Cartographers for Social Equality – The West Wing

hi I'm sorry oh sorry you late no prob I'm CJ Cregg where's you are i'm dr. john fallow the dr. cynthia sales send professor donald yuke yuke yuke okay and you are the organization of cartographers for social equality well we're we're from the OCSE we have many members how many 4,300 dues-paying members what are the dues now $20 a year for the newsletter let's start wait wait I wanna see this this is Josh Lyman did you or Josh this is dr. fallow and Mike News Merry Men should we begin yes Wayne a simple uh we'd like president Bartlet to aggressively support legislation that would make it mandatory for every public school in America to teach geography using the Peters projection map instead of the traditional Mercator give me 200 bucks and it's done really No why are we changing maps because CJ the Mercator projection has fostered European imperialist attitudes for centuries and created an ethnic bias against a third world really the german cartographer Mercator originally designed this map in 1569 as a navigational tool for European sailors the map enlarges areas at the poles to create straight lines of constant bearing or geographic direction so it makes it easier to cross an ocean but yes it distorts the relative size of nations and continents are you saying the map is wrong oh dear yes now look at Greenland okay now look at Africa okay you two land masses appear to be roughly the same size yes what a blow your mind how I told you that Africa is in reality 14 times larger yes here we have Europe drawn considerably larger than South America when it's six point nine million square miles South America has almost double the size of Europe's 3.8 million Alaska appears three times as large as Mexico when Mexico is larger by 0.1 million square miles Germany appears in the middle of the mat once in the northernmost quarter of the earth-boy a relative size is one thing but you're telling me that Germany isn't where we think it is nothing is where you think it is where is it I'm glad you asked the Peters projection it has fidelity of access fidelity of position east-west lines are parallel and intersect north-south axes at right angles what tell is that it's where you've been living this whole time should we continue uh-huh so you're probably wondering what all of this has to do with social equality no I'm wondering where France really is guys we want to thank you very much for coming in hang on we're gonna finish this okay what do maps have to do with social equality you asked she asked Salvatore Anatoly of the National Council for social studies argues in our society we unconsciously equate size with importance and even power I'm gonna check in on timing go these guys find Brigadoon on that map you'll call me right probably not okay when third world countries are misrepresented they're likely to be valued less when we're cater maps exaggerate the importance of Western civilization when the top of the map is given him northern hemisphere and the bottom is given to the southern then people will tend to adopt top and bottom attitudes but wait at Worlds could you put the northern hemisphere but on the top on the bottom how like this yeah but you can't do that why not cuz it's freaking me out

26 thoughts on “Cartographers for Social Equality – The West Wing

  • just gonna leave it here that I find it funny they bring this up but…all three presenters are white. i'm sure if this show were redone today they'd have a mix instead.

  • The problem is ignorance. I was in elementary school in the seventies, in a small school district, in a backwater state. We (yes, even we) were taught about the difference in map projections. We had several different projections presented to us from the very beginning of our education on maps and history (around the third grade) until the sixth grade. These differentiations were mentioned by every teacher I had after that as well. Ignorance is the problem, not the successes of cartographers who made maps that mariners were able to follow. Mercatur saved many millions of dollars and possibly many, many lives with his successful attempt at making a map projection (not map, projection) for the purpose of navigation. Ignorance is the problem.

  • The Mercator projection best demonstrates shape and the Robinson projection best demonstrates size. You can’t have both because a globe is round and a map is flat. Also most countries in the world are in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Northern Hemisphere has a celestial pole, Polaris, while the Southern Hemisphere does not.

  • To be fair, when I was growing up I used to think that Greenland could be classed as a continent because Australia with New Zealand and a few other islands are classed as one…but then I read the country area sizes a few geography lessons down the line!

  • I guess it's safe to say that the best map in the world is the world itself. It's a shame that we can only get a reasonable view of Earth from a reasonable distance from it in space…

  • It's a question that only matters for some left-leaning westerners. No one has ever forbidden anyone in asia or africa to draw their map according that their own center and visualization of the world.
    People who populated the Americas in the second half of the second millienial where following mercator projection because it IS one of the best for navigation and since navigators and explorators where the ones to use this projection and import it on the other side of the atlantic, well everyone started using it and drawing newer maps with more details according to this projection too. After all, those people were the people that made the country they live in (USA) so powerful, so rich and so confortable for them that they have time to be paid criticizing it, it's somewhat paradoxical after all.

  • I mean, this was played for laughs, right? They didn't try to present this to the viewers as a serious topic, did they?

  • I forgot how much I miss this show. Pithy, sharp and intelligent writing delivered by brilliant actors. Great episode. Yes I come from that down under place or that up over place???..anyway Australia.

  • Poll 100 people and see how many think Greenland is bigger than Australia.  Probably 95 or more.  Are they dumb?  Or have them been biased by biased cartography?

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