Thursday, May 25, 2006

Culture Clash

When the English first came to North America, they conquered land. When the Spaniards first came to North America, they conquered people. The causes of this are probably in some history of the old continent, but I only care about the effects on the new.

The English built walls and fences of stone and wood to stake their claims, saying, "This is my land, here, within this boundary. I don't care if you were here first; get out." This method of declaring ownership of land is still very much in effect in the U.S.

The Spaniards built missions and declared, "I don't care if you had your own religion and culture; you must now become proper Christian Spaniards." And the conquerors soon has plenty of laborers.

Of course, any native in either situation who disagreed had an appointment with the conqueror's military.

Do you yet see where I'm going with this? Of course you do: U.S.-Mexico relations and that whole immigration thing. The Mexicans have the cultural history of just walking to a new place and saying, "You must now become good Mexicans." The U.S. have the cultural history of building a wall (or just drawing a line on a map) and expecting everybody to stay out.

Where do we go from here? I don't know. But first we might want to recognize that not only don't we speak the same language, we don't speak the same culture.

1 comment:

Chandira said...

English people do that.. it's what we're good at, we used to have to keep the Scots out. ;-)

Eddie Izzard did a whole thing on that, but you can't claim a country unless you stick a flag in it.. I think that was on the 'Glorious' dvd. Scarecrow has it I'm sure..