Sunday, December 11, 2005

Brazil, Brazilian... Britain, British... USA, American?

In the front page of The Wall Street Journal (November 4, 2005) you could read from one of its journalist:

"Real-Estate investment trusts... are mapping up millions of acres for forest land - not just in America but in New Zealand, Uruguay, Brazil and beyond."

The last time I checked Brazil and Uruguay are in America. No, it is not "The Americas", it is "America". If you all remember it is United States of America (USA). The fact the is OF America is because back when the USA began, people called this continent America. Even now most of the people in this continent (probably all the countries except the USA) still calls it that way (and not Americas or the Americas).

Couple of days ago somebody remind me how something so simple can upset so many people. The U.S. has appropriated itself of the word “American”. Something that clearly refers to the continent has now become a single country. It is like France, one day, calling itself “Europe”. Imagine how it would sound if in the Financial Time you could read:

"Real-Estate investment trusts... are mapping up millions of acres for forest land - not just in Europe but in Italy, Spain, and Germany and beyond."

On the other hand, it is difficult to criticize something that is commonly used by most people in this country. How can you tell an American, that everybody else in the Americas is also “American”? If you can’t called them Americans, how are you going to call them? Is USAnians, or USAks, or USAishs a possibility?

Now, having said that, I think that at least the media should emphasize the difference. This type of details is something that helps a country understands its place in the globe. It is extremely important that the leading nation in the world understands the rest of its members, especially when this particular country is assuming a role of 'savior of the world'. It is very important that the media shows the USA citizens and residents that there are small details (i.e. calling themselves Americans) that portrait an arrogant position to the world.

Knowing that with each minute the world is becoming one, we all need to understand each other better. This should start with the leading nation and not the other way around. Let’s focus not only on being the 'savior of the world' or conquering other profitable markets with our multinationals. Lets also focus on teaching our children where is Ecuador, Bulgaria, Algeria or Korea. Let’s have some respect to the people and countries we are entering by acknowledging their principles, cultures and interests.

That’s why I started my comment with today’s quote from the WSJ. If a respectable journalist that has a better understanding about the world, has not been able to realize that this small details could portrait a wrong image to the world, what can we expect from the rest of people?