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No man is an island entire unto himself. Interdependence is a fact of life. Our everyday experience is actually very "multicultural"! The following story illustrates how multicultural our everyday lives really are!


The "All American" teenager wakes up in the morning on a bed built on a pattern that originated in northern Africa. He or she climbs out of the sheets made of cotton, originally domesticated in Asia (India), and from under the blankets of wool, also originating in Asia. She or he slips on moccasins, invented by the Native Americans of North America, and goes to the bathroom to wash with soap invented by the Phoenicians of northern Africa. The "All American" teenager slips off pajamas, a garment invented in Asia (India); and puts on Levi jeans, which originated with a Jewish peddler from Europe (Germany) named Levi Strauss; a shirt of silk, the use of which was discovered in Asia (China); and sneakers with soles of rubber, which was discovered by the Native Americans of South America (Brazil).

As he or she goes downstairs, the teenager glances through the window of glass, invented by the Romans in southern Europe; and decides to bring an umbrella, invented in southeast Asia, to school because it is raining. She or he tries to decide whether to have an egg, from a bird (chicken) originally domesticated in East Asia, and bagel, a bread originated by Jewish Europeans (Germans); or a waffle, invented in northern Europe (Sweden), and maple syrup, invented by the Native Americans of North America. He or she finally decides to have just a glass of juice made from oranges, originally cultivated in Asia (China); and thin strips of the flesh of an animal (pig) domesticated in East Asia, which have been salted and smoked by a process developed in northern Europe.

Before walking to school he or she swallows a vitamin pill, invented by a man from Europe (Poland); grabs some extra paper, invented in Africa; puts a stamp on a letter of application to a university, first developed in Africa; and makes a quick call to a friend to make after-school plans for a hamburger, which originated in Europe (Germany); with ketchup, invented in Asia (China); mustard, invented in Europe (France); and pickle, invented in Europe (Holland); plus fries, made from potatoes which were originally cultivated by Native Americans; and a Coke, made from a plant first grown in South America (Peru).

In closing the outside door, she or he breathes a sigh of relief at being truly an "All American" teenager!

Source: Hallie Ann Wannamaker, Multicultural Activities for the American History Classroom, West Nyack, NY: The Center for Applied Research in Education, 1996, p.9.


What does this story suggest about the impact one nation has on another and on the rest of the world?

If you were a school official, an entrepreneur, an engineer, or a government official, how would you keep up with developments around the world and in key countries?

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