Americans have limited knowledge of other cultures


Last updated 1/18/2007 at Noon

A man I know is typical of many Americans when it comes to geography, culture, foreign affairs and politics. He acknowledges that he spends a big part of his weekend watching football, basketball and situation comedies on television. Fair enough. Why not, if that’s where his ambition takes him?

The scary thing, however, is his ingrained belief that most foreigners are bad and that Muslims are particularly evil. He makes no bones of his belief that all Muslims hate us – and are taught to do so from infancy.

When I asked, “Who told you that?” he went into a tirade and asked, “Don’t you ever watch the news on television?” When I responded that indeed I do watch television newscasts and also read newspapers and magazines but that I don’t believe much of what is said, he looked amazed! I explained that my own personal experience and firsthand travel to many of these countries were evidence enough that the US media cannot be trusted to provide an unbiased analysis.

I’m sure I did not convince him of anything – but it does illustrate that Americans, for the most part, have a very limited knowledge of geography and other cultures. Test scores between American and foreign students in most academic areas show that we do very poorly.

Robert F. Green


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