Friday, March 20, 2015

Teachable Moment, Cultural Exasperation

I had to get the news late. Earlier this week, a student responded to a question about what nationalism was. Her take was what I thought better termed patriotism...pride in a nation-state and belief in its explicitly stated values. I was going for nationalism in the sense articulated by George Orwell; nationalists see their own nation as superior to others and “the smallest slur upon his own unit (nation), or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort.”


I hope she got my point during class.  But, sad developments in the larger community offered up a really great/awful teachable moment.  A few days after class, Pine Bush, NY flared up again into quasi-national prominence for an ugly development.

Simply, to acknowledge cultural diversity, a student group read the US Pledge of Allegiance one day in Arabic.

This image says it all about the response of many in the community and has now become my teaching example for the difference between patriotism and nationalism.

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