Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Why The Ignorance About Canada?

You long time TransGriot readers have probably noticed that I write a lot of posts geared toward our northern neighbors.

It's not an accident. Even before I ended up with a dear friend who resides north of the border I was fascinated by the Great White North. I noted as an African American the close cultural, spiritual and historic ties we share with our African descended brothers and sisters north of the border.

The Canadians are our largest international trading partner, and we share a long 5000 kilometer (3145 mile) border with them stretching from the Arctic Ocean along the Alaskan frontier, through the Pacific Northwest, passing through the Great Lakes and eventually ending at the Atlantic Ocean.

So it amazes me sometimes just how ignorant some Americans are about basic Canadian geography, much less their politics and their culture.

There are Canadians who can break down the US political system better than American natives and know our capital is in Washington DC. I'm willing to bet my next paycheck that many Americans not only couldn't tell you what the capital of Canada is but find it on a map.

Hint, it's in Ontario. And no it ain't Toronto. That's Ontario's provincial capital.

Speaking of provincial capitals, how many Americans can tell you what those provincial capitals are, much less name the provinces and territories off the top of their heads?

In terms of politics, who is the Prime Minister of Canada? What party does he belong to? Can you name the five major Canadian political parties? You get bonus points if you can name the leaders of those five parties as well.

And who is the current Governor General of Canada and what is the significance of the job?

Like I said, Canadians not only can tell you that, they can break down our politics as well.

When you have the second largest nation on the planet next door to you, it behooves you to know as much about them as they know about us.

For example, one thing you can't underestimate is a Canadian's love for Tim Horton's. They're a quintessential slice of Canadiana that symbolizes 'home' to just about every Canuck living inside or outside of the Great White North.

Timmy's coffee's is the bomb, too.

Wanna make an expat Canadian your BFF? Find a way to get them some Timmy's coffee.

I guess because I'm a person who wants to be informed, desires to be able to intelligently converse with anyone on the planet on any issue, maybe mine is a minority opinion.

Hey, they're our neighbors, and we should know as much about Canada as possible instead of walking around in ignorance. Maybe some Americans feel comfortable wallowing in it, but I'm not one of them.

On that note, in honor of Canada Day, I'm going to do some more reading on famous Black Canadians. It'll also be checking the Timmy's website to see how close one is to Louisville.

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