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View Diary: We don't need more cheerleading in America (153 comments)

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  •  I Find it Scary.... (3+ / 0-)
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    bablhous, Spoc42, Alanhawaii

    It to me sounds very much like what Hitler and the Nazis told the Germans in the 1930s. Germans were also supposed to be exceptional, that Aryans were a master race.

    Americans, because of our ethnic diversity, can't talk about a master race, but underneath I feel the premise is the same. The concept of Aryan supremacy also infected some Scandinavians, as a reader of Steig Larson's novels can't help but notice. My family were immigrants from rural Sweden, and I was raised with the concept of Aryan supremacy, so I know ethnocentrism when I see it.

    "American Exceptionalism" is another form of ethnocentrism, the belief that one's culture is superior to all others and that its people are superior to all others. This concept is intoxicating to someone with a low self-esteem.

    Just when we think the far right can't sink lower, they sink lower.

    •  I think a lot of it (4+ / 0-)
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      bablhous, Spoc42, Prairie D, Alanhawaii

      comes from the idea that we had to come in and rescue everyone else in the two world wars, followed by that brief period when we completely dominated the world economically.

      I was raised in the 1950s and we were positively marinated in the idea of American Exceptionalism. If one idea was beaten into our heads in elementary school it was that America was the greatest country on earth and everything we did was the best. It doesn't seem to me, though, that it was ethnocentric or racist but rather that it was part and parcel of the Cold War ideology. We had the political system that would someday spread around the world and liberate everyone from whatever oppressed or limited them. Either you were 100% pro-American or you were a Commie; anything in between was seen as a failure to take sides in the fight between the forces of good and evil.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. --Bertrand Russell

      by denise b on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 08:01:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I always love this (0+ / 0-)

        we had to come in and rescue everyone else in the two world wars

        .

        WW1 - turned up three years late, and helped tipped the balance

        WW2 - forced into it by Japan two years on - rememeber Germany declared war on the US, not the other way around, and at a time when the Soviet winter had already drawn the teeth of the German Army.

        As for WW2 a large part of the motivation was fear of a Russian dominated Europe.

        "What has happened down here is the wind have changed. Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain"

        by senilebiker on Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 01:57:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What is "ethnocentrism"? (0+ / 0-)

        Well, America is an ethnos -- a cultural, social and political grouping. A Black American is more like a White American than either is like a Mexican or Canadian.

        So -- "We had the political system that would someday spread around the world and liberate everyone from whatever oppressed or limited them" is exactly ethnocentrism, in the traditional American evangelical vein.

        The fact that we can't even recognize our own ethnicitiy, our own point-of-view shows how deeply marinated we still our. We can see that Soviet Exceptionalism was a form of Russian Supremacy -- but we can't see that American Exceptionalism was a form of American Supremacy, which ultimately was a close relative of White Supremacy.

    •  Take the next logical step from here (1+ / 0-)
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      RandomSequence

      "American Exceptionalism" is another form of ethnocentrism, the belief that one's culture is superior to all others and that its people are superior to all others.

      This point gets you to "Americans are better than anyone else"... the next step is "who are real Americans?".

      That road leads to an exceedingly ugly place... and it doesn't take long to get there.

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