Sunday, August 09, 2020

Jorge Castañeda's America through Foreign Eyes

I read Jorge Castañeda's America through Foreign Eyes, and since I was asked to review it, I will keep this brief and let you click on that when it's ready for clicking. Castañeda knows the U.S. very well, and is in a good position to tell us something about ourselves. And he clearly likes the U.S. a lot.

The one point that the average American would do well to take from this book is the dangerous absurdity of exceptionalism. We think we're exceptional when we're not, often creating our beliefs by conveniently leaving out key facts. I mean, don't talk about democracy and equality unless you explicitly say you mean only whites. Castañeda, like so many others, is frustrated by these beliefs and sees them as an obstacle to Americans themselves.

I will also say that Castañeda is optimistic about how we can change. He often seemed more optimistic than me. So I hope the outsider view is getting something I am missing.


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