansing that isn't found here will equivocate the cultural differences. It doesn't happen here. There's a reason and that's because the American system despite the flaws works. Take that message home to Kenya and publish it.


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