Recently, I heard an articulation where a colleague made an evaluative statement about how international scholars present their research in such and such way, and how as an American, this scholar thought that this was an inferior way to present research compared to the American way, with the implied assumption that the American way is the "correct" way. This statement was followed by a qualifier about ethnocentrism.
As somebody who often has had to deal with the international label (although I do have a US citizenship) in the past, I remember often having to just put up with arrogant and demeaning comments such as this from colleagues. However, the timing of this statement is appalling, given the growing presence of international scholars in the communication discipline, the increasing calls for internationalization, the fall of the US empire precisely because of this arrogance, and as exemplified in most recent years, the global criticism of this sort of US ethnocentrism. As depicted in the Pew Survey, large proportions of the world are sick and tired of the "We are better than the rest of the world" American attitude, which comes from ignorance rather than from any meaningful knowledge about the rest of the world. In my experiences travelling and living in many parts of the world, I have learned that people often think that Americans are both ignorant and full of themselves.
As our national and international associations discuss more about internationalization, it is important to voice this reminder that much more than looking for economic opportunities in an international scale (such as finding students from China and India because they can pay the tuitions at our Universities because domestic students can't seem to afford these tuitions in the present economy), internationalization is about countering the prevailing attitudes in the US that have earned Americans the label of "Ugly Americans" and about being open to respecting the "other." Countering this label is not about using some public relations strategy directed outward or about some big marketing campaign, but about fundamentally asking what earns Americans this label? Working on the "Ugly American" image calls for self reflection, self critique, and a look inward to interrogate the attitude of arrogance that fundamentally underlies the tendency to somehow judge other cultures as regressive. It is only when such reflections can happen that spaces can be opened up for appreciating the beauty in the many ways of doing things (including presentations) across the globe.