Posts Tagged ‘nationality’

You probably often hear: “I’m British”, “I’m American”, “I’m French”, “I’m …”, and how proud a person is to be one. But let us see closer what it means to belong to a certain country or nation. When I ask a person “why are you proud of your country” s/he often replies: “We did this”, “We do that”, “We .. we … we …”. Basically, a person is taking credit for whatever other people have achieved. Those with high moral principles may even feel responsible for mischief of their country as well. In fact they refer to people whom they have never met and don’t know personally, in other words imagine, and take credit or feel responsible for their act simply because they are of the same nationality.

Let’s see an example on a smaller scale. You live in an apartment building and you do know your neighbor who lives next door to you and sometimes you even invite him to share a bottle of wine with your family. So you two are friends. You work in the IT department of a big grocery store chain, he – in a small lab which is doing research on stem cells.  Imagine that one day he gets a Nobel Prize for his extraordinary achievements in his research. Would you take credit for his success and boast to other friends saying that you two got that reward? What if we talked about success of a people you don’t know but who live in the same country?

Another example. By saying I’m American, you state that you share an identity with all the people who are Americans and give the impression that you are proud of it. Do you really want to relate to all of these people? Certainly there are people you don’t really want to be associated to, e.g. may be you don’t want to have anything to do with the wealthy, or drug dealers, or someone else, but by saying “Americans” you do want to relate … Probably when you think of your nation, you only think of certain group of people and certain traits —- those you are fond of, naturally, or you won’t be so proud of being a national of your country. But what about other groups of people you disapprove and other traits you dislike? Probably you don’t want to be associated with them. The problem is when you make the nationality statement, you are immediately and automatically associated with all your people. Are you sure you want this?

Are you really British, American, or French? Or you are just an individual who wouldn’t discriminate another person just because he or she was born in another place, on another continent, and has another skin color? Do you really want to fight a person just because he has a different nationality or just because one of his country man was stupid enough to do something “bad”? Because when you generalize a nation you don’t only agree to take credits for success but also take responsibility for the failures of others. What do you think?

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