When I was growing up in the American South, we took pride in our regional slogan… American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. For those of you who may not be familiar with the slogan, which appears on hats, bumper stickers, T-Shirts, etc., it may not be too meaningful. Basically, it was our way of saying that you were born American by accident, basically, but God blessed you by putting you in the South. At TEDxRamallah, one of the presenters (I think it was a TED video) talked about how young people today are more likely to self-select as global citizens than Americans. On this site, the paper abstract references the fact that 69% of American self-select as global citizens.
Call me out of touch, but I find it pretty hard to believe. But if true, I wonder what those numbers look like in the South. In Alabama, as a youth, we were first Southern, then American, then anything else. I had classmates with classic Italian names, French names, everything and never had any idea. It was interesting how we were all Southern first. The globe, the rest of the world, was a very far off place. So how, then, has the trend toward globalization affected Alabama? Last summer, when we were in the US, the small town we were in had no view of the rest of the world. They were 30 minutes from anywhere and anywhere wasn’t even a big town… I can’t see people there identifying themselves as global citizens. In New York, sure, Chicago, absolutely. But in small town Alabama, I seriously doubt it.
It is an interesting idea though. The Beans are definitely global citizens. They’ve lived in the US and in Jordan. They consider both home. They learn about countries around the world and their impact on them. They definitely don’t view the world as a one-dimensional place where they grow up and live all of their lives. So how will that impact how they relate tot he world? What will being a global citizen mean to the concepts of nationalism and local pride? It will be interesting to see how this new generation feels about their home country (ies).
Any younger folks out there have thoughts on this? We old fogies find this new world hard to relate to. How do you see yourself? What is your citizenship? Are you a global citizen? If so, what does that mean to your relationship with your home state?