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An interesting choice of countries - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
An interesting choice of countries
Google doodle today was of Dr B R Ambedkar. The name rang faint bells and I immediately thought India/Pakistan but I admit I had to click through to find out exactly who he was.

This article, showing the countries that the doodle appeared in, also aroused my curiosity.

BR Ambedkar doodle.jpg

India, obviously, because that is where he lived and was active politically. The UK and, by extension, Ireland also make sense because of the former colonial connection. I don't know why the other countries were chosen. Who decides these things?

There is also one glaring omission. Google is not bringing Dr Ambedkar to the attention of Americans. Perhaps they don't feel that remembering an activist who campaigned against caste discrimination in a country on the other side of the world is relevant to them? Despite the fact that he did in fact study in the US. But it's ignorance of people like Dr Ambedkar and the injustices he campaigned against that perpetuate the myth amongst certain SJWs[*] that only white people practise discrimination and the only people who suffer from discrimination are non-white. OK, when we remember Dr Ambedkar and his work, the people suffering were non-white, but they were being oppressed by fellow Indians, not by white colonialists.

On both my visits to America, I was struck by how there was absolutely no news about anywhere else in the world (unless it was an area where America was currently engaged militarily), whereas here in Europe, we seem to be swamped by news about America. It's no wonder that so many Americans are so ignorant of the world beyond their borders. This would be fine -- if sad! -- but when it comes to the internet and SF fandom, Americans do interact with citizens from everywhere and it is becoming increasingly tiresome that they persist in believing that everywhere is just like the USA and that when people try to tell them otherwise, for example should someone point out that in the UK the most discriminated against people are probably Roma travellers (who are white) and that the ones that cause people like UKIP to get their knickers in a twist are from Eastern Europe (and white), they seem to genuinely believe that this is not possible and that only non-whites can be suffering. Trying to tell them that, it's All Much More Complicated gets nowhere because they are so convinced they are right and black/white thinking (both literal and metaphorical) is so ingrained in their psyche.

[*] Social Justice Warriors, the name given to people who campaign single-mindedly and stridently about oppression, mostly that of non-whites by whites but also other forms of oppression sometimes get a look in. Despite it being a good and noble thing to try to stop oppression and make the world a better place, ignorance and even wilful blindness means that they often make enemies of people who would be totally on their side if they didn't try to make a false dichotomy of white people evil/POC good.

Current Mood: thankful thankful

9 comments or Leave a comment
inamac From: inamac Date: April 14th, 2015 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is fascinating. A true citizen of the world.

I am trying to avoid the current SJW/SP/RP kerfuffle because it is so US based and biased that it seems to have nothing to do with me outside the US demographic.
seaivy From: seaivy Date: April 14th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
We may concentrate on color when it comes to discrimination but we have 400 years of history that we are still trying to cope with - and it is so visible.

The scars of our civil war - 150 years ago - still fester in some places.

You have your Roma - we don't.
You have space to know about your other country neighbors.
For our space our neighbors are still -us.
It may be USA but the political and social climate of Iowa is nothing like my Maryland.

However, most people are keenly aware of the problems in the rest of the world. Our news may have only the more sensational aspects, such is the manner of news, but India and Kenya and Somalia are in the news here.
And because America has a presence all over, we see it through that lens.

But Charlie Hebdo, rapes in India, the missing girls in Africa are part of our news and our concern.

Edited at 2015-04-14 09:02 pm (UTC)
del_c From: del_c Date: April 14th, 2015 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
This made me want to know what *was* today's doodle in America:


The spread of countries for this one is even harder to understand (live display at the URL, I can't think how to show it here)
kishenehn From: kishenehn Date: April 14th, 2015 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
The ethnocentrism of the United States -- both of the country as a whole, and its individual citizens -- maddens me to no end. With just a few exceptions, we are a nation of the most globally uninformed people imaginable ... and depending on the circumstances it makes us either impossibly smug or ridiculously paranoid. It's really an embarrassment.

Most Americans, of course, have never left their home country, or even possess a passport ... and while the relative size of our country provides a thin excuse for that, the reality is that most Americans don't even have a desire to venture overseas. Maybe it would threaten their air of smug superiority, or maybe they're afraid that they'll discover that the rest of the world isn't as scary or backward a place as they want to believe. Regardless, it's something that has to change if my country is ever to become a responsible global citizen.

(You can tell this topic is a sore spot with me!)
seaivy From: seaivy Date: April 15th, 2015 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
another voice
you are proof that we are a country of many voices all being heard somewhere
the glory of the technological world is you no longer have to "go" anywhere - it can come to you
kishenehn From: kishenehn Date: April 15th, 2015 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
With all respect, that's not really the case at all ... even though lots of Americans blithely assume that it is.

Internet technology is great for passing out random, haphazard soundbytes ... but there's little depth, little context, and lots of bias. It skews perspectives and reinforces stereotypes as much as it enlightens. Because of that, combined with the points I mentioned above, most Americans have a greatly simplified and distorted view of the rest of the world. I say this as someone who's traveled overseas very extensively -- something that's truly eye-opening and immensely worthwhile.
From: cmcmck Date: April 15th, 2015 07:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Would you mind if I added you?

I like the way you think! :o)
kishenehn From: kishenehn Date: April 15th, 2015 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Always very happy to have new online friends! Be forewarned, though, that we're likely not to agree on everything.. :)
From: cmcmck Date: April 15th, 2015 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
It'd be pretty boring if everyone did agree on everything!

Not everyone I know stands to the left of Leon Trotsky. :o)

Consider it done.
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