Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Educating the Masses (A Quick World Geography Lesson...)

So today I'm gonna do my husband a little favor and give my fellow Americans a quick lesson in World Geography (Rochelle, let Jason know this is for him, too!).  I won't say why I'm bringing this up today, but let's just say I'm reasonably certain that this is not being taught properly in American schools, threatening to ruin our long-standing relationship with our closest ally.

I am talking about the United Kingdom and all of its parts.  If we fall out of favor, what would we do without Masterpiece Theater?  Posh and Becks?  Cadbury?  Dr. Who?  Madonna?  And do you have any idea just how many of the television shows we produce ourselves in the US were actually based on shows previously and originally created by the folks across the pond?  What on earth would we do without those?  I think we'd be forced to revert to new programming, the likes of Starsky and Hutch, Man from Atlantis, Happy Days...

So, in an effort to promote peace, here we go...

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Ireland (Eire) are all countries.  That's right, folks, they are each separate and individual countries. 

Great Britain is comprised of England, Scotland and Wales.

The United Kingdom is actually a "sovereign state" (don't worry, that won't be on the quiz...), more formally known as The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Still with me here?

Ireland (Eire) is a completely separate country, not in the United Kingdom. 

Okay?

Now, just to reiterate and check for understanding:

*  England is a country.  Here is the flag of England (the symbol is known as the St. George's Cross):



* Scotland is a country.  Here is the flag of Scotland:



* Wales is a country.  Here is the flag of Wales:

* Contrary to what many, many people think, this is NOT the flag of England:


It is the flag of the United Kingdom (hint:  see how it contains elements of the flag of England and the flag of Scotland?  Wales is not represented due to factors in play at the time the flag was designed...).

I think it's time we begin to practice Country First language.  England is a country.  A person from England is English first, British second.  Call Steve British, and he'll be quick to correct you, to tell you he's English.  Why shouldn't he be allowed to feel pride in his country?  Sometimes we Americans can be pretty self-centered to think that downplaying the importance of someone else's national origin shouldn't be offensive to someone.  I won't even go into the cringe-worthy pain and offense he feels when people think it's funny to mimic his accent.  It's not.   

In teaching school children, I think this distinction should be made.  It doesn't have to be a complicated lesson, but it does have to be something that is understood.

'nuff said.

Okay, now, back to your regularly-scheduled airing of the Golden Globes... 

17 comments:

Jody said...

omg - I am going to my world map (which hangs in the kitchen) right now and writing this down for my kiddos. This is all news to me. Thanks so much. I will also send this post to my kiddos - 17 and 16.

Alicia Llanas said...

i guess i was teached well at my school :) and now that you touched a very sensitive subject,

why you 'people from USA' call your country America and yourself americans, if America is the whole continent, and we ALL live in America, and we ALL are americans, yes, even if we live in Mexico :)

and Mexico is not in Central America, and neither in South America, is in North America too

could you include that in the quiz? hehe

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those uneducated Americans who was always fuzzy on the differences! Thanks for clarifying. Though I still am a little fuzzy on this lesson I will work hard to learn. I promise!

Becca said...

Jody & Anon - excellent!! Then this post was for you! Glad to have passed the lesson on effectively!

Alicia - YES! I almost addressed that in the post, too. :-) Well said - Thank You!!!

sally carter said...

I currently live in Guernsey. It's a small island which is part of the British Isles (down at the bottom of the map of Britain, geographically closer to France). However, Guernsey is not part of the United Kingdom, and technically not part of the EU, leaving me with all sorts of education / special needs issues among other problems!

Deryck said...

Now I think you're letting folk off too easily. What about the status of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man? :)

Becca said...

Sally - I was thinking about you when I wrote this! I had no idea what to say about that...LOL

Becca said...

Deryck - that may have to be a whole 'nother post!! Gotta educate *myself* on that, first... :-)

Steve said...

It's the Hubby here. I thought the Channel Islands were Jersey and Guernsey? Something about and Island group ( Archipelago) of British Crown Dependants. As for the Isle of man, it is a self-governing Crown Dependency of the United Kingdom. Before anybody asks...... No I did not know all of that off the top of my head. I looked it up. Just to take it a little further.... The Isle of Wight is actually a County. It was established as such in 1890. Before that, it was part of Hampshire.

Tara Marie said...

Love it. My Mother is from Ireland, my sister-in-law is from England and my Best Friend is from Scotland. I get it.

But I do want to clarify one thing.....as you don't want to piss Clint Eastwood off, but Madonna is from Bay City, MI and her father [who is from Italy] worked for Chrysler. Madonna is not *British* other than by 'association'......

:)

Becca said...

LOL - the thing about Madonna was a joke - she *thinks* she's English these days. ;-)

Rochelle said...

Great geography lesson. Much applause from the English over here! :)

Anna said...

my head is still spinning. It will take me a few more read throughs to get it. Thank you for the lesson.

CJ said...

When I started getting International families signing up for the Traveling Afghan Project, I realized how sorely stupid I am at geography! If Steve wants to take over organizing families into the correct localities, he's more than welcome, I'm sure I've screwed it up and offended SOMEONE!

lovemy3 said...

Thank you for the geography lesson. I have to admit though, I was laughing while reading this. Something had to trigger this today :-)

krlr said...

Hysterical. Slightly unrelated side story, since you mentioned Eire. My folks were traveling thru Ireland and stopped in (somewhere? county clerk? local church?) since my bleeding potatoes Irish grandmother was from those parts. They asked about her maiden name and the clerk said, slightly horrified, "but that's an ENGLISH name". Needless to say that wasn't reported back.

Lexi said...

I don't care where they're from, I'm not letting their soldiers board at my house.