I had my mind blown in class the other day. Apparently the map (the Mercator map) we’ve all been taught in school and are so accustomed to viewing has been one big fat Eurocentric lie. This post is an example of how we must always question our knowledge and the authority behind the knowledge being distributed. If this wasn’t brought to my attention, I would have gone on living without realizing that the way I pictured the world in my mind was actually so far from the truth.
Watch this 4 minute clip to have your mind blown as well:
So here’s what’s wrong with the Mercator map in a nutshell: not only is it wrong in it’s portrayal of countries and continents, it also fosters a European imperalistic attitudes wherein bigger countries situated at the top of the map tend to be equated with more power and smaller countries situated at the bottom tend to be equated with lesser power. Doing so results in the creation of ethnic biases against developing countries which, in addition to other factors, could be a result of this top-bottom hierarchical depiction of power.
This is how our maps should be taught, using the Peter’s projection:
While that video was so great, I cringed every time the term “Third World” was spoken. We need to stop using that label people. It’s an outdated, classification system from old geopolitical standards that are no longer relevant or have any basis today. Worse still, it reinforces the top-bottom mentality we are desperately trying to remove from our thought process.
A more politically correct term that won’t make people’s blood boil would be “developing countries”.
“Many nations are described as ‘underdeveloped’. These less wealthy nations are generally those that suffered under colonialism and neo-colonialism. The ‘developed’ nations are those that exploited their resources and wealth. Therefore, rather than referring to these countries as ‘underdeveloped’, a more appropriate and meaningful designation might be ‘over exploited’. Again, transpose this term next time you read about the ‘underdeveloped nations’ and note the different meaning that results.”
– Robert B. Moore