Jinglebones - posted on 09/22/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )
(This is a response to the "quit picking on us" threads that have popped up recently)
I would like, for a moment, to return to some meaningful debate. What is the difference between National Identity and stereotypes, generalizations and associations? Is the difference evident only when it involves negative qualities?
Desirable traits always have a flipside. Case in point: my husband is an extrovert - he is very very outgoing. This initially attracted me to him, but after 13 years of being together, I now refer to him as being "pathologically social" - he talks to everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, ALL OF THE TIME. It doesn't matter if we're in a hurry, or if I am in labour (after pushing my first child for 2 hours, I was relieved when the doctor fiinally appeared as it meant my efforts were near an end - my husband called him over to the other side of the room "Dr. Bray! Would you like some banana bread?" Seriously...).
Let's take, for example, National Pride, otherwise known as Patriotism. Being proud and patriotic is a positive trait, but what is the flipside? Being obnoxious? Stepping on the heads of other countries to further the efforts of your own? Being unduly sensitive to negative comments? Not being able to handle criticism? Doesn't this sound a tad like adolescent behaviour? (So insecure in one's own identity that the reflection from others is allowed to define you.)
I am Canadian. I am a proud Canadian. Let's examine our National Identity: hockey, beer, nice, polite, self-deprecating, maple leaves, moose, beavers, wide open spaces, cold. I'm sure there are more and I would love to hear them. Let's look at stereotypes: hockey, beer, toques, bacon, eh?, easy-going, dumb as a sack of hammers, comedians, favourite hobby: shovelling snow and watching the zamboni clean the ice. I am very very upset that the rest of the world discriminates against us by always lumping every single Canadian into this category (tone = feigned outrage). I hate the cold. I only watch hockey when we're kicking the US's butt for the Gold medal at the Olympics in Mens & Womens hockey. I don't drink beer and rarely eat bacon. Although, I am quite easy-going and very funny (I am glad I have myself to laugh at during those long cold winters), and I actually do enjoy shovelling the snow (the first 20 times...), but how boring is that zamboni? And I am not DUMB! Please! Stop the discrimination!!
Okay, I feel better now. But I just have one more point to make. Do you remember that irritating girl in high school - the one that thought she was prettier than everyone else, smarter than everyone else, changed every story so that she was the star and noble saviour of everyone, and was just way too cool for school? The one everyone loved to hate? Whatever happened to her? Oh, I know, she became a country and now rules the world...