Opening our eyes to the world

/ 13 February 2014

Too many people are used to thinking of the US as the epitome of achievement and enterprise. We speaking in glowing terms of the innovative energy of our economy and people, and ignore stories that come from other contexts. Never mind that there’s a growing digital divide between the US and the kinds of net speeds offered elsewhere. Never mind that there are countries (not just in Europe) who offer their citizens better health, social amenities and culture. When are we going to open our eyes and take off the blinders that inherited privilege and dominance have created? I was struck by this story, which notes how

Teams of volunteer translators work to render US and European political and tech media into Chinese – one community, Yeeyan, features more than 100,000 registered translators. Other teams work to subtitle US television programming in Chinese within 12 hours of broadcast. Information in the other direction is brokered by small, underfunded, hardworking projects like Tea Leaf Nation, which provide great translation and contextualization of Chinese stories for the small audiences interested in them.

We have no understanding, we don't even have basic awareness, of what is going on in other parts of the world, because we think the "world wide web" has disclosed reality to us -- even though most often we are only looking at that which we already understand and with which we feel comfortable.

Of course, that same web is what brought this story to me -- and there are ways to help each other expand our awareness and invite dissonant ideas into reflection. Why not take a moment and visit Tea Leaf Nation? or Global Voices Online? and challenge your current view of the world?