For non-Americans, it can be a bit weird how Americans identify themselves with their home states when introducing themselves. It does not matter if they interact with foreigners, who may not have heard of the more ‘obscure’ states.
In a Youtube comment section (forget which one), a commenter pointed out that weirdness. Then, among the repliers, there had to be that one annoying person.
He/she could have said this was just an American quirk or had something to do with strong sense of regionalism.
Nope. For him/her, it proves America is literally the only diverse country on earth.
Others, me included, were quick to point out the US of fucking A is NOT the only one. There are countries like Canada, Australia and Brazil where the indigenous populations are brutally sidelined by Europeans of various nationalities and also ones like China, South Africa, Malaysia, India, China and Indonesia. Yet, when introducing themselves to foreigners, people of those countries always refer to their countries instead of their home provinces, states or what have you.
After me and others kept pestering him/her, she/he relented. But then, she/he proceeded to claim that the cultural differences are more pronounced in the US than they are in other countries.
Again, not true. In Indonesia alone, you can easily see how different the ethnic groups are just by looking at their traditional attires or by eating their dishes; I don’t remember what other commenters said about this. He/she did relent for the second time.
But then, she/he claimed that unlike the other countries, USA consists of people who don’t share the same roots.
He/she was right to say the people in those countries share the same roots. The majority of Chinese mainlanders are Hans, most languages in India are either Indo-Aryan or Dravidian, the majority of people in South Africa are of Bantu roots and most Indonesians are of Austronesian roots.
But then, the majority of Americans are descended of Europeans who mostly spoke Indo-European languages. Besides, nowadays, most of them are monolingual Anglophones; their surnames are the only remnants of their non-Anglo heritage, assuming they haven’t been Anglicised.
To make this more frustrating, that person was not the first person I encountered who exaggerated America’s uniqueness, particularly regarding diversity. It shows how ignorance about the world can mislead us into embracing exceptionalism.
I have also encountered people who make this argument about the west as a whole. They use this argument not because they believe in exceptionalism, but because they hate how the west is the only place where multiculturalism is supposedly ‘enforced’…
… Which is, of course, bullshit. Not only diversity exists elsewhere, there are African and Asian countries significantly more diverse than the European ones.
According to Alesina et al and Fearon’s ethnic and cultural diversity indexes, African, Asian and Latin American countries -especially the African ones- easily outrank the west. In fact, the indigenous populations of many non-western countries are already diverse without immigrants.
Iran’s biggest ethnic group forms 50-60% of the population. Afghanistan’s two biggest ethnic ones comprise 40-50% and 25% of the population. Indonesia’s? 40% and 18%. Kenya’s biggest is 17%. Papua New Guinea’s population is almost nine million and it has over eight hundred indigenous languages. Vanuatu? Three hundred thousand people, over a hundred and ten languages.
And we haven’t talked about religions, yet… which in this case, I have to refer to Singapore: biggest religion 33%, second biggest 18%. Unusual, even for many diverse countries.
Those countries are effortlessly multicultural without boasting how multicultural they are. Heck, some even never utter the word.
My point is multiculturalism is not an exclusively western thing. The more you know about the world, the more stupid it is to believe otherwise.
Oh, and if you want to insist on your country’s uniqueness and/or victim status, make sure to mention things that do not happen fucking elsewhere!
Forgot to mention this: diversity also applies to non-white indigenous people of western countries.
In the US, there are five hundred and seventy four federally recognised tribes. In Australia, four hundred. In Brazil, at least two thousand, not accounting undiscovered ones. Mind you, those are the numbers AFTER they have experienced centuries of genocide by the Europeans.
Can you imagine if the genocides never happened? The Americas and Australasia would be even more diverse than they are now. They would easily rival Africa and Asia.
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