Monday, June 26, 2006

Don't hate me because I'm American

It’s hip to be Anti-American in New Zealand. Or so says this recent piece in the Christian Science Monitor: Kiwis have turned sour on Americans.

The article introduces Gregg Smith an American who has lived in NZ since 2005 where he works as a teacher. Smith has filed a lawsuit with the Human Rights Commission because people give him a hard time about being American.

Smith says: "It can't be just personal - it has to come from a wider concept about what America is and isn't. But how did that happen?"

Of course the article goes on to reveal declining American approval rating abroad such as a drop in Kiwis’ approval from 54% in ‘01 to 29% in ’06. Big whoop! Isn’t this the same story in our own country?

Maybe it is personal Gregg. Maybe your students don’t like you because you spell your name with two “G’s.” By the way I’m not your typical “Greg.” I’m Gregg with two “G’s.” The way I see it - Gregg is Greg with 25% more work.

I spent some time in NZ and the people there were awesome to me. Of course in Gregg’s defense, I wasn’t in much contact with school kids who are highly trained at the sticks and stones game.

Maybe Gregg has BUSH tattooed on his forehead or flaunts his politics in and out of the classroom, which is a bad idea no matter what country you are from. I find it hard to believe that I would be treated any differently today than I was treated when I was in NZ three years ago. People see people as people not as extensions of a nation’s government to be scorned.

Regardless of why Kiwis don’t like Gregg, I would like to offer him some advice:

Gregg you’re Rubber, they’re Glue.

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