North America Divided
Why do people in the United States not know very much about either Canada or Mexico, countries with which we share long borders?
September 6, 2013
When anyone looks at a map of North America you see three bold lines separating three large countries, Canada up top, Mexico down below, and The United States of America sandwiched in the middle. These three border countries share a continent of 9,540,000 square miles and have the same oceans as borders but still do not know much about each other's country besides where they are located. People in the United States do not know much about Mexico or Canada because of the cultural divide of education and how we source our information and preconceived ideas of our nearby residents. From an early age Americans are taught the history of the United States and the education typically begins with either Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage to the Americas or the prehistory of the Native Indians. From the Colonial period up until now most are educated on the rich history of the US with wars fought and struggles overcame. History and Government classes are main staples that rarely discuss our border countries. Geography was the only class that I personally received from K-12 that even mentioned our neighbors. From Geography the only lesson was we were very different climate wise. Mexico has extreme heat while Canada has extreme cold. Besides that knowledge we are brain-washed by media to believe Mexico is a scary drug country while Canada is free and peaceful. With lack the of education the cultural divide then stems to politics. America and Mexico political structure claims they are democracy while Canada is parliament/ socialist. With the repeated corruption of Mexico's government it leads one to believe they aren't as friendly as Canada that is always out of the news and remains solitaire. Mexico has nine of the most dangerous cities in the world and their corrupt government. The violence is mostly drug related. The drug business for Mexico represents around $50 billion, according to researcher and author, Charles Bowden. He states, "Obviously, no one knows the full extent. That's a lot of money, more than tourism and remittances, which are two basic sources other than oil for the entry of foreign currency into Mexico. How is that money used? Payoffs to police and politicians perhaps, payoffs to border guards perhaps, saved in tunnels and safe houses for future use?" (Bowden, 2011) This is why we choose to not expand our knowledge about a country that only looks out for themselves. The books we choose to read and the television