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fairfarmhand

S/o International people views on Americans

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8 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Do the tourists you meet from other countries yell when they don't get what they want? Do they tell you how much better their country is and how stupidly you do things? Do they expect everyone in the US to speak German/Chinese/French or whatever, or do they make an attempt to speak in English?

Absolutely they gripe, scoff, complain, throw their hands in the air. I've been chewed out in Chinese a few times.  They crowd the sidewalks in such a way that is impossible to move around them causing people to be late to work. 

But it's perfectly fine. Travel is stressful even if it's fun and it is hard to adjust to a completely different culture. I would never ever call a group of people from another country ugly. Ever. I never fuss and complain of them or go on message boards and be little a group from another country.  I never hear anyone doing the same. 

 We have been considering an international trip with another group of homeschoolers but I have now nixed the idea. 

Edited by Shellydon

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3 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Whenever somebody says they're on $ETHNICITY time or $REGION time, they almost always mean that they're running late and not looking at a clock. You don't need to tell me that one, it's a universal that, for some reason, people *universally* believe is limited to their own group.

That's not true.  They speak for themselves and their own subculture instead of speaking for the group of sub/cultures they're well aware share their relaxed attitude toward time. Mexicans know Native Americans in the SW do this too, but it would be weird to say, "I'm on (list of ethnic groups, regions, and nationalities relaxed about time) time." They're Mexican, they talk about Mexican time.

Not everyone knows this.  Transplants to the SW (like them, I'm speaking from my own experience, knowing full well others have experienced it other regions with other groups) are often confused when they hear this phrase.  I've explained it more than once for them.

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On 1/16/2020 at 7:17 PM, PrincessMommy said:

This is very helpful.  At first I thought people were whitewashing things for us or something.  I wasn't sure what that meant. 

Yes, I can see that as being misinterpreted by Americans.   My sister and her husband tease and make fun of each other a lot too (both Americans)... and I find it hard to listen too because it's just not the way my dh and I communicate.  I think my dh would be deeply offended if I did that. 

I was going to let this go but it's been bugging me. I want to say this as gently as I possibly can, because you have been super receptive and supportive, and I thank you for it.  

I'd like to draw attention to the statement that I highlighted.

Can you see how saying this may be perceived that because a fellow American said it gives the point made validity, and may come across hurtful or dismissive? In my opinion, using the term whitewashing suggests that the people were being dishonest. It all goes back to if you aren't sure of something, ask.

I don't mean to offend you or pick on you in any way at all. I just wanted to point out that sometimes innocent statements made can subliminally show or can be perceived as superiority on some level, even though I know that was not the intent.

I was not hurt by this, personally, in any shape or form. It was bugging me because I felt that it was a good opportunity to show what I've been trying to convey this whole time.

 

Edited by Islandgal
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6 minutes ago, Shellydon said:

 We have been considering an international trip with another group of homeschoolers but I have now nixed the idea. 

You can do whatever you want for whatever reason you like, but why pass up an opportunity to travel abroad when you can read a book like Culture Shock and watch some YouTube videos that prep you for the norms in the location you're considering? 

I've never traveled abroad (I have been on tribal land in the US which is, in a way, its own country.)  The few times I nearly did travel abroad  something derailed it, but turning down that kind of  opportunity should be done with serious consideration.  For Americans, travel is very expensive and time consuming-time work schedules rarely accommodate.   The opportunity may not come again or it may not come for a very long time.  It's usually a formative and enlightening experience for people.  Don't reject it just because you'd have to make adjustments in your thoughts and actions.

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On 1/14/2020 at 5:47 PM, fairfarmhand said:

Perhaps if I’m real nice they’ll say “I never would’ve pegged you as an American.”

I actually got this comment quite a bit when we traveled abroad. I don't have any real accent and I always look up local cultures and customs of anywhere I travel before we go and if it isn't an English speaking country, I try to learn as much of the language as I can so I'm not always having to say "Do you speak English?". The last thing I ever I want to be is a stereo-typical American tourist when visiting another country.

I remember when I was about 10 or 11, I was watching some TV show with my dad and one of the characters made some sort of comment about being American and thinking that they should be treated differently (i.e. better) or given special privilege because of it. I remember saying to my dad that I hated that so many Americans acted like that and that it was silly to expect to be treated differently based on your nationality when you are basically a guest in a foreign country. That sent my dad off into a tirade about how I must have learned that attitude at school (umm, no it was my own opinion that I formed myself, thanks) and how America is falling to pieces because the schools are anti-American patriotism, blah, blah, blah... I had never traveled abroad yet at that age but I really wanted to. I was an adult before I got the opportunity and I positively love experiencing the cultures and traditions of other countries. I especially love getting away from the tourist areas and getting to see what the country and culture is really like, iykwim.

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8 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Do the tourists you meet from other countries yell when they don't get what they want? Do they tell you how much better their country is and how stupidly you do things? Do they expect everyone in the US to speak German/Chinese/French or whatever, or do they make an attempt to speak to you in your language?

 

Wait, so you've never heard anyone who isn't American get angry and yell when things don't go their way while they are guests in an other country? You've never heard anyone from another nationality double down and insist that their nation's food, family values, life style, landscape, music, art, etc is THE best and why you should do it their way instead?  You've never had a group with 5 people, and 7 languages among you, and you had to pick the most common language for communication efficiency? (Or two most common to minimize the layers of translation.) 

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5 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

You can do whatever you want for whatever reason you like, but why pass up an opportunity to travel abroad when you can read a book like Culture Shock and watch some YouTube videos that prep you for the norms in the location you're considering? 

I've never traveled abroad (I have been on tribal land in the US which is, in a way, its own country.)  The few times I nearly did travel abroad  something derailed it, but turning down that kind of  opportunity should be done with serious consideration.  For Americans, travel is very expensive and time consuming-time work schedules rarely accommodate.   The opportunity may not come again or it may not come for a very long time.  It's usually a formative and enlightening experience for people.  Don't reject it just because you'd have to make adjustments in your thoughts and actions.

I think traveling abroad is super-important.  It's being exposed to other places and the fact that other places do do things differently, and have different cultures that challenges those assumptions that can make some tourists challenging.

Honestly, I think it would benefit everyone to live abroad for at least 6 months - longer is better.  Go on your trip!  Just don't demand hamburgers and french fries everywhere you go.  Try the food there (and other unfamiliar things) with an open mind.  And btw, sticking to the 'famliar' doesn't even work - the hamburgers even at McDonald's in different countries have been changed in subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways to conform to local tastes, just like Chinese and Mexican food here is changed for US tastes.  Because those other cultures have assumptions about what is 'normal' food too, but they're different from ours. 

I have a German cousin who's one of 'those' tourists, it seems.  One time she complained bitterly that she hated visiting Italy because they didn't have 'proper' food, like, y'know, schnitzel.  Who hates Italian food???!!!  I know for a fact there's spaghetti and pizza galore in Germany.  What the heck???  Nope, to her it was weird and she couldn't wait to get home.  Sigh. It's a mindset that can be found anywhere.  The solution is to get yourself out there with an open mind.  The open mind is key.  This same cousin visited us for two summers when she was a teen, and demanded cold cuts and cheese every morning for breakfast, because that's what you eat in Germany.  Wouldn't touch cereal or anything else we offered.  So even a good deal of exposure was no help for her.  Her way was Right, and everyone else is Wrong.  It's this thinking, which is often unconscious and unrealized in people who have never traveled and seen things done differently, that is the biggest problem. 

That's why I say at least 6 months.  Even I, when living abroad, thought some things seemed 'wrong' (although I didn't voice this, just thought it) and then after a while you like them, and there's a period of 'the way we do it at home is wrong', and after some more time you come to the realization that there is more than one way to do some things, and sometimes your way is better, sometimes theirs, and a whole lot of the time one way isn't better or worse, just different and equally valid, and that's just fine.  

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I agree that spending time abroad is really important, for numerous reasons.

And if/when you do, don't seek to hide your heritage; be the person who, by your actions, makes locals question those negative stereotypes.

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1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Whenever somebody says they're on $ETHNICITY time or $REGION time, they almost always mean that they're running late and not looking at a clock. You don't need to tell me that one, it's a universal that, for some reason, people *universally* believe is limited to their own group.

I had to laugh at this. My ancestry is German. I am fairly certain that if I said I was on "German time", it would mean that, as usual, I showed up 15 minutes early to something. 🤣

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1 hour ago, Islandgal said:

I was going to let this go but it's been bugging me. I want to say this as gently as I possibly can, because you have been super receptive and supportive, and I thank you for it.  

I'd like to draw attention to the statement that I highlighted.

Can you see how saying this may be perceived that because a fellow American said it gives the point made validity, and may come across hurtful? It all goes back to if you aren't sure of something, ask. 

I don't mean to offend you or pick on you in any way at all. I just wanted to point out that sometimes innocent statements made can subliminally show or can be perceived as superiority on some level, even though I know that was not the intent.

I dont have a dog in this fight and I can see how it bugs you, however, to put a different perspective on what she might have meant (and I really apologize if this comes across as #Amerisplaining)....

It might be like if someone from outside of my religion was telling me something negative about my religion and I didn't understand what they were saying or what they meant by what they were saying. But then someone from my faith explains it to me. Even if they use the exact same words as the previous person, I can see where I might be able to understand it better. Not because of any negative association with the first person, but because I view the second person as coming from an insider perspective. 

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7 minutes ago, annegables said:

I had to laugh at this. My ancestry is German. I am fairly certain that if I said I was on "German time", it would mean that, as usual, I showed up 15 minutes early to something. 🤣

I was just thinking how, in Guatemala, church always started fifteen minutes late. In Austria, it started precisely on time and everyone was already in their seat. Same denomination.

There ARE different cultural norms regarding time and timeliness 🙂

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I like this thread.  You know this might be a shock to some, but stereotypes exist for a reason - quite often there's a bit of truth to them. Some demographics do just tend to be ____.  *shrug* A little self reflection when entering new situations is a good thing.

Now.  I have not traveled outside the US much, but I'll share what I e noticed in my little travels.

I can spot a fellow American from 10 feet away without them speaking.  Most of us do seem to stand out.  Like literally.  The way we walk and sit and stand is just... identifiable.  It took me several days to realize we were doing this and by day 3 I was starting my conversation with asking what state they are from. And then usually I'd ask how they are enjoying their trip, what's their favorite thing so far.  And we'd swap stories of our favorite place to eat or site see or adventure." Only once did the person look at me funny, shake their head no and say something, I think in Russian, that I suspect was along the lines of, "Oh god.  I'm not talking to another crazy American woman." lol  I don't think this is bad per se, but knowing it makes it easier to adjust and be more considerate of locals.  I did a lot of apologizing because frankly I sometimes felt like a bull in a China cabinet. But I noticed other Americans didn't react that way.  They often got irritated and vocally disgruntled.

A general attitude of wanting to go somewhere to experience new things but then when they get there, want to have it be like wherever in the US they are from.  They want the food, the accommodations, and the manners/service to be like they expect in the US.  Well ya ain't in Kansas anymore so get the heck over it already or go home.  Seriously.  Do a bit of research to ask what the customs are.  Eat a food you've never eaten before. Odds are good you might enjoy it and even if you don't always that it won't  hurt you.

Cursory reading brought up the how to get your waiter to bring the check issues?  Outside the us, my understanding is that there is a LOT less hurry to clear the table, which is wonderful but still want the check eventually. I have never snapped my fingers, but it was difficult in Curacao.  One of my friends said the universal thing to do is just make eye contact and quietly rub 2 fingers against your thumb near your face, but not above the head or outward.  I admit that it worked every single time without having to draw undo attention to ourselves.  Someone on staff would see it, give a nod of acknowledgement and we'd have our check within moments.  Was my friend correct that this acceptable politeness usually?

Side opinion on the other thread photography question.  I think crowding in on something to take a picture to the point others can't see it well or it backsup the queue excessively is obnoxious.  I do not think this is an American thing though.  As excited as you are doesn't make you more important than anyone else who is there for the same reason.

Also, no one ever places my accent.  They know what it isn't, but they don't peg me or most of my children as US born.  I have locals ask where we are from.  Apparently we have a speech impediment that makes our /-r/ blends and /-a/ endings sound British or Canadian? I've had people suggest speech therapy but I'm not inclined to pay a small fortune for this slight issue since I have no grudge against British or Canadian accents.  I have a grown son who messes with people by telling them he is from Hyrule in Yukon, Canada.  Most people nod and say something like, "I thought you sounded a little bit Canadian." Son pretends to be insulted that they think he is not totally Canadian or are referring to his height.  Most believe him. 😆  I used to get on to him for it as a kid, but yeah, at this point it's pretty darn funny.

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4 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

No to the bolded. Squirrels and other small rodents almost never get or carry rabies. Raccoons do, though. (That link goes to the CDC website).

I think possums are one of the ugliest critters known to man. But they're helpful in controlling ticks.

Ok.  Foxes have the rabies.  Squirrels have other vermin typical diseases. 

Basically an extra agile rat with fluffy tale.

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58 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

I actually got this comment quite a bit when we traveled abroad. I don't have any real accent and I always look up local cultures and customs of anywhere I travel before we go and if it isn't an English speaking country, I try to learn as much of the language as I can so I'm not always having to say "Do you speak English?". The last thing I ever I want to be is a stereo-typical American tourist when visiting another country.

It is impossible to speak and not have an accent--your accent is the way you form your words, the cadence of your speech, etc.

If you are American you most probably have an American accent. Everyone's own accent just sounds like normal talking to them.

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1 minute ago, maize said:

It is impossible to speak and not have an accent--your accent is the way you form your words, the cadence of your speech, etc.

If you are American you most probably have an American accent. Everyone's own accent just sounds like normal talking to them.

Everyone everywhere has an accent.  I think my western american accent is cleaner/simpler than tennessee/new england/wherever... but yes, we all have an accent

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9 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Do the tourists you meet from other countries yell when they don't get what they want? Do they tell you how much better their country is and how stupidly you do things? Do they expect everyone in the US to speak German/Chinese/French or whatever, or do they make an attempt to speak to you in your language?

When I was adopting DD, there were a lot of other Americans staying in the same hotel. Many would literally not leave the hotel, or eat anything other than Western-style food from the hotel restaurant. I remember one woman arriving at the hotel from the airport while I happened to be in the lobby and she was completely freaked out and kept talking about "people carrying pigs — pigs! — in cages on the backs of their scooters!" — like aliens had beamed her up and dropped her on another planet that was beyond her wildest imagination. People complained that the city was too noisy, too dirty, everything was so inefficient and didn't people in this backwards country understand how busy they were and what an inconvenience it was to be stuck in this place??? This was at a time when there was a lot of upheaval in international adoption and countries were closing to Americans, and there was a lot of uncertainty and delays. My "favorite" family were a couple from NY in their early 50s who approached the whole thing like they were shopping for a designer handbag at Saks. They had a whole checklist of traits they were looking for, and said they wanted to be able to choose a child from an urban orphanage rather than one from a rural orphanage, because they thought urban children would likely have higher IQs. I shit you not. 😡 When the adoption coordinator mentioned that there was a major holiday coming up and that no paperwork would be processed during that period, the husband smirked and pulled out his wallet and said "well, I bet 100 bucks could solve that problem..."  and seemed shocked that no, $100 wasn't going to get his paperwork processed when all government offices were closed. That guy's answer to everything for the 10 days he was there was "just tell me who to pay and how much, I need to get this done as quickly as possible."  Eventually he pitched a fit and announced that he was leaving and canceling the whole thing and wanted his money back, and his until-then-very-quiet wife snapped and said "Go home if you want to, but I'm not leaving." He did go back to NY, and she stayed another 3 weeks and eventually completed the adoption. The mom who was so freaked out that there were Pigs! on Motorcycles! adopted a 10 month old baby who turned out to have an undiagnosed (but correctible) heart condition, and instead of thinking "thank God my baby is now in a place where she can get the care she needs," she tried to sue the adoption agency for basically selling her damaged goods. There were other families who cancelled adoptions and left without their children rather than "put up with" all the delays and hassles. There was a crazy woman who admitted she and her husband had faked their home study (temporarily rented a house and claimed they lived there) and that she really wanted "a little Chinese baby" but her husband was too old according to the Chinese adoption regulations, so they were basically settling for SE Asian kid instead. And she was very vocal about the fact that she wanted the youngest, tiniest, lightest-skinned baby girl she could get, preferably a newborn. I have never been as disgusted with the human race as I was after that experience. 

Were all the American adoptive families that bad? Of course not. There were two other families I was close to, who were all there a long time (two months for me, up to 6 months for one of the other moms who had some unusual circumstances), who were nothing like the people described above. I was also friends with a French family who were adopting for the second time, and I asked them and the adoption coordinator if French families typically acted like the Americans and I was emphatically told no. So when people talk about the "ugly American" stereotype, they are usually talking about a lot more than just a few benign cultural differences like how close you stand to someone or how many photos you take. 

 

I grew up in a place that attracted many international tourists and in high school worked at a retail shop popular with tourists.  I remember German and French guys (early 20s) being extremely rude, arrogant jerks.  I chalked it up to cultural difference, age, or just them.  I don't judge the entire country.

You mention the other nice American families.  I wonder why you don't assume there are more good, kind people.  I assume there are good and bad everywhere but I assume most are good.

It seems like there is a prejudice that looks for the bad in Americans and only notes those that are badly behaved.  I have never seen people act like what you describe. 

I am not personally offended (because I am a confident American 😁 and I know I am not what you describe), but I do think you are wrong to judge millions of people by your small skewed sample.

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16 hours ago, MissLemon said:

 

But pumpkin pie *is* gross. You aren't wrong, lol

 

Mine isn't. 

This thread at least did something productive for me.  I recently got a fantastic natural maple extract and I have been thinking of ways to use it. So far, awesome maple cookies and glaze, then the glaze was so good that it inspired me to fry cake donuts on Sunday.  Pumpkin has never been my favorite but this is a good pumpkin pie, albeit messy crust crimping.  I think you need to take a broader sample of pies.  Like Americans, don't judge us all by the obnoxious one you notice.  Don't judge the pie when you've only tried one... 😂

20200116_215804.thumb.jpg.93c1fd118340f841d0b199863c6c0f1b.jpg

 

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44 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I like this thread.  You know this might be a shock to some, but stereotypes exist for a reason - quite often there's a bit of truth to them. Some demographics do just tend to be ____.  *shrug* A little self reflection when entering new situations is a good thing.

Now.  I have not traveled outside the US much, but I'll share what I e noticed in my little travels.

I can spot a fellow American from 10 feet away without them speaking.  Most of us do seem to stand out.  Like literally.  The way we walk and sit and stand is just... identifiable.  It took me several days to realize we were doing this and by day 3 I was starting my conversation with asking what state they are from. And then usually I'd ask how they are enjoying their trip, what's their favorite thing so far.  And we'd swap stories of our favorite place to eat or site see or adventure." Only once did the person look at me funny, shake their head no and say something, I think in Russian, that I suspect was along the lines of, "Oh god.  I'm not talking to another crazy American woman." lol  I don't think this is bad per se, but knowing it makes it easier to adjust and be more considerate of locals.  I did a lot of apologizing because frankly I sometimes felt like a bull in a China cabinet. But I noticed other Americans didn't react that way.  They often got irritated and vocally disgruntled.

A general attitude of wanting to go somewhere to experience new things but then when they get there, want to have it be like wherever in the US they are from.  They want the food, the accommodations, and the manners/service to be like they expect in the US.  Well ya ain't in Kansas anymore so get the heck over it already or go home.  Seriously.  Do a bit of research to ask what the customs are.  Eat a food you've never eaten before. Odds are good you might enjoy it and even if you don't always that it won't  hurt you.

Cursory reading brought up the how to get your waiter to bring the check issues?  Outside the us, my understanding is that there is a LOT less hurry to clear the table, which is wonderful but still want the check eventually. I have never snapped my fingers, but it was difficult in Curacao.  One of my friends said the universal thing to do is just make eye contact and quietly rub 2 fingers against your thumb near your face, but not above the head or outward.  I admit that it worked every single time without having to draw undo attention to ourselves.  Someone on staff would see it, give a nod of acknowledgement and we'd have our check within moments.  Was my friend correct that this acceptable politeness usually?

Side opinion on the other thread photography question.  I think crowding in on something to take a picture to the point others can't see it well or it backsup the queue excessively is obnoxious.  I do not think this is an American thing though.  As excited as you are doesn't make you more important than anyone else who is there for the same reason.

Also, no one ever places my accent.  They know what it isn't, but they don't peg me or most of my children as US born.  I have locals ask where we are from.  Apparently we have a speech impediment that makes our /-r/ blends and /-a/ endings sound British or Canadian? I've had people suggest speech therapy but I'm not inclined to pay a small fortune for this slight issue since I have no grudge against British or Canadian accents.  I have a grown son who messes with people by telling them he is from Hyrule in Yukon, Canada.  Most people nod and say something like, "I thought you sounded a little bit Canadian." Son pretends to be insulted that they think he is not totally Canadian or are referring to his height.  Most believe him. 😆  I used to get on to him for it as a kid, but yeah, at this point it's pretty darn funny.

 

Generally, I can spot an American by their good teeth.  I remember this girl we met while traveling, and she was trying to adopt this quasi brit accent, then I asked where she was from.  She looked crushed, "California." 

"Yeah, I can tell by your teeth."

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17 minutes ago, parent said:

 

Mine isn't. 

This thread at least did something productive for me.  I recently got a fantastic natural maple extract and I have been thinking of ways to use it. So far, awesome maple cookies and glaze, then the glaze was so good that it inspired me to fry cake donuts on Sunday.  Pumpkin has never been my favorite but this is a good pumpkin pie, albeit messy crust crimping.  I think you need to take a broader sample of pies.  Like Americans, don't judge us all by the obnoxious one you notice.  Don't judge the pie when you've only tried one... 😂

20200116_215804.thumb.jpg.93c1fd118340f841d0b199863c6c0f1b.jpg

 

I don't like pumpkin pie, but these are beautiful. 

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Re: accents

When I moved back to the Rocky Mountain West for college people would often ask me where I was from after talking for a few minutes, in that "you sound like you are from somewhere else" manner. I was, in fact, in my own birth state--but apparently in the years I had spent overseas I had picked up verbal inflections that stood out as different. I couldn't hear myself how I was sounding different from everyone around me but evidently I was. People stopped asking after a couple of years so presumably my speech had adjusted back to normal for the area; it couldn't have ever been very far off, my parents both have pretty standard middle America accents and were my primary models.

It has always interested me though that I personally couldn't hear the difference that others could.

I do "hear" myself modulating accents when I am around people with an accent I recognize as distinct from my own, such as British or Australian or Southern US. It's not a conscious process but my manner of speech starts to move towards the accent of those around me. I figure it must sound like intentional and doubtless very poor imitation and I try not to do it but that takes conscious effort.

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23 minutes ago, parent said:

 

Generally, I can spot an American by their good teeth.  I remember this girl we met while traveling, and she was trying to adopt this quasi brit accent, then I asked where she was from.  She looked crushed, "California." 

"Yeah, I can tell by your teeth."

Holy cow.  Way to sling the mud and sound "perfect and entitled" by stereotyping other countries who don't have the money or resources to buy into the perfect, white teeth game. 

I guess it is considered a "nicer" way to pick on people than pointing out their body size or colour of skin.

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On 1/14/2020 at 6:36 PM, 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.  

I don't know. When I travel internationally as an American I can usually pick out the other Americans because they talk so loud and are inconsiderate of culture & customs. To put it bluntly, common manners seem to be lost in the desire of fulfilling one's own travel agenda. Americans are increasingly pushy and lack basic manners here at home, IMO,  and it doesn't translate well when abroad. It also doesn't translate well here at home in the US when trying to befriend someone who is visiting or has moved here from another location.

I attribute a lot of this to the idea that in the US independence is valued over community and we no longer know how to build strong local communities. Local communities combine to be larger communities, states and then the nation as a whole. We take pride in being a "melting pot" - but we have honestly forgotten that when something has melting, it changes to take on the shape of it's environment. We don't do this well - we don't "do to others what we would have them to to you" or "consider others to be more important than ourselves." It shows up when we travel internationally and when we host people from other countries.

 

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32 minutes ago, parent said:

 

Generally, I can spot an American by their good teeth.  I remember this girl we met while traveling, and she was trying to adopt this quasi brit accent, then I asked where she was from.  She looked crushed, "California." 

"Yeah, I can tell by your teeth."

 

I have paid a fortune to make sure my kids have the beautiful teeth my parents never invested in me.  So that probably is part of it, though I have to say I rarely meet people with bad teeth.  It's not that everyone else has bad teeth, it's that Americans and the monied of other places tend to not just have healthy good teeth - they have damn near perfect dazzling teeth.  Not even a slight overbite, not a single tooth even slightly off center, and supernaturally white.  *sigh* I always look at them and think their smile has more money put into it than my entire mortgage.

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2 minutes ago, wintermom said:

Holy cow.  Way to sling the mud and sound "perfect and entitled" by stereotyping other countries who don't have the money or resources to buy into the perfect, white teeth game. 

I guess it is considered a "nicer" way to pick on people than pointing out their body size or colour of skin.

 

It doesn't bother me when people do not have good teeth, but it is true that it was how I could quickly identify young Americans in certain countries, because they didn't stand out as "obnoxious" or any other muddy term that is currently being slung at Americans. 

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3 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I don't know. When I travel internationally as an American I can usually pick out the other Americans because they talk so loud and are inconsiderate of culture & customs. To put it bluntly, common manners seem to be lost in the desire of fulfilling one's own travel agenda. Americans are increasingly pushy and lack basic manners here at home, IMO,  and it doesn't translate well when abroad. It also doesn't translate well here at home in the US when trying to befriend someone who is visiting or has moved here from another location.

I attribute a lot of this to the idea that in the US independence is valued over community and we no longer know how to build strong local communities. Local communities combine to be larger communities, states and then the nation as a whole. We take pride in being a "melting pot" - but we have honestly forgotten that when something has melting, it changes to take on the shape of it's environment. We don't do this well - we don't "do to others what we would have them to to you" or "consider others to be more important than ourselves." It shows up when we travel internationally and when we host people from other countries.

 

I think courtesy and respect for others go a long way in interacting with others at home and abroad. Acting self-absorbed, rushed, unwilling to try to understand others is not appreciated by most people.  

 

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Just now, Murphy101 said:

 

I have paid a fortune to make sure my kids have the beautiful teeth my parents never invested in me.  So that probably is part of it, though I have to say I rarely meet people with bad teeth.  It's not that everyone else has bad teeth, it's that Americans and the monied of other places tend to not just have healthy good teeth - they have damn near perfect dazzling teeth.  Not even a slight overbite, not a single tooth even slightly off center, and supernaturally white.  *sigh* I always look at them and think their smile has more money put into it than my entire mortgage.

Yes, we are about to start phase 1 of ortho for first kid.  Different priority set, I guess.  I make sacrifices elsewhere to pay for it.   But it could be an American identifier and form of resentment by those countries which do not prioritize ortho... so my child might eventually be discriminated against when traveling abroad... I mean I noticed the difference when I met another American over there, so I am sure the locals notice it.

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8 minutes ago, wintermom said:

Holy cow.  Way to sling the mud and sound "perfect and entitled" by stereotyping other countries who don't have the money or resources to buy into the perfect, white teeth game. 

I guess it is considered a "nicer" way to pick on people than pointing out their body size or colour of skin.

 

No it isn't.  Not being blind is a fact of life.  No one is saying others are ugly or less than because of their teeth.  I hope not because my teeth are terrible.  But it's a fact that teeth are a noticeable attribute.  And heck yes, people in other countries notice color of skin and body size too.  Tall blond Germans. Short asians.  None of it is mud slinging. None of it good or bad.  It's just humans noticing patterns because that's something humans do.

Now actually telling someone, "yeah I noticed because of your teeth." Would be crass and rude.  Doesn't mean it isn't true or isn't something others do in fact notice just because they don't say it to those people's faces.

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26 minutes ago, maize said:

I do "hear" myself modulating accents when I am around people with an accent I recognize as distinct from my own, such as British or Australian or Southern US. It's not a conscious process but my manner of speech starts to move towards the accent of those around me. I figure it must sound like intentional and doubtless very poor imitation and I try not to do it but that takes conscious effort.

I do this also.  I did not realize it until my mom pointed it out when I had called her after being in grad school for a little while.  A lot of my friends were from a certain country, and I'd started picking up some mixture of their accents.

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25 minutes ago, maize said:

Re: accents

When I moved back to the Rocky Mountain West for college people would often ask me where I was from after talking for a few minutes, in that "you sound like you are from somewhere else" manner. I was, in fact, in my own birth state--but apparently in the years I had spent overseas I had picked up verbal inflections that stood out as different. I couldn't hear myself how I was sounding different from everyone around me but evidently I was. People stopped asking after a couple of years so presumably my speech had adjusted back to normal for the area; it couldn't have ever been very far off, my parents both have pretty standard middle America accents and were my primary models.

It has always interested me though that I personally couldn't hear the difference that others could.

I do "hear" myself modulating accents when I am around people with an accent I recognize as distinct from my own, such as British or Australian or Southern US. It's not a conscious process but my manner of speech starts to move towards the accent of those around me. I figure it must sound like intentional and doubtless very poor imitation and I try not to do it but that takes conscious effort.

 

I have that too.  And I was also in other countries in childhood and hearing a variety of English accents. I think it makes the sound of one’s “own” region less ingrained and makes one more likely to shift easily and unconsciously. 

 

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4 minutes ago, parent said:

Yes, we are about to start phase 1 of ortho for first kid.  Different priority set, I guess.  I make sacrifices elsewhere to pay for it.   But it could be an American identifier and form of resentment by those countries which do not prioritize ortho... so my child might eventually be discriminated against when traveling abroad... I mean I noticed the difference when I met another American over there, so I am sure the locals notice it.

I doubt that.  There are a lot of things that people take note of long before teeth.  You have to be close and often speaking to people before you even have a chance to notice teeth. By that time, I'm usually more focused on what someone says than how straight their teeth look. 

 

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19 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

 

I have paid a fortune to make sure my kids have the beautiful teeth my parents never invested in me.  So that probably is part of it, though I have to say I rarely meet people with bad teeth.  It's not that everyone else has bad teeth, it's that Americans and the monied of other places tend to not just have healthy good teeth - they have damn near perfect dazzling teeth.  Not even a slight overbite, not a single tooth even slightly off center, and supernaturally white.  *sigh* I always look at them and think their smile has more money put into it than my entire mortgage.

LOL this does not describe anyone in my family or primary community.  😛

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15 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

 

No it isn't.  Not being blind is a fact of life.  No one is saying others are ugly or less than because of their teeth.  I hope not because my teeth are terrible.  But it's a fact that teeth are a noticeable attribute.  And heck yes, people in other countries notice color of skin and body size too.  Tall blond Germans. Short asians.  None of it is mud slinging. None of it good or bad.  It's just humans noticing patterns because that's something humans do.

Now actually telling someone, "yeah I noticed because of your teeth." Would be crass and rude.  Doesn't mean it isn't true or isn't something others do in fact notice just because they don't say it to those people's faces.

No one else opened the door on stereotypical physical features. Why start now?  I thought this thread was about behaviour.  And the stated behaviour of the poster in question was the fact that they said, "I could tell by your teeth."  That is coming right out and saying that because a person has xyz teeth (presumably straight with no gaps) they couldn't possibly be British.

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As much as I've enjoyed this thread, I'm kinda regretting starting it. I really didn't mean to cause problems or hurt feelings. It was true genuine curiosity. 

Sigh.

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2 minutes ago, parent said:

Yes, we are about to start phase 1 of ortho for first kid.  Different priority set, I guess.  I make sacrifices elsewhere to pay for it.   But it could be an American identifier and form of resentment by those countries which do not prioritize ortho... so my child might eventually be discriminated against when traveling abroad... I mean I noticed the difference when I met another American over there, so I am sure the locals notice it.

 

If you are going to go there then I'll just pull up my soapbox on this little rabbit trail over here...

Most modern countries usually do prioritize orthodontic care, but the perfect dazzling white American or monied teeth are not about prioritizing healthy orthodontic care.  That's like saying Dolly Pardon's boobs are about prioritizing breast health.  Um.  No.  It isn't.  It's purely about cosmetics.  I don't resent anyone a healthy mouth.  But it is noticeable that so many are obviously spending on very expensive dental cosmetics.  I wouldn't say I resent it.  I don't think most other countries resent it either.  So much as think it's quite the flaunting luxury to afford that so commonly.  Because it is.  And it is an obvious class feature as well.  That's why Americans feel a LOT of pressure to pay literally thousands of dollars and spend a couple years in appointments to get their children braces and retainers.  They don't want their kid to feel the stigma of a job interview or college with bad teeth for very valid reasons.

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8 minutes ago, SKL said:

I do this also.  I did not realize it until my mom pointed it out when I had called her after being in grad school for a little while.  A lot of my friends were from a certain country, and I'd started picking up some mixture of their accents.

 

I do too.  I tend to talk slower and get closer to people too.  I do it so I can hear them better and be understood better, but also it keeps me from over gesturing and taking up more space.

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26 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I don't know. When I travel internationally as an American I can usually pick out the other Americans because they talk so loud and are inconsiderate of culture & customs. To put it bluntly, common manners seem to be lost in the desire of fulfilling one's own travel agenda. Americans are increasingly pushy and lack basic manners here at home, IMO,  and it doesn't translate well when abroad. It also doesn't translate well here at home in the US when trying to befriend someone who is visiting or has moved here from another location.

Again (the bolded) - you can pick out the loud obnoxious Americans.  Apparently the quiet, considerate ones escape your notice.

I wonder if part of this Americans - only - notice - ugly - Americans - abroad thing is because we feel extra embarrassed as if it's part of our family acting the fool.  Like when my kids or my [non-American-born] loud extrovert friend makes a faux pas, yeah, I notice it.  (And I correct it as best I can.)

I'm a quiet, introverted person who has traveled a fair amount.  I don't have memories of constantly being horrified by other Americans' behavior.  Most people from most countries behave reasonably decently.  The majority of the misbehaving tourists are not Americans in my personal experience.  Are there some, sure, but not to the extent that I'm ashamed for my country.  (But then, I don't consider differences in clothing style etc to be a national disgrace.  So maybe that is the difference.)

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1 hour ago, parent said:

Ok.  Foxes have the rabies.  Squirrels have other vermin typical diseases. 

Basically an extra agile rat with fluffy tale.

Now rats are adorable. And crazy smart. And even emphatic and helpful, both to their own kind and to humans. Like little tiny dogs. 🙂 

I happen to think possums are darling and foxes are gorgeous and squirrels are cheeky and cute. 

Using the word "vermin" undervalues the personality, intelligence, and capacity for emotion all these animals possess. They are not objects to be exterminated.

Climbing off my soapbox. 😉 

p.s. Your pumpkin pies look very nice.

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17 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

 

If you are going to go there then I'll just pull up my soapbox on this little rabbit trail over here...

Most modern countries usually do prioritize orthodontic care, but the perfect dazzling white American or monied teeth are not about prioritizing healthy orthodontic care.  That's like saying Dolly Pardon's boobs are about prioritizing breast health.  Um.  No.  It isn't.  It's purely about cosmetics.  I don't resent anyone a healthy mouth.  But it is noticeable that so many are obviously spending on very expensive dental cosmetics.  I wouldn't say I resent it.  I don't think most other countries resent it either.  So much as think it's quite the flaunting luxury to afford that so commonly.  Because it is.  And it is an obvious class feature as well.  That's why Americans feel a LOT of pressure to pay literally thousands of dollars and spend a couple years in appointments to get their children braces and retainers.  They don't want their kid to feel the stigma of a job interview or college with bad teeth for very valid reasons.

1) Less wealthy countries probably don't resent it (if they notice it), because where they live, dental care isn't ridiculously priced.  They would be shocked to hear how much US people pay for dental care - especially cosmetic dental care.

2) I have seen many people from less wealthy countries with lovely teeth - far better than mine anyway.  Nature does offer amazing gifts, although it's a lottery.  One of my daughters has perfectly straight teeth by nature.  She has never had any work other than a few cleanings.

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On 1/15/2020 at 9:35 PM, StellaM said:

This is absolutely me to a tee, most definitely! (fends off a croc before submitting reply) 🙂

 

I am only up to here (so way way back) in this thread, but I wanted to point out that years ago, you posted that you were going to the beach, and my kids happened to have just watched a documentary about that beach, and on that beach, snails had killed a girl. And I was like BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SNAAAAIIIILLLLLSSS STELLA?! and you were like "shrugshrug don't eat them." 😆 Whatever y'all want to say about not being rugged you are lol. If there were poisonous snails on our beaches and people knew enough about it to make a video about it, we'd have them eradicated in seconds flat.

OTOH, there's an appreciably large bunch of idiots with lions or bears in cages in their backyards too, so. There's that. 

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11 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Do the tourists you meet from other countries yell when they don't get what they want? Do they tell you how much better their country is and how stupidly you do things? Do they expect everyone in the US to speak German/Chinese/French or whatever, or do they make an attempt to speak to you in your language?

 

Oh, my, Yes!!!  

As a teen I had jobs in a touristy place in USA. A lot of tourists from other countries were extremely unpleasant in a variety of ways.  

A lot of tourists from certain countries were rather arrogant about how much better they were.

The worst imo was people from other countries who left very soiled diapers dropped on ground for us to pick up. 

 

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2 hours ago, annegables said:

I had to laugh at this. My ancestry is German. I am fairly certain that if I said I was on "German time", it would mean that, as usual, I showed up 15 minutes early to something. 🤣

My ancestry is also German, but for some weird unknown reason I run on some kind of "Latin" time.  When I lived for a while in Spain, it was like ... finally, a culture that runs on my time!

My mother, unfortunately, runs on German time.  We annoy each other.

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Oh my goodness better not get me started on some of the bad non-American guests I've had at my house or dorm.  I could go on for days.

Some of the behavior probably does deserve a stereotype, but most of it is immature behavior that would shock their own mothers.  😛  And a few of the people are actually jerks - as discussed, every country has them.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

I do "hear" myself modulating accents when I am around people with an accent I recognize as distinct from my own, such as British or Australian or Southern US. It's not a conscious process but my manner of speech starts to move towards the accent of those around me. I figure it must sound like intentional and doubtless very poor imitation and I try not to do it but that takes conscious effort.

I do this, too, and yeah, it's not intentional.  It even happened to me in German - when I lived in Germany for a year, I picked up a southern German (specifically Schwäbisch) accent, which utterly horrified my Rhineland German relatives.  It's like if you were a New Yorker and your foreign relative stayed for a while in the deep South and came to visit you with a full-on southern drawl.  Not that there's anything wrong with a southern drawl, per se, but you know how the New Yorkers would see that...  (I've lost my Schwäbisch accent now... unless I go visiting down there for a while...).  And I do fall into a bit of an East Tennessee accent myself when I go visit relatives there.  I try to quash it if I hear myself doing it, but no one ever seems to notice...  

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And just a funny story I keep thinking about ....

My immigrant friend's elderly dad was a retired police official who had held the highest rank in his home state.  Type of guy you don't cross, very strong personality.  When he visited, we took him to a favorite [homecountry] restaurant.  The (immigrant) owners' teen daughter or niece was our server.

The police dude made a comment about his food when he was served.  He said, "In [homecountry], they do xyz."  The teen responded tartly, "well this is America, not [homecountry]."

Everyone at the table about had a heart attack as police dude decided what to say.  He smiled sportingly and said, "oh, I see, well that is fine."  But you could tell he was majorly holding back.  😛

[PS I have never heard any other US person say to a customer "well, this is America."  I am not sure what gave this girl the idea that such talk was OK.  But, she was quite young, so she probably just didn't think.]

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5 hours ago, MEmama said:

We ❤️ the possums that live under our shed. They devour ticks, leave the cutest little footprints in the snow and keep to themselves. I think they are weirdly cute.

The squirrels on the other hand...we refer to them as yard rodents. I cannot stand them. They dig up my bulbs and veggie plants and make it almost impossible for me to keep bird seed and suet out for the birds. I just think they are gross. OTOH they do provide terrific entertainment for our (indoor!) kitties. One in particular likes to practice her hunting skills when they tease her. No squirrel would stand a chance if she could jump out a window (she can’t).

The squirrels near us are not particularly destructive.  Yeah, they have been known to get into the attic or walls of a not very well maintained house or two, or steal an occasional tomato from my vegetable garden (usually the one that I was "giving one more day")  They do love to taunt my dog with chatter and that waving of their fluffy tail ... it's like they're saying "nana nana boo boo.  You can't catch me."  Which gets my pup every single time.  


Rabbits ... those adorable little fluff balls ... they are the destructive ones.  We can't have ay decorative annuals because the rabbits eat them.  Bulbs?  The bunnies get them.  They managed to get through the rabbit fencing and eat all the foliage of my veggie plants.  Good thing having a dog keeps them at bay.  Chipmunks are very destructive IMHO.  They have ruined patio furniture and umbrellas.

Back to the topic at hand ... I appreciate this discussion very much.  Yeah, I got my feathers ruffled a tad, but I realize how valuable this information can be.  I love the variety of opinions on this board.  I have learned so much from people who are not like exactly like me and who have varied experiences.  I'm off to review some of the materials presented here so I don't come off like an Ugly American when I go to visit my daughter in Spain in 2 months.  

Oh, and the white sneaker thing is very fashionable in Spain right now.  We have friends who recently moved from the Midwest to Barcelona and asked them for advice on helping dd pack for her study abroad experience - 1 suitcase, 1 backpack, and 1 carry on bag for 5 months.  They told her to get some Adidas white leather sneakers ... that for the bulk and weight, they would be a very versatile shoe.  So far they were spot on.  Everyone has them.  Now for me, if I want to walk more than a block, I need my motion-stabilizing running shoes with my custom orthotics.  Do I attempt to look more fashionable and be very limited in how much walking I do, or do I stand out and wear these?  I have experimented with dozens of shoes and really, no matter how good a "walking shoe" it is supposed to be, my underperforming posterior tibial tendon will be screaming in pain.  

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2 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

I do this, too, and yeah, it's not intentional.  It even happened to me in German - when I lived in Germany for a year, I picked up a southern German (specifically Schwäbisch) accent, which utterly horrified my Rhineland German relatives.  It's like if you were a New Yorker and your foreign relative stayed for a while in the deep South and came to visit you with a full-on southern drawl.  Not that there's anything wrong with a southern drawl, per se, but you know how the New Yorkers would see that...  (I've lost my Schwäbisch accent now... unless I go visiting down there for a while...).  And I do fall into a bit of an East Tennessee accent myself when I go visit relatives there.  I try to quash it if I hear myself doing it, but no one ever seems to notice...  

 

I did the same when I lived in Buenos Aires one summer in college. When I arrived all of the Argentinean people were like, "You speak Spanish like a Mexican (very disdainfully)."

When I returned to the States six weeks later, my Hispanic friends said, "You speak Spanish like an Argentinean (very disdainfully)." 

I gave up, so there's no telling what my accent sounds like now. 😂

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7 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

I do this, too, and yeah, it's not intentional.  It even happened to me in German - when I lived in Germany for a year, I picked up a southern German (specifically Schwäbisch) accent, which utterly horrified my Rhineland German relatives.  It's like if you were a New Yorker and your foreign relative stayed for a while in the deep South and came to visit you with a full-on southern drawl.  Not that there's anything wrong with a southern drawl, per se, but you know how the New Yorkers would see that...  (I've lost my Schwäbisch accent now... unless I go visiting down there for a while...).  And I do fall into a bit of an East Tennessee accent myself when I go visit relatives there.  I try to quash it if I hear myself doing it, but no one ever seems to notice...  

When we were kids, my cousin moved one state south for several years, and when she moved back, I literally could not understand her.  So I guess these things run in families.  😛

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42 minutes ago, wintermom said:

No one else opened the door on stereotypical physical features. Why start now?  I thought this thread was about behaviour.  And the stated behaviour of the poster in question was the fact that they said, "I could tell by your teeth."  That is coming right out and saying that because a person has xyz teeth (presumably straight with no gaps) they couldn't possibly be British.

 

Actually, this wasn't in the UK. 

I guess I wonder if this is something most americans don't notice but is a subtle reminder of our wealth and "privilege" so resented by non Americans.  Seems to have touched a nerve.

 I am a quiet person and very attentive to people and surroundings when traveling.  The broad generalizations of Americans as rude and obnoxious is annoying.

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5 minutes ago, Chelli said:

I did the same when I lived in Buenos Aires one summer in college. When I arrived all of the Argentinean people were like, "You speak Spanish like a Mexican (very disdainfully)."

When I returned to the States six weeks later, my Hispanic friends said, "You speak Spanish like an Argentinean (very disdainfully)." 

I gave up, so there's no telling what my accent sounds like now. 😂

I'm with you there too.  I've lived in both Mexico and Spain.  When I got to Spain, everyone told me I had a Mexican accent.  Then I absorbed the Spanish ceceo (for the non-Spanish - that's using 'th' to pronounce soft 'c' and 'z', but NOT 's').  Anyway, now I confuse people entirely.  In a youth hostel once I challenged some native speakers (don't remember from what Spanish speaking country) to guess where I was from, and they noticed the Mexican lilt and the Spanish ceceo, and finally guessed Uruguay. 😂  I never get pegged as a North American.

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3 hours ago, Islandgal said:

I was going to let this go but it's been bugging me. I want to say this as gently as I possibly can, because you have been super receptive and supportive, and I thank you for it.  

I'd like to draw attention to the statement that I highlighted.

Can you see how saying this may be perceived that because a fellow American said it gives the point made validity, and may come across hurtful? In my opinion, using the term whitewashing suggests that the people were being dishonest. It all goes back to if you aren't sure of something, ask.

I don't mean to offend you or pick on you in any way at all. I just wanted to point out that sometimes innocent statements made can subliminally show or can be perceived as superiority on some level, even though I know that was not the intent.

Thank you.  I definitely didn't mean to offend.  I wish I had come up with a better word.  😟

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