Hey guys, if you read my previous blog post you would know that we have been learning about the effects of nationalism around the world. If you haven’t read it I suggest that you go over there and read it since it explains a major part of my project. Here’s the link. Anyways, since this is PLP we couldn’t just learn about Nationalism, take a test on it and be done. We had to answer a driving question of course, for this project it was: How can we use current memes to comment on the significance and consequences of nationalism around the world? You may be thinking ‘all you have to do is make memes about nationalism? That’s soooooooooo easy.” But you would be wrong. Before we could even start to think about memes we first had to understand what nationalism was.
When you hear nationalism you probably think of it as either another word for patriotism or the idea that your nation is better than other. Although both are good guesses they aren’t completely correct. Nationalism is taking pride and striving for the interests of your own nation. Although this is close to patriotism the difference between them is patriotism is about pride in one country and nationalism is about a nation which can, however, sometimes be a country as well. Confusing right? I thought so too, but a great way to think about it is a nation is a group of people with similar beliefs that usually emerges from a sense of belonging between the people.
The first meme I made is about the colonization of the First Nations in North America by the Catholic Church at the time. I think this meme helps answer the driving question by commenting on the church’s complete disregard for the culture and land of the First Peoples because of their Nationalist and Colonialist attitudes. It shows the consequences of nationalism by hinting at the fact that the church ended up coming in and taking the children of First Nations to Residential Schools to spread their religion and beliefs to them.
The next meme I made focuses more on the big picture of nationalism and how it affects people in general. In the meme there’s a man that’s sitting at a table with a sign that reads: We’re the best, Change my mind. I feel like this meme is really good at answering the driving question because it shows the main idealism behind almost all conflicts that involved nationalism. It shows the mindset that makes people do crazy things in the name of their nation. They think they are better than everyone else and will fight anyone who says otherwise.
The final meme I made focuses on the main idea of nationalism and how it impacts us as people. I used this format because most of the examples of extreme nationalism had one thing in common and that was the feeling of power people get when they’re in a group that is ‘supposedly’ better than another group. One of the main example I can think of is during the 1870’s when Africa was split up between the European powers to be colonized so they could get their resources. In one of these places the people would work for hours to harvest rubber from rubber trees to meet their quota. If they didn’t their hands could be chopped off by the guards who monitored them who would in exchange get a bonus. Most people could never even think about doing that to another person but because these guards thought of themselves as better and sometimes didn’t even see these people as humans (with an added bonus for getting hands) they didn’t have too much of a problem with it.
In conclusion, nationalism has played a huge part in history, it’s what gets us to fight for what we believe in. However, that isn’t always a good thing. Our pride in our nations and beliefs may become so inflated that we could turn to colonialism and start to force our beliefs onto others. That is only one of many consequences of nationalism but some can be good as well. So to answer the driving question, we can use meme formats that already convey a specific feeling to help spread a message about the significance and consequences of nationalism.