Reflection for 8/27/2015
As one of the assignments for the Becoming Globally Engaged class, students are expected to respond to reflection prompts on a weekly basis. Here is the prompt and my response for the week of August 27, 2015.
Do you feel like you’ve been limited in the number or range of “stories” you’ve been exposed to? Do you feel that the rest of the world is limited in its “stories” about the United States? Why? What will you do about it?
Although I do not feel as though I have been limited in the number of stories I’ve been exposed to, I have seen the effects of a lack of exposure on individuals in my life. My father is an unfortunate example of this. He grew up in a small town in southeastern Texas where the only exposure citizens got was the occasional minority who lived down the street. As he’s grown up, the lack of exposure that he had to the various stories of foreign peoples has led to a lack of space in his mind for diversity or the idea that not all foreign individuals are the same. This has affected his political views, the assumptions he makes about minorities, and how he responds to different groups of people.
However, I do sometimes feel as though the United States can be portrayed by a singular story; reliant on the country in which the story is being told. One would like to immediately assume that the United States is well represented on the global scale, but often I’ve found that our play in global politics has influenced the attitude of foreigners when meeting a United States citizen for the first time. From encounters on the internet and with foreigners, I’ve been unpleasantly surprised when people assume that the United States if full of ignorant individuals, rich, privileged caucasian men, or, as our obesity problem has become popular in global gossip, “fat” people. The stories being told in other countries by their individual media, by their government who may have a less than amazing diplomatic relationship with the United States, or stories branching from the occasional United States incident that makes national news, have all created a general stigma towards the United States. But upon further reflection, one may be able to argue that this is but a consequence of negativecentered national media