United States of Mexico

Immerse immigrant students in American culture, writes Aaron Hanscom, a substitute elementary teacher in mostly Hispanic schools, in the Orange County Register. Most of his students say “Los Angeles” or “California” when asked what country they live in.

Feeling a little love for America doesn’t require erasing one’s Mexican culture. Let’s teach students patriotic songs like “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.” Let’s make sure they are clear that George Washington is not the current president. Let’s have them learn to name all 50 states.

Hanscom tells students they live in the United States of America and asks them to name some states. Invariably, they say “Mexico.”

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  1. The ignorance of today’s high school students in SoCal is exceeded only by their lack of intellectual curiosity.

  2. This might seem to be a statement about immigrants to the U.S., although I wonder how many native born non-Hispanic Americans would answer the same thing. And I’ve seen Chinese elementary students identify “Beijing” as the name of their country. And that’s not because they have a particularly big immigrant problem there.

  3. Ask them when Mexico became a state…

  4. In fairness to the kids, there is that confusing “New Mexico” state.

    Which is neither new, nor Mexico, but that’s another matter.

  5. For TypeKey victim WahooFive:

    Perhaps part of the confusion is just language. The word “state” in most languages means “sovereign country” — and it used to in English: the phrase “United States” was intended to suggest a loose confederation of separate countries, like today’s European Union. Whereas modern Americans think of “state” as meaning “administrative region” (similar to “county”), it’s easy to imagine that distinction might be lost on someone whose first language isn’t English. So referring to Mexico as a “state” isn’t entirely ridiculous.

    (P.S. we still use the word “state” that way in English: consider the phrase “State of Israel”)