Wednesday, April 30, 2014
I have just been thinking about this trip and the lead up to it. I was introduced to the idea of going on the study abroad to London approximately on the 19th or 20th of August 2010, during New Student Orientation, my freshman year here at CSC. In the summer of 2011, I didn’t go as I was still getting ahold of this college thing and living in Nebraska. In 2012, they regrouped and reorganized the trip, there was no trip that year. Also I am also guessing they did not us to get caught up in everything with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or the Summer Olympics that year. Last year, I attempted, but failed to raise the deposit. This year, barriers be damned, I am going to London in less than 2 weeks!
So, what should I do? I have a lot of ideas. It may not seem like so, but remember I have 2 weeks. Some of the things on the itinerary (no specific order or dates since I am paranoid, hence no flight date or time). So, officially, the group is going to 2 local police stations, Windsor Castle, New Scotland Yard, Stonehenge, the Roman Bath, Charring Cross, Oxford, a Magistrate Court, the U. K. Supreme Court, the Dojo where the officers get trained in hand to hand combat, Houses of Parliament, King’s College for a lecture, Westminster Abbey, trooping of the Colours rehearsal, Stratford Upon Avon (birth place of Shakespeare), the London Legal Walk, and Warwick Castle.
There are some side trips that we are allowed (or in some cases need to make). On the list of mandatory trips which include a park (ok), a history museum (yay), and an art museum (I’m sure I will find something I will like). Good news is most of all of these things are free, yes, free! What else are we thinking about? We are about a mile from Buckingham Palace, also the River Thames, and the London Eye. We are also expected to try to eat national food, as well as ethnic food. It is also recommended to go to a pub (I can do that). We are also recommended to go a view a show or two in the various theatres in the area (so far have found like 3 within an hour walk of the hotel). Alas even though this is a Criminal Justice trip they do not want us to see the inside of a jail cell.
Anyway, I am sure this list will keep me and most of the people going occupied. Here is the thing, I am from the area of a major city. I know the benefits of listening to people who have visited there, or who live there. With that being said, there is a comment area below my posts, if you have an idea, you are more than welcome to leave it, and I (and my group) may consider it.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Let's start off by watching this video.
What you should have just seen was a big ad for Coca-Cola from this year's (2014 or Super Bowl XLVIII) Super Bowl. I had you watch that to get you thinking about Globalization. Globalization is the general concept of expanding, a project, business, or even thinking to a point of it worldwide. What I got from this commercial, is this is a worldwide business in Coca-Cola (hence the singing of the song in many languages, and some of the shots that appear to be of ethnic people). Yet, I think they were trying to say that they are an American company (by having the song being America the Beautiful. Thanks links in with my previous post on ethnocentrism. At the same time, that should be expected for the Super Bowl. This video has more to it, there are scenes that I would have to take a guess that all of them come from within the borders of the U.S., even for two seconds (roughly :35 into the video) where we see ethnic writing, and then the next shot is of a close up to an Arabic woman. This could have been filmed in an ethic portion of a major city (examples include China Town, Little Italy, Greek Town, etc..). The world is becoming smaller, and we are bumping into each other now more often than ever before. People are traveling more; the internet is increasing ease and decreasing the cost of contact. That is more than just when a Middle Eastern prince e-mails you asking you for $5,000 so he can send you $5,000,000.
In my time at CSC I have met many people. This includes people from: Ukraine, Russia, South Korea, China, Taiwan (Chinese Taipaei), Ethiopia, Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, Jordan, Armenia, Berma, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica and many of many others. It is a small world, where you can meet all of these, at a college of 3,000 students and in a town in the rural area of Nebraska with less than 6,000 people. In the past 10 years diplomatically we have had problems involving Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Iraq, Afghanistan, (hell, I have learned how to spell Afghanistan), Pakistan, Syria, have sent millions of dollars in foreign aid.
The truth is at the end of the end of the day, the world is getting smaller. The world’s problems are becoming ours. Do you know what happens when we ignore the world’s problems? For years we ignored alliances, tensions and more for years. We have a few assassinations and a submarine sinking a boat, and we had the Great War or World War I. We had a few invasions, an attempted genocide, we sat on it and WWII broke out. Oh, and we got bombed in Pearl Harbor after sanction levied against the Japanese for working with the Nazis and invading China.
Where does the orange that you are eating come from? Your shirt? The computer you are reading this from, or your phone, or tablet? Where was the car built? After you consider the engine, the car seats, your doors, the various other parts of your car, and then the assembly, you may be talking over 10 countries. Your car has done more traveling then you have, most likely. Now, Ethnocentrism has given us a reason to close ourselves off. Globalism has given us a reason to open ourselves up, which is good. Though, that comes with a cost. We need to tread lightly with China, can anyone imagine what would happen if either the U.S. or China levies an embargo on the other? What if the Panama Canal gets clogged by a war? What happens if Egypt goes to war and closes the Nile? What happens if the U.S. economy crashes, worst then 2008, or even worse than the depression? What happens if the same happens with the European Union? We are more relied upon each other than before. This means international intervention is more likely. This also means countries want less war to prevent the free flow of products. Let’s hope that is enough to prevent the ominous World War III everyone has been thinking about every time there is am international crisis.
Friday, April 25, 2014
One of the things that I must consider before traveling to another country is ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the general concept of a group holding their culture above all else, or when a person looks at another culture through the eyes of their own (paraphrased from dictionary.com). One of the reason this must be considered is since people in the U.K. may not hold the U.S. in as high of esteem as I do. They may think the U.K. is better then I do. This is normal really, and I must realize that, and hold my statements and reaction accordingly.
One example of ethnocentrism is how almost every country holds their Olympic teams or their FIFA, FIBA, WBC, and other leagues teams are superior to all of the other teams. An example for the other definition would be more along the lines would be how we cannot believe any country today or ever could work with a monarchy or a dictator, since the United States is a democracy. In fact that last line was ethnocentric, since at first I said we, and then later one showed I was speaking directly to U.S. citizens, even though I am posting this online, and I have seen in the numbers that someone has viewed this blog from Germany. With that, I know this blog has a potential for nearly worldwide audience (excluding North Korea) and that it had a reader from outside the U.S. (even if by accident), but I still directed this towards Americans. With that being said, I think a discussion on ethnocentrism is valid for everyone. So why do we have it? There is an educational background, just about every country has public, a state funded, education system that tells history from their perspective. We have an information perspective, we have news and we pay attention to what our government over what other governments say. Granted many countries have opposition groups, but who are we more likely to listen to, the U.S. government or the Syrian government? Who do we listen to more, Obama, or Putin? Heck, the Conservatives know more about the Obama side of the story over Crimea and Ukraine, and then they know the Putin side. It doesn't matter which side they agree with, but we are still getting information more from one then the other, that is ethnocentrism. It is bad since just what I just said, we are getting the information from one source. During the Massacre at Wounded Knee, all of the Americans were getting the story of the U.S., not so much from the Lakota (the Sioux, which was the tribe at Wounded Knee).
Ethnocentrism can be good since it works to promote a sense of patriotism. It provides a connection to your neighbor. It gives you a connection to that homeless person on the street corner. When Americans talk about the homeless or the general poor here, they say this isn’t how Americans should live, that is ethnocentrism at work. This is what drives home done charities. Chadron State College is doing two major charity/service events. One of which is the Big Event, it is a community service event. It started last year with over 400 students in it. It is going to happen today (April 26th). The preliminary numbers for this year’s event is over 700 volunteers pre-signed up. There are also 70 work locations, 20 of them are in Crawford, NE (next town west when only traveling on highway 20 and it is 24 miles away), and the rest are just outside or in Chadron. To me this since it is making things look good locally, it is regional or micro-ethnocentrism. This is considering ethnocentrism is on a national scale this is more local. The Charity event is the going to be the third annual Nearly Naked Mile. Yes it culminates in students running a mile in costumes or outfits with the main requirement of not breaking public decency laws but there is a community aspect to it too. We donate clothes to various local organizations; the main beneficiary is the Catholic Ladies Rummage Sale. They in turn will sell some of the clothes at their sales and donate the money to their charities, help some local families in need get cheap for free clothing as well direct excess clothing to other locations/charities, one of note includes to families of need on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Last year over 9,000 articles of clothing was donated. Talking to some people this year sounds like we may break that (update we had over 20,000 articles of clothes donated). Again this is localized ethnocentrism, saying people here need help, and we are going to give to them, either by clothes or by money raised by the clothes. They say charity starts at home. Also that no one person can save the world, that for the most part is true. To me the way we are doing this is local ethnocentrism, that no one in our backyard or in the area should suffer that much from poverty. The thing is this is good ethnocentrism in place. If this was done everywhere, that would take care of a lot of problems.
In the end, ethnocentrism is good, as in helping your neighbor since no one in your area should suffer. It is bas in the sense of it spreads ignorance of people elsewhere. Though, just like everything else there is a good kind, a bad kind, and it can be very good if used in moderation.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
One of the many options of topics that we are supposed to talk about before we leave for London includes stereotypes of Americans to people of other countries, which might be a great thing to consider before being immersed in their culture and by their people. A stereotype that I think is fairly popular is that we are, as a culture egotistical. That all that we care about are things related to the U.S. If you watch CNN, FOX, or MSNBC, or other American news sources, most of them involves American news stories, or news in countries that America has interest in. Also that we routinely forget that one of our main sports (American Football) is based on a major international sport (Rugby). Some other stereotypes includes things like we tend to be uneducated. I have also heard of fat and lazy (though I have also heard more recently heard working). One I have found funny is that we can’t hold liquor. Anyway another stereotype that I learned from a few Youtube videos and from one of the predeparture class that I found weird is apparently we are very easily picked out a crowd since we are loud. We also tend to have less of a physical boundary then they do in other areas. We were told when we were kids about “our personal space”. Well, apparently we invade other people’s personal space more than people in other countries. So I am going to have to keep these in mind while I am in London.