Exploring America’s ignorance of their northern neighbor
Being from Canada, I think I can safely say we Canadians find humor in almost anything. One area in which we amuse ourselves is through the ignorance of our American neighbors when it comes to their knowledge of our country.
Some of us might feel insulted to know that more than 50% of Americans couldn’t name our capital city, but I think most of us are so used to it that we just laugh it off. After all it’s no surprise, even Americans themselves are aware of their own lack of knowledge, but they don’t find it funny.
In a country where 18% of the population still thinks the sun revolves around the earth and up to 20% can’t identify their country on a map (let alone ours), it’s easy to understand why they don’t know us all too well.
According to the same poll only 29% of Americans aged 18-20 said they learnt something about Canada in school. Perhaps this is why so many of them believe those age old Canadian stereotypes. We live in igloos, we all know each other, etc. Know what I’m talking aboot?
Anyway, the American school system might be to blame, but it should be sharing it along with Hollywood and the media.
Let’s face it; a growing amount of people in either country would rather watch the movie than read the book. Regrettably, as I mentioned in my Oscar rant a couple weeks ago, Hollywood has a knack for changing the story.
Any American who saw the academy award winning Argo will never know its actual true story, but in Hollywood it’s not just what they change, it’s what they omit. Of all the World War II flicks, try and find one that even mentions Canada. No surprise that only a small percentage knows we Invaded Normandy and liberated the Netherlands.
It can be said the American media these days is responsible for the dumbing down of the country, I wouldn’t argue (in fact we aren’t far behind). When Canada makes the headlines in the US it’s normally to report on a presidential visit or a mundane story regarding some grisly murder. When it comes to a referendum that threatens to break up our country however, no one is aware.
I think the main reason some of us find America’s ignorance of us so amusing is that we’re right next door. If we were a peaceful country on the other side of the world it would be a little more understandable.
Canadians know what happens down south affects us up here and although they should, Americans don’t feel the same way. Look at it like this, if Canada hadn’t legalized gay marriage back in 2005, would gay marriage in the States have garnered so much momentum so fast? Perhaps not.
In the end, we know that America’s lack of knowledge of their neighbor isn’t an important part of our relationship. Even with Stephen Harper in office, Americans have a 96% favorable opinion of Canada (I’ll assume the other 4% have never heard of us!). So, while they don’t know us, they sure love us and we won’t complain about that.
Britney Spears was an easy target earlier; rest assured she’s not alone…