25 February, 2013

Ignorance on display

I saw this video yesterday and was shocked. It shows 10 young Americans on a beach answer questions about Japan. Their ignorance is cringe-worthy. I especially couldn't believe their answers to "Which country had a nuclear bomb dropped on it?" and "If you went there today, what would you see Japanese wearing?"

Mind you, I'm not American-bashing here. I'm sure that there are many Americans who'd do better at answering these questions than these people do. But I'm also curious as to how young Australians might answer these questions.


Judie said...
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Judie said...

The left one of the two girls on the beach seemed more well-informed (or less ill-informed!) than any of the others.
She also looked like she may have had some Asian or Hawaiian ancestors, too. That may explain her less-than-abysmal ignorance.
I must admit though, I learned quite a bit of history at school that doesn't seem to be taught now. Maybe Aussies of the same age would know just as little.

Ormo said...

To be fair if you asked Japanese young people about Australia or the UK or similar you could probably find enough uninformed people to make a video making fun of them...

Wendy said...

True, in fact the same man has made a video about one area of ignorance Japanese high school students have about their own country. He is currently coping a lot of flack about it from nationalistic Japanese. I'm planning to post about that soon.

I don't think the intention was to "make fun" of them. However, it is good for us missionaries to have some awareness of the ignorance that is out there as we go and do deputation and as we communicate with folk back home.

KarenKTeachCamb said...

Ouch! I confess, I couldn't answer some of those questions either, but I did know most of them. It's really interesting. People who have had limited exposure to Asian people generally have difficulty telling them apart. I know when I first moved to Cambodia it was a real challenge for me, even just telling the kids in my class apart. Now I can fairly accurately guess whether someone is Cambodian, Korean, Japanese, or Chinese (but that also includes Singaporean & Malaysian). However differentiating between Cambodians, Vietnamese and Thai is still challenging, and while I know there are differences between Singaporean, Malaysian, Hong Kong Chinese, Taiwanese and mainland Chinese I will be the first to admit I find them hard to identify. And when you add Filipinos, Pakistanis, Indians, and Sri Lankans as well, life really gets challenging.

Living in Asia certainly opens your eyes to different things. I also agree with your comment about the need for missionaries (and others in the expat community) to be aware of this limited knowledge. I hesitate to say "ignorance" because I'm not sure it is that when opportunities and exposure have been limited.

Great post Wendy.

Wendy said...

Despite the fact that the word "ignorance" is used as an insult its definition is actually:

the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.

I'm not meaning it as an insult, just merely a fact, that people don't know a lot of what we, living in Asia (or any other country foreign to our home country) might expect that people know.