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So in the royal thread there’s been stated that Americans come off poorly quite often overseas.
 

so tell me what it is. 
 

are these impressions firsthand or influenced by Americans in media? 
 

So how can i improve my impressions? (General terms)

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The discussion isn't are all Americans like this or do the non-Americans on the board think this is what all Americans are like. The discussion is why do those who generalize think this way. Amer

I am not wasting time on disclaimers, since you all know that lumping people into a group doesn't account for the individual. But here's what comes to mind (and when I say "Americans", I obviously do

Don't shoot the messenger; these are not all my opinions: On a geopolitical level: interfering in the affairs of other countries (friend or foe) and generally throwing weight around.  Dominant co

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I am not wasting time on disclaimers, since you all know that lumping people into a group doesn't account for the individual. But here's what comes to mind (and when I say "Americans", I obviously do not mean every single one):

Americans are often loud and carry themselves with high self confidence, take up space, etc - that's noticeable in their behavior. Another issue is that many Americans hold America as the gold standard, Gods own country, that cannot possibly learn from somebody else.  I am an immigrant and have been told to "go back home if you don't like how we do things here", when I suggested one might look how other countries address certain problems. Many Americans cannot grasp that there are many different ways to do things, and that just because something is done differently in another country it is necessarily inferior. If one travels with this attitude, it shows. 

Be humble. Make the effort to learn some of the host country's language, even just a few phrases. Accept that things are differently and don't pitch a fit when things aren't done the American way.

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5 minutes ago, StellaM said:

OK, let me preface by saying that there is a lot I admire about America/American culture. 

For starters, nearly all my favourite poets are American. Many of my favourite novelists. Essayists. Musicians. Your art culture is vibrant. 

I have American friends (Americans who now live or have lived in AU) who are the loveliest people. I have never cried so hard as I did when one of my American friends left for the States.

My favourite posters here are American (and Canadian, and Australian!)

Phew. (Hope no-one will jump on me now!)

I grew up in a culture of some pretty explicit anti-Americanism, that grew out of US soldiers during WW11 taking their R&R in AU cities (Just for historical context). During the 80's, a lot of it was focused on American militarism, the presence of American military and the perception of being dragged into American wars (more recent historical context). Increased American content sold to us. 

So there's a background feeling of being used and marketed to, in the guise of an allyship that's pretty much lip service post WW.

When Americans are criticised here, it seems to be when they are unaware of the people around them. I'll give you a petty example. We get a  lot of cruise ships in. Quite often, when Americans are off the ship, they seem to lack spatial awareness of the people in the city going about their business. They block footpaths. They're loud. They don't appear to have much sense of being guests. This doesn't happen in the same way or to the same extent with tourists of other nationalities. I wonder if some US tourists are just used to taking up a lot more space ? 

Although a petty example, I think it can stand in for a lot of the things people object to (when they do object, which is clearly not always, see above :)) Not standing back and respecting the culture you just arrived in, sort of a cultural stomping over it in some ways. Feeling free to comment on what they see, regardless of whether its culturally appropriate. Being loud, being overbearing in manner. 

If I had to give advice (which I honestly wouldn't, except you asked, as clearly many Americans work this out for themselves, see above, clever etc) it would be to travel with knowledge. Understand, to the best of your ability, the culture you are travelling to. Don't just see it as a stop for you to see a koala and take some pictures of the Harbour Bridge, but understand this is people's home, and that it's also Aboriginal land (always was, always will be- yep, even in the city).Moderate your loudness (if you are loud), be aware that people are trying to get to work, or grocery shop or get to class or whatever. Walk on the left of the footpath! Enter into your travels with some understanding of how your country is viewed and experienced elsewhere. Be less hasty to talk about yourself and your experiences, and more willing to listen to the stories of the people in whose land you are in. 

Again - I know, love, like and appreciate many things about America/Americans! Nobody jump on me please. I am willing to bet most posters here do not behave like our cruise friends. The above is clearly a generalisation, and only offered because it was asked for.

(The excessive disclaimers I felt I had to do there ? We also often find Americans thin-skinned, especially when it comes to the US. You don't need to provide disclaimers the other way round. In AU, we are good at laughing at ourselves. Want to tell us we come there and behave like Aussie bogans ? We'll agree, make a joke about it, probably turn it into a funny meme. So last bit of advice ? Don't be too thin-skinned, it's hardly ever personal)

 

No, there are a lot of people, right here in the US, where they live, who are selfishly ignorant of whatever else other people are doing in the same space.  They have no regard for anyone around them when they stop to do ANYTHING.  In the grocery store, they stop to look at the cans of diced tomatoes, and they leave their shopping cart all cockeyed in the middle of the aisle, so there's really no way to get around them, and then don't even notice there are people waiting to go around them until someone is practically tapping them on the shoulder to ask them to move.  It's something I work on, hard, with my kids....paying attention to other folks around them, being polite about the space around them, etc etc.  It's one of the things that drives me totally insane and I live here in the US lol.

(I will say though.........I am loud.  I have a naturally high volume and I do try to moderate it but really, I am 42 and no matter how much I work on it.....I just speak loudly.  Most folks who know me will agree.......I am just loud.  At this point, it just is what it is.  I try, but I fail, and I try again.)

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Don't shoot the messenger; these are not all my opinions:

On a geopolitical level: interfering in the affairs of other countries (friend or foe) and generally throwing weight around.  Dominant countries have always done this; secondary countries have never much liked it.

On a cultural level: (lots of good reasons for this = size of country, tradition of 'melting pot') assuming that other countries must (or should) operate like America.  Particularly visible when referring to other English-speaking countries ('two countries divided by a common language,' and all that).  An example might be seeing individualism as necessarily the best mode and considering a more communitarian ethos as borderline immoral.  Talking about America being 'the greatest country in the world'.  That sounds rude to many people from other countries, unless prefaced by 'in my opinion'.

On a personal level (bear in mind that I am married to an American who has lived outside the US for thirty years and has experienced his share of reactions to his Americanness/done his share of adapting): Americans seem usually very nice but ultra-confident and in-your-face, the confidence including, for some, the confessional style (others should be interested in everything I am experiencing).  Physically, Americans use larger gestures and tend to talk louder (I live in a tourist town so have daily evidence of this).  It feels as if they can unintentionally suck all the air out of the room.

Honestly: don't worry about it too much as a tourist.  Voice down would be good though.

Edited by Laura Corin
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59 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

are these impressions firsthand or influenced by Americans in media? 


Both. People tend to notice the bad stuff more and Americans generally come off as more arrogant, and oblivious. China Chinese tourists have a similar reputation. 

I think Stephen Covey’s HABIT 5: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD® (https://www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits/habit-5.html) is useful regardless of nationality/race/gender. Think of yourself as a guest whenever you are outside your home also helps. 

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Regarding Americans blocking sidewalks, shopping aisles, etc - speaking as a New Yorker, this is probably the result of most Americans not being pedestrians. In NYC, parents and nannies and babysitters and teachers absolutely spend a considerable amount of time saying the same three things to their kids - "Walk on the right!" and "You're blocking traffic!" and the ever-popular "Let them out first!" And often people will say them to adults who rudely break the rules as well.

Consequently, we don't tend to stop on the stairs, stop when getting off the escalator, pause in the door of the elevator, or, yes, abandon our shopping carts in such a way that they utterly block the aisle at the grocery store. (Our grocery store aisles tend to be narrow, too - when I've gone to grocery stores in other places I was amazed at how much space they had, and the fact that there weren't boxes in the aisle!) I won't say it never happens, it's a big city, but when it does happen we all figure it's a tourist.

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1 minute ago, Arcadia said:


Both. People tend to notice the bad stuff more and Americans generally come off as more arrogant, and oblivious. China Chinese tourists have a similar reputation. 

 

Ha ha. In my city, it depends on the academic year. The first three weeks of semester are the worst. After that, all the students learn local manners.

 

We also often find Americans thin-skinned, especially when it comes to the US. 


Every non-American on this board uses their talking to Americans manners on here. 
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Please don’t take offence, but you asked

they come across as full of themselves,  

tyrants,

bullies, 

 

As one of my dis said when he was younger. America is like Rome, they just take whatever they want from the rest of the world, destroy countries they don’t like and steal any ideas and technology they want and claim it was their own.

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2 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

So in the royal thread there’s been stated that Americans come off poorly quite often overseas.
 

so tell me what it is. 
 

are these impressions firsthand or influenced by Americans in media? 
 

So how can i improve my impressions? (General terms)

 you can pretend you're canadian

no one will know the difference unless you're quite southern of accent or brash of character, and they'll be prejudiced in your favor instead of being prejudiced against you

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Oh brother.  This is like every annoying stereotype about Americans I’ve ever heard in one condensed format.  There are annoying tourists from many cultures I’ve encountered, especially when I was in Alaska.  The issue seems to be middle aged tourist problems more than uniquely American.  

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50 minutes ago, Melissa in Australia said:

Please don’t take offence, but you asked

they come across as full of themselves,  

tyrants,

bullies, 

 

As one of my dis said when he was younger. America is like Rome, they just take whatever they want from the rest of the world, destroy countries they don’t like and steal any ideas and technology they want and claim it was their own.

Seriously?  You’re kidding, right?  Like, that’s your impression of the random American women you know online or one you might meet in a store or on a bus?  I can’t imagine stereotyping another culture this way.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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14 minutes ago, moonflower said:

 you can pretend you're canadian

no one will know the difference unless you're quite southern of accent or brash of character, and they'll be prejudiced in your favor instead of being prejudiced against you

I do have Quite the southern accent. I am not brash though. Perhaps if I’m real nice they’ll say “I never would’ve pegged you as an American.”

like my kids get “you don’t seem like a homeschooler!” 
 

😀

I know this thread is full of stereotypes. I’m just curious about the pitfalls that we typically fall into.

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This thread is interesting to me because when I traveled internationally I always thought the Americans and Brits had more respect for queuing up and personal space than a lot of other ethnicities I came in contact with. And in Italy and Spain (generally speaking!) people that were from there were loud and boisterous compared to what I was used to in public. I mean, sure, there was the occasional stereotypical "ugly American", but it didn't seem like there were any more or less than other nationalities. :shrug:

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12 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Seriously?  You’re kidding, right?  Like, that’s your impression of the random American women you know online or one you might meet in a store or on a bus?  I can’t imagine stereotyping another culture this way.

 

15 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

So in the royal thread there’s been stated that Americans come off poorly quite often overseas.
 

so tell me what it is. 
 

are these impressions firsthand or influenced by Americans in media? 
 

So how can i improve my impressions? (General terms)

My experiences are first hand, entitlement and arrogance being the top two. I have travelled throughout the U.S., live in a country dependent on tourism, and have family married to Americans.

I don't get that impression of you at all. You seem very kind, down to earth, and self aware, or you wouldn't have started this thread.😀

 

Edited by Islandgal
Sorry, Arctic Mama, I quoted you by mistake.
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15 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Oh brother.  This is like every annoying stereotype about Americans I’ve ever heard in one condensed format.  There are annoying tourists from many cultures I’ve encountered, especially when I was in Alaska.  The issue seems to be middle aged tourist problems more than uniquely American.  

Exactly! Living in a tourist town is certainly eye opening!

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1 hour ago, Melissa in Australia said:

Please don’t take offence, but you asked

they come across as full of themselves,  

tyrants,

bullies, 

 

As one of my dis said when he was younger. America is like Rome, they just take whatever they want from the rest of the world, destroy countries they don’t like and steal any ideas and technology they want and claim it was their own.

I'm an American.  This pretty well sums us up, yeah.  I'm sorry.

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As one of my dis said when he was younger. America is like Rome, they just take whatever they want from the rest of the world, destroy countries they don’t like and steal any ideas and technology they want and claim it was their own.

 

Well, yeah. That's because we can. If it makes you feel better, I expect to outlive America's hegemony... and perhaps a bit sooner than I thought. I don't know if any of us will like what comes next, but I guess that's what makes the future exciting!

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 We have been told many times the actions of a group of people shouldn’t define a whole country/religion. Did something change and I missed the memo. 

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1 minute ago, May said:

 We have been told many times the actions of a group of people shouldn’t define a whole country/religion. Did something change and I missed the memo. 

 

Is your issues the lack of talking to Americans manners or that an American asked non-Americans not to use their talking to Americans manners for a thread?

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4 minutes ago, May said:

 We have been told many times the actions of a group of people shouldn’t define a whole country/religion. Did something change and I missed the memo. 

The discussion isn't are all Americans like this or do the non-Americans on the board think this is what all Americans are like. The discussion is why do those who generalize think this way.

Americans who can't be self-reflective about why many abroad see us this way is just indicative of why it's an ongoing issue. I think we struggle to see outside our own worldview and put ourselves in the shoes of others.

Yeah, obviously.... #notallamericans 

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7 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

These threads always need an American saviour. Thanks for doing the honours, Farrar.

When you've lived abroad, I think it makes you more aware of it. At least, I hope.

We're not the only ones who have a bad reputation in the world as travelers or international players. I think it just comes together the worst for us. 

And like Stella said upthread... some of the things that make American culture awesome and vibrant are kinda our greatest weaknesses when we approach other cultures. Plus, I always think our sheer size, diversity, and population work against us in understanding others. You can travel a lot... and never leave the country, so a lot of people do. There are a lot of us... so we aren't forced as often to consume media from elsewhere that might expand our thinking. There's already a lot of other sorts of people just inside the US... so people often tend to think they already have a sense of empathy for the other sorts of people in the world... when actually encountering people who are different because they're immigrants or visitors or racially or geographically or socioeconomically different just isn't the same because it's still all within the context of the greater American culture.

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As an American who lives in a touristy/vacationy area (a reasonable estimate of 50% of houses in my township are 2nd homes or vacation rentals) and spent a bit of time in NYC as a teenager, I absolutely agree with much of what I’m reading here.

I’ve spent a few years wishing I had the guts to make a bumper sticker that says “Some of us live here.”

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2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

No, there are a lot of people, right here in the US, where they live, who are selfishly ignorant of whatever else other people are doing in the same space.  They have no regard for anyone around them when they stop to do ANYTHING.  In the grocery store, they stop to look at the cans of diced tomatoes, and they leave their shopping cart all cockeyed in the middle of the aisle, so there's really no way to get around them, and then don't even notice there are people waiting to go around them until someone is practically tapping them on the shoulder to ask them to move.  It's something I work on, hard, with my kids....paying attention to other folks around them, being polite about the space around them, etc etc.  It's one of the things that drives me totally insane and I live here in the US lol.

I agree that this is very, very common and would be especially annoying to encounter when Americans are touristing abroad. I grew up in a US tourist town, and it was interesting to watch the non-locals.

It's actually so bad where I live at the moment that it's hard to find a "right" way to be out the way--there is no consensus on how to stay out of the way or move over politely. If you try to go to the right walking or with a shopping cart at the store, which makes sense from American roads, you find oncoming traffic is going to their left. I feel like it's actually starting to creep into traffic behavior where there are supposedly rules--there are places near me where people seem to not know stop sign rules because traffic lights are more common. Maybe we're just unpredictable all the way around as a culture. I feel like there is a lot of variation within the US on simple courtesies that make things very inconsistent.

We had a short class in high school designed to teach us things we weren't likely to see locally (place settings at super fancy restaurants, etc.) because our community was so rural. I don't know that it covered how to be less boisterous though--just how to be a little less of a country bumpkin. 

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2 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

Please don’t take offence, but you asked

they come across as full of themselves,  

tyrants,

bullies, 

 

As one of my dis said when he was younger. America is like Rome, they just take whatever they want from the rest of the world, destroy countries they don’t like and steal any ideas and technology they want and claim it was their own.

 

1 hour ago, May said:

 We have been told many times the actions of a group of people shouldn’t define a whole country/religion. Did something change and I missed the memo. 

I did ask. And I believe our boardies are realistic enough to know that Americans as a GROUP may not reflect the actions of individuals. 
 

what if find ironic in what you internationals posted is the “Americans do it better” arrogance. Because goodness knows we spend a LOT of time complaining about the state of things in our nation!!!!

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I'm an American and there are certainly many loud people who get in the way where I live, so I can see where you all are coming from. There are plenty of Americans who are quieter, more reserved and polite, but I wonder if they just get drowned out by the loud ones so that the overall impression is that of obnoxiousness?

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Oh brother.  This is like every annoying stereotype about Americans I’ve ever heard in one condensed format.  There are annoying tourists from many cultures I’ve encountered, especially when I was in Alaska.  The issue seems to be middle aged tourist problems more than uniquely American.  

 

1 hour ago, EmseB said:

Exactly! Living in a tourist town is certainly eye opening!

Oh goodness, this is true for sure.  Of Americans and of non Americans lol.  

I graduated from a high school in a very small town American sort of place.

If you have ever seen the meme of the highway sign with Brownsburg on one side and Whitestown on the other.......I lived VERY near there (though also very not near there.............which only people who have lived there will catch the irony of this.)

 

I moved to that area when I was 11ish, from suburban Columbus Ohio.  There was very much a local culture difference, and having moved back to Ohio after like 30 years, I have been reminded just what a difference it was.  Anyway....I remember working at a McDs in the area at like 16 and having MULTIPLE people, like a LOT, ask if my high school required agriculture classes to graduate.  The implication was always that our small town was so rural, so backwards, so behind, that classes on farming were required, but things like college level math, physics, language, writing....those weren't as important.

Now, of course, our school was no different than any other school in terms of meeting graduation requirements.  In fact, graduation requirements in Indiana haven't really changed much since I was 11.   And they are similar to graduation requirements across the county.  

And yet, even people within the same state.....within the same metro area....have some really stark stereotypes regarding particular areas.  

 

 

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6 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:


what if find ironic in what you internationals posted is the “Americans do it better” arrogance. Because goodness knows we spend a LOT of time complaining about the state of things in our nation!!!!


example:

After complaining about the education system, you would hear some people proclaiming that the American education system is still the best in the world because US has the most patents and successful entrepreneurs, and that internationals are trying to get into the US colleges.

After complaining about healthcare, people brag about how US pharmaceutical research is sponsoring the world by bearing the burden of cost of drugs research. 

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4 minutes ago, Selkie said:

I'm an American and there are certainly many loud people who get in the way where I live, so I can see where you all are coming from. There are plenty of Americans who are quieter, more reserved and polite, but I wonder if they just get drowned out by the loud ones so that the overall impression is that of obnoxiousness?

I would like to say, I think there's a difference between "loud" and "obnoxious."  

Which could maybe just be me trying to feel better about my volume because I know I am loud, but I hope I am not obnoxious.

Obnoxious to me is more "in your face" so to speak.  I try not to be in people's face..............I just have a high volume.  An example of what I mean.....To me, obnoxious would be answering a phone call in the middle of a restaurant, proceeding to engage in the conversation, and high volume, and discuss whatever I feel like, without regard for anything that anyone else in the restaurant might be hearing or trying not to hear.  But I wouldn't answer the call, or if I did, it would be to say "hey, can't talk, I am out, I will call you back."  The people in the restaurant will probably hear that, (even if I am trying to be quiet) but, they won't be subjected to 6 minutes of discussion about Grandma's bowel movements lol.

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13 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I moved to that area when I was 11ish, from suburban Columbus Ohio.  There was very much a local culture difference, and having moved back to Ohio after like 30 years, I have been reminded just what a difference it was.  Anyway....I remember working at a McDs in the area at like 16 and having MULTIPLE people, like a LOT, ask if my high school required agriculture classes to graduate.  The implication was always that our small town was so rural, so backwards, so behind, that classes on farming were required, but things like college level math, physics, language, writing....those weren't as important.

Now, of course, our school was no different than any other school in terms of meeting graduation requirements.  In fact, graduation requirements in Indiana haven't really changed much since I was 11.   And they are similar to graduation requirements across the county.  

And yet, even people within the same state.....within the same metro area....have some really stark stereotypes regarding particular areas.  

This is what struck me in my various world travels.  Americans will go out and think they're just being curious.  But they're making condescending assumptions about another culture and putting them out there for the whole world to see.  

So be friendly.  Ask questions. Learn about other cultures.  But be self aware. Don't assume you know something about someone you just met.  In particular if you're insinuating they are LESS than you and your culture.  Don't express opinions if you're not asked for one. Be humble and be open.  Don't act like you're in a zoo.  I don't know - I think that works in lots of settings.  Not just overseas.  We live in an urban area which has it's touristy moments so I can see that side too.

America is a world power.  We get a lot of attention in the media.  It's not surprising there is more attention and more stereotypes regarding us.  It's not really that hard.  And we are talking about stereotypes so I don't get the outrage.  It's easy enough to avoid a thread.  

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1 minute ago, StellaM said:

 

To be fair, I don't think the reserved polite ones take the cruises 🙂

I don't think I've ever met anyone in the flesh who is reserved + American, even though of course I know there are reserved Americans! Just never been my (limited) experience.

I think you just can't ID them as Americans. In my travels many times people have said to me "I wouldn't have guessed you were American". Which is an a$$hat thing to say on it's own.  You can't always judge a book by it's cover.  

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6 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Can't people tell you your accent ? American accents are pretty distinctive.

Well, I live near Canada.  I also used to speak French fairly well.  ETA - and to be clear it was often said in context to conversation and my general attitude and how I carry myself and not just a passing greeting.  

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3 minutes ago, FuzzyCatz said:

This is what struck me in my various world travels.  Americans will go out and think they're just being curious.  But they're making condescending assumptions about another culture and putting them out there for the whole world to see.  

So be friendly.  Ask questions. Learn about other cultures.  But be self aware. Don't assume you know something about someone you just met.  In particular if you're insinuating they are LESS than you and your culture.  Don't express opinions if you're not asked for one. Be humble and be open.  I don't know - I think that works in lots of settings.  Not just overseas. 

America is a world power.  We get a lot of attention in the media.  It's not surprising there is more attention and more stereotypes regarding us.  It's not really that hard.  And we are talking about stereotypes so I don't get the outrage.  It's easy enough to avoid a thread.  

In regards to the bold, yes! I've actually found the thread a bit amusing because I complain about so many of my fellow Americans for many of the same reasons listed. 😂

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2 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

All the accents!

Well, I suppose America is full of "all the accents."   There are quite a few of them.  I would suppose that a deep south accent, a Boston type accent, and perhaps a west coast type of accent might be distinctive, but is a midwest, or a southwest accent really that distinctive?  

 

Genuinely, I don't know.  

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3 minutes ago, Joker said:

 

In regards to the bold, yes! I've actually found the thread a bit amusing because I complain about so many of my fellow Americans for many of the same reasons listed. 😂

Self awareness people!  It's an important life skill.  LOL.  🤣  I've spent HOURS talking to my teens on this topic.  

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Stella.....or any other Aussie.....only because it just occurred to me....

Do Australians have different accents based on where they live?  I would assume so, but I haven't heard enough Australians speak to be able to differentiate.  I can hear the difference between say....an Aussie or a Kiwi accent.....but I couldn't peg say Brisbane vs Sydney vs Melbourne.  Is here much of a difference?

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I wonder how much of the stereotype is reinforced by the culture we export, particularly action movies. We have a thing for the fast-talking, rule-breaking, swaggering, individual, who saves everyone using those characteristics. I ran with a group of Canadians in college, and I made the mistake of taking them with me to go see Top Gun in the theater. Wasn’t sure we’d make it out without a fight breaking out, lol. Anyway, it was interesting to see their reaction to it, versus everyone else in the theater. Some of us act like the movies we export, and it just reinforces that image.

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As a Canadian who has lived in the US for about 21 years (and lived on both the west and east coasts), I can say that most Americans that I have met are nice, respectful, and easy going.   I tell them they'd make perfect Canadians!   In Canada, I have met people who are boastful, obnoxious, and downright annoying - typical 'American' type persona.  

However, what I have found when traveling to other countries with Americans is that even the most 'Canadian' of them (aside from a few) are incredibly intolerant/rude about the customs/goings on of other countries.  For example, in Spain - all the restaurants/grocery stores were closed by early/mid afternoon and didn't open for dinner until 6, at the earliest.  Many of my teammates thought that was just awful and rude and weird because 'we had just arrived and needed to eat', and how were we going to live here for 2 weeks when we can't get food 24/7.  

And then in Hong Kong, we (about 16 of us) went out to breakfast at a local 'diner' at 6:30 one morning.   No one in the restaurant spoke English so we all ordered by pointing.  Most of my teammates (mostly different ones from the Spain trip) got annoyed when the waiter mixed up the orders, when there were beans on the breakfast plate, when the tea didn't taste 'right', and 'I don't know what that is, but that's not coffee!' comments.  One of my teammates was born in South Africa and we were both mortified by the comments and our teammates' behavior.    They all shrugged it off with a 'Well, they couldn't understand us anyway.' kind of comments.  It was really disheartening and so, so rude of them.    

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4 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

We're exposed to a LOT of American voices. That's what it means to be culturally dominant. 

Some very 'cultivated' American accents are a bit of a puzzle to me, because they almost sound English at times, and I have a hard time working out Canadian accents - it's softer, somehow - but otherwise, I don't know what I'd mistake an American accent for, kwim ? I mean, it's not Kiwi, not Australian, not Scottish, not north UK, not south UK (except in the really posh ones), not South African...I could be mistaking a lot of loud Canadians for loud Americans, I guess ?

Well, I am thinking of the Trevor Noah video posted a couple of days ago.  I don't watch his show so I haven't had much opportunity to see/hear him.  But when I did, even knowing he is South African.................his accent or perhaps lack thereof kind of struck me.  Like, it was "there" but if felt super mild.  Like, it would take a lot of listening for me to realize he *had* an accent, let alone figure out where it is from.

Along those same lines, I watch a LOT of Amazing Race.  I must have been like 8 seasons in before I realized that Phil had an accent, let alone that he was from New Zealand.  

 

I dunno, i guess I just thought most of the world had accents that were sometimes mild and sometimes pretty pronounced.  Like, a deep Irish accent, or a deep American South accent, I can identify, but other times, people have accents so mild, I barely hear it.  

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25 minutes ago, Selkie said:

I'm an American and there are certainly many loud people who get in the way where I live, so I can see where you all are coming from. There are plenty of Americans who are quieter, more reserved and polite, but I wonder if they just get drowned out by the loud ones so that the overall impression is that of obnoxiousness?

I think that's true. I lived in Europe for 10 years, and traveled a fair bit, and if the only people you notice "acting American" are the ones who are being loud and obnoxious and demanding, then of course that will be the stereotype you have of Americans. The ones that are quiet and polite and blend in are not going to be noticed.

Of course it's "not all Americans," but there are plenty of Americans who do fit the stereotype — I'm related to quite a few of them! And since some of them are (or were) quite fond of cruises, I'm sure they've contributed to the stereotype in multiple countries, lol. For example, after a Hawaiian cruise my mother complained that Hawaii was "fully of Asians," there "wasn't enough Hawaiian atmosphere," and the food was "just burgers and Chinese stuff." It's like she expected some Disneyfied experience where women in grass skirts were doing the hula on street corners and every restaurant served poi and roast pig. When she and her husband did a cruise of the Caribbean that stopped in Cancun, she complained that the Mexican government didn't do enough to "keep all the little beggar children away from the tourists," because that spoiled her experience. So, yeah, there's a reason for the stereotype. 🙄

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38 minutes ago, Arcadia said:


example:

After complaining about the education system, you would hear some people proclaiming that the American education system is still the best in the world because US has the most patents and successful entrepreneurs, and that internationals are trying to get into the US colleges.

After complaining about healthcare, people brag about how US pharmaceutical research is sponsoring the world by bearing the burden of cost of drugs research. 

 

This is much like most family dynamics. I can call my sister a bleeping-bleep-bleep but I best not hear someone else do it.

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2 hours ago, moonflower said:

 you can pretend you're canadian

no one will know the difference unless you're quite southern of accent or brash of character, and they'll be prejudiced in your favor instead of being prejudiced against you

Ha!  A Canadian will see through that in about 2 seconds.  (And then feel annoyed about Americans appropriating our brand.)

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9 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

I think that's true. I lived in Europe for 10 years, and traveled a fair bit, and if the only people you notice "acting American" are the ones who are being loud and obnoxious and demanding, then of course that will be the stereotype you have of Americans. The ones that are quiet and polite and blend in are not going to be noticed.

 

I think this is totally true, but also, I dunno....

I traveled to Europe when I was a teen.  So, like a million years ago, and I was pretty young.  I didn't feel like we were a lout or obnoxious group at all.  There were......12...of us I think.  It was a Girl Scout trip and I freely admit that in many cases, wearing our scout uniforms clearly gave us away.  But I also know that many times, on tubes and busses, people commented about the "stupid American group" and I really didn't feel like we were particularly obnoxious.  I mean, we were a group of teens so there was that, but we were a group of girl scout teens, in a time before social media.  It's not like we were taking a billion selfies or anything.  I really don't know how people identified us.  Particularly in England and in situations where the people saying "Stupid American Group" hadn't tried to communicate with us and we weren't in uniform.  

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3 minutes ago, wathe said:

Ha!  A Canadian will see through that in about 2 seconds.  (And then feel annoyed about Americans appropriating our brand.)

 

Well if you're in Canada I wouldn't advise this, but I doubt most Americans (outside of southern accents or other broad accents) are all that different.  Certainly when I was in NZ, where most of the foreign students were Canadians (at a ratio of like 50:1) most people assumed I was Canadian.

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4 hours ago, Laura Corin said:

 

On a geopolitical level: interfering in the affairs of other countries (friend or foe) and generally throwing weight around.  Dominant countries have always done this; secondary countries have never much liked it.

Americans seem usually very nice but ultra-confident and in-your-face, the confidence including, for some, the confessional style (others should be interested in everything I am experiencing).  Physically, Americans use larger gestures and tend to talk louder (I live in a tourist town so have daily evidence of this).  It feels as if they can unintentionally suck all the air out of the room.

 

I *am* an American, I've never even been out of the country, but I could do without these things. Immediately and for the rest of my life. I am so tired of perfect strangers telling me their health and relational problems, or opining loudly (usually putting others down) to strangers in public. 

I don't think either of these bad habits were always the norm, in the small, midwestern farming community where I grew up. In the 70s and 80s, polite people there were a little more reticent and self-aware (or at least quieter). I miss that dignity and awareness.

(Apologies, I didn't read the rest of the thread yet, everybody; had to respond to this!)

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10 minutes ago, StellaM said:

 

Well, I guess there's the movie accent...like Crocodile Dundee. And I suppose a few people sound like that ?

Idk. We're a very citified people. I think it standardises our accents a lot. There's probably a city/country accent divide as much as anything, but it's not anything much, and I would say it's become much less over the last thirty years or so.

Lol

country people talk slower and stand further apart literally!  And I say that as kind of one of them...

We watched a few older Australian movies recently and I realised the accent seems to have changed/moderated a lot unless it was really strongly emphasised for those movies for some reason. 
 

I would say I can often pick a Queenslander and maybe Sydney sider but not so much Tasmanian, Victoria or WA

the lego thing and plahnt plant thing may clue me in to a Perth person
 

Edited by Ausmumof3
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