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7 hours ago, Pen said:

 

A problem though I think may be that Australians think they know America, and that they cannot help but know America—but may actually really only know American movies and TV.

 

I think this has been raised a few times though the thread.  My comments and I think most were based on personal experience not the movies.  I realise the thread is crazy long now though so easy to miss stuff

also just to reiterate that’s not a “I think I know America” but observations on Americans here which obviously may be a biased selection with regards to wealth levels etc.

I’d say I’ve learned most about Americans in America from hanging out here although again this is a distinct subgroup with its own culture and goodness knows there’s plenty of variation.

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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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2 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I think this has been raised a few times though the thread.  My comments and I think most were based on personal experience not the movies.  I realise the thread is crazy long now though so easy to miss stuff

also just to reiterate that’s not a “I think I know America” but observations on Americans here which obviously may be a biased selection with regards to wealth levels etc.

I’d say I’ve learned most about Americans in America from hanging out here although again this is a distinct subgroup with its own culture and goodness knows there’s plenty of variation.

 

It was intended as directly about a comment from @StellaM who seemed to indicate that it is the national privilege of USA Americans not to have to learn about Australia, while Australians are required  to learn about USA. 

Maybe that’s actually so and Australians have required school classes in US culture, history, etc.  idk.   My impression is that Australians aren’t actually required to learn about USA, that some choose to, and others choose not to.  And the fiction media images and the stereotypes are so strong it might take some extra learning to get past the fictions. 

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20 hours ago, kdsuomi said:

 

Honestly, what is this dig about? I don't know any American who doesn't realize that people all over the world differently. I mean, I live very differently than the very wealthy families who make up most of the city we live in. Most Americans likely have a number of actual immigrants who are close friends or family and very well know that people live differently elsewhere. We do also learn about other cultures and are taught that we should be very accepting of them. 

 

Most Americans that I know (hence my experience, and opinion 😂) intellectually understand from a macro view that people all over the world live differently, however, in small ways and in regular conversation show that they don't actually understand that deep down. I'm an immigrant and have been surprised (but then not...) at how many times people have assumed that my home country has similar laws/holidays/commercial enterprises/thought processes, etc... to here. When I point out the truth (that they don't) then they sort of slap their heads and say "of course!" but in my experience it really is a mindset that's ingrained. Heck, I've lived here 29 years and I have developed some of those patterns of thinking. My mom likes to point them out to me when I visit as how I've "become so American". 😁 Some of you may not see it, and that's okay, but don't discount the experience of those of us who do. 

9 hours ago, Pen said:

 

A problem though I think may be that Australians think they know America, and that they cannot help but know America—but may actually really only know American movies and TV.

 

I'm American (granted, an immigrant who has lived here a long time) and I've seen almost everything that the non-Americans have - including the stereotypical drunk Aussies 🤣 (how do people not know that this is a stereotype of a section of Australians!?! LOL!) I know America and Americans very well and still have the same opinions of the non-Americans on this thread. I don't think it's ignorance or lack of knowledge, just their experience.

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6 hours ago, importswim said:

 

Most Americans that I know (hence my experience, and opinion 😂) intellectually understand from a macro view that people all over the world live differently, however, in small ways and in regular conversation show that they don't actually understand that deep down. I'm an immigrant and have been surprised (but then not...) at how many times people have assumed that my home country has similar laws/holidays/commercial enterprises/thought processes, etc... to here. When I point out the truth (that they don't) then they sort of slap their heads and say "of course!" but in my experience it really is a mindset that's ingrained. Heck, I've lived here 29 years and I have developed some of those patterns of thinking. My mom likes to point them out to me when I visit as how I've "become so American". 😁 Some of you may not see it, and that's okay, but don't discount the experience of those of us who do. 

I'm American (granted, an immigrant who has lived here a long time) and I've seen almost everything that the non-Americans have - including the stereotypical drunk Aussies 🤣 (how do people not know that this is a stereotype of a section of Australians!?! LOL!) I know America and Americans very well and still have the same opinions of the non-Americans on this thread. I don't think it's ignorance or lack of knowledge, just their experience.

This is human nature when faced with very little experience.  

For 13 years, I had 1 child.  I was the parent of an only.  And most parents of only children that I have interacted with get really really irked off when people say things like "well you only have one, that's not real parenting."  I know I did.  

Now, I have 3 kids ages 11 and under at home.  And one fully launched adult child.

 

 

 

 

And, I get it.  I *knew* parenting more than one kid was different than parenting an only.  That's like obvious right?  And I was the oldest of 4 so it's not like I had no experience with having siblings, or babysitting multiple kids, etc etc.   But then, once I actually had a GROUP of kids, I really truly understood the dynamic.  I really understood that it's actually a whole other world of parenting.  There's nothing wrong with having only kids.  But parents of only kids really can't truly deep down understand just how different the entire family dynamic is when there is more than one.  

 

I mentioned earlier in the thread that travel is something that isn't possible to a lot of American citizens.  For many people, when they travel internationally, it's a once in a lifetime event. Those two weeks or whatever they spend in another country, those may be the only 2 weeks they spend outside the US in their lives.  On top of that, for most of us here in flyover country...............we aren't getting tourists.  When people from other countries come to the US, they want to see things like the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Mouse, etc etc etc.  And if they do come to the middle of the country, they are generally only coming for a specific event and don't venture outside that.  So many of the people who end up travelling to other countries on their once in a lifetime trips are going to be the same people who rarely receive tourists (American or not) in the first place.  The level of experience is very low in many cases and without actual experience.......it can be difficult to develop real deep understanding.

 

It's not that people who don't have that deep understanding are trying to be obtuse or carry certain stereotypes that everyone is like us.  Its just that many people in the US, by virtue of means or location or a combination of factors, have very little real world experience with people who aren't American.  

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5 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

It's not that people who don't have that deep understanding are trying to be obtuse or carry certain stereotypes that everyone is like us.  Its just that many people in the US, by virtue of means or location or a combination of factors, have very little real world experience with people who aren't American.  

And it's surprising to many Americans from places with higher levels of diversity that a significant percentage of Americans do not regularly interact with minorities because there aren't any in their area.  It's mind blowing. It came up in another thread last year.

They're exactly the crowd that needs to tune in when people who do have that kind of experience tell them about phenomena such as group identities, impressions, conscientious representation, and the like when they're around other cultures.  But plenty dig in and insist they don't give a rip what anyone thinks of them and it's  their vacation, and how tragic it is that an American would rather blend to cultural norms than stand out. 

We're basically giving the classic parental lecture:  "Life isn't fair,  [some people will make  negative generalizations about Americans when American tourists behave badly by their standards] but you have to be fair" [by going to the trouble to learn dos and don'ts in your destination from an authoritative source and abide by them while never giving in to the temptation to stereotype others ] that we have with our kids in different contexts. There's a variation on that conversation that anyone who wore a team/band/organization shirt at school heard from the coach/teacher/leader that goes, "If you are wearing your shirt and break rules on campus or a law off campus, you're out.  No exceptions.  We don't need our name associated with that kind of behavior." We can't take away anyone's citizenship for it, but the same principle applies-don't make our organization look bad by behaving badly.

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4 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

And it's surprising to many Americans from places with higher levels of diversity that a significant percentage of Americans do not regularly interact with minorities because there aren't any in their area.  It's mind blowing. It came up in another thread last year.
 

There's a difference between "experience with people who aren't American" and interacting "with minorities"  Plenty of people belonging to minority groups are still American.  Plenty of people who are American still grow up under the same laws, celebrate the same holidays, have the same traditions, speak the same language etc etc.  And plenty of people all over the country have experience "interacting with minorities" but that doesn't mean they have experience with completely different cultures.  I suppose that's why they call it culture shock.

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

So what's the deal, do you reckon, with the extreme levels of offence taken by some in this thread ? Given you, an American, have perceptions that closely map to international perceptions ? "Cos I still don't get it. 

Re the bolded, IKR ??!!

Three factors: 
1. They're likely not people who interact with highly diverse subgroups in their area.  I don't just mean racially diverse, I mean culturally diverse. They're not used to lots of very different ways to view and do something. They're not certainly used to hearing people tell them they should modify their behavior for someone else's sake.

2. There are political tectonic plates under American views of international issues, which could easily shift into a heated political debate, which would take this thread places many people on both sides don't want it to go.  You're seeing a mild quake. People are being restrained out of respect for the site. We're all pretty frazzled here with politics whether we're on the left, the right, or like me, neither. Another election year is gearing up and no one is looking forward to it.

3. They're from parts of the US where candid, straightforward talk about difficult issues is not normative. Some of us are accustomed to someone saying, "So what's the deal with the elephant in this room?" and having people respond, "I know, right? Here's the thing about this elephant ...." and then a candid discussion about the elephant ensues and the elephant goes away or remains, or whatever, but it was all passionately hashed out and everyone had their say, all sides were represented.  Others have been trained from early on to go to great lengths to avoid speaking of the elephant in the room because they were taught that it's mean or bad or rude or might upset someone.

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16 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

There's a difference between "experience with people who aren't American" and interacting "with minorities"  Plenty of people belonging to minority groups are still American.  Plenty of people who are American still grow up under the same laws, celebrate the same holidays, have the same traditions, speak the same language etc etc.  And plenty of people all over the country have experience "interacting with minorities" but that doesn't mean they have experience with completely different cultures.  I suppose that's why they call it culture shock.

Yes, but interacting with a minority culture is a good baby step in awareness. Some minority cultures are very different. Some Native American cultures sure are.  By interacting with them, even though they are still Americans, it can be a paradigm shift for people.  If someone living in the US is so different, then someone not living in the US could be even more different.

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5 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Three factors: 
1. They're likely not people who interact with highly diverse subgroups in their area.  I don't just mean racially diverse, I mean culturally diverse. They're not used to lots of very different ways to view and do something. They're not certainly used to hearing people tell them they should modify their behavior for someone else's sake.

Diverse subgroups are very different than completely different country.  Although the US has a LOT of different cultural subgroups, the truth is, there's a lot of underlying culture that is truly American.

 

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13 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Diverse subgroups are very different than completely different country.  Although the US has a LOT of different cultural subgroups, the truth is, there's a lot of underlying culture that is truly American.

 

You read that part where I didn't equate the two, right? I never said they were the same.  My point is so many Americans aren't even used to different Americans, they have no concept of the kind of echo chamber they live in.  Some are even farther behind than just not used to dealing with different foreign cultures.   Americans that do deal with different minority cultures typically have a sense of difference and are more likely to grasp that the differences with foreigners is likely to be greater, so they can more readily accept that finding out about the cultural norms at their travel destination is a necessity. I was addressing the source of the "I don't give a rip what someone else would think of my behavior" attitude because they've actually never had to deal with it before on any meaningful level.  People who have had to deal with it on even a very small scale are more likely to accept that there is a larger scale version of it and they're responsible for learning about it.

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I did read it, but I think you are discussing a different topic than I am.  

As I said, I live in flyover country.  I graduated from that high school.  KKK grand dragons lived in places I lived in.

But I have never ever experienced "I don't give a rip what someone else thinks of my behavior" except for those people who are @$$holes.  And, @$$holes exist in every culture.....it's not a feature of Americans who are inexperienced with other countries.  

 

You specifically responded to by post about experience with different countries with a post about lack of experience with dealing with minorities.  I want to be clear that I think those to things are very very different.  I think baby steps don't sub in for real world experience.  I think that even those Americans who DO have experience dealing with various sub cultures, maybe because they live in the southwest, or in NYC or whatever.....................they are still very likely to lack a very real understanding of the difference in culture that exist when they travel to another country.  

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I disagree that everyone in Australia needs to understand US culture because the US has a different political / economic / overall population situation.  People in Australia and many other countries can and do have plenty of misperceptions and have the option to just not give a crap what we are like.  I mean what's gonna happen to you if you don't know how I live my life?  Nothing, as long as you don't spout off a bunch of nonsense about me, and then the only thing that can happen is I can spout back.

I hear you saying that the US position in the world is a motivator for your feelings and interests, but that doesn't make any material difference to you or me.  Unless you can explain to me what you gain or lose from knowing or not knowing.

 

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10 minutes ago, SKL said:

I disagree that everyone in Australia needs to understand US culture because the US has a different political / economic / overall population situation.  People in Australia and many other countries can and do have plenty of misperceptions and have the option to just not give a crap what we are like.  I mean what's gonna happen to you if you don't know how I live my life?  Nothing, as long as you don't spout off a bunch of nonsense about me, and then the only thing that can happen is I can spout back.

I hear you saying that the US position in the world is a motivator for your feelings and interests, but that doesn't make any material difference to you or me.  Unless you can explain to me what you gain or lose from knowing or not knowing.

 

We have a saying in my country, when the U.S. sneezes we catch a cold. What happens in the U.S. directly impacts my country's economy. So yes, I have a vested interest.

If that is a considered a political post, please let me know so I can delete.

Edited by Islandgal
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2 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

So what's the deal, do you reckon, with the extreme levels of offence taken by some in this thread ? Given you, an American, have perceptions that closely map to international perceptions ? "Cos I still don't get it. 

Re the bolded, IKR ??!!

Stella, I like interacting with you online.

You started your posting in this thread with a whole lot of qualifications.  You then followed with a whole lot of thoughts along the lines of 'aussies think americans are too sensitive.'  And I would like to suggest that perhaps you are applying your own cultural opinion of what people should be able to discuss is blinding you to what might be a touch of your own level of offense.  It seems as if the very idea that someone might disagree with your opinion of their own culture is, well....extreme.  

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8 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

We have a saying in my country, when the U.S. sneezes we catch a cold. What happens in the U.S. directly impacts my country's economy. So, yes, I have a vested interest.

So it matters whether I wear white shoes or smile at my neighbors or like Thai food?  I can see that you are affected by what our state department and military do, but not what private citizens do.  Being interested in the latter is a choice, just as my being very interested in people in other countries is a choice.

ETA I guess if we bought a lot of things from your country and that changed, yeah, that would affect you.  I don't think that's the case for Australia, but I could see it being true in some countries.

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7 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

We have a saying in my country, when the U.S. sneezes we catch a cold. What happens in the U.S. directly impacts my country's economy. So yes, I have a vested interest.

If that is a considered a political post, please let me know so I can delete.

The US is a country of several hundred million people.  Politically, sure, what happens in the US might directly impact your country.  But, how an individual (or even group tour) American interacts when touring your country.....not so much.  

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The other thing is the pot calling the kettle black.  "You people are boors.  And I'll never forgive you for what happened before you were born."  "You can't call all of us boors, you don't even know most of us."  "How dare you get offended!  I am offended that you're offended.  I want an apology!"

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In re tourism and perceptions, this thread led me to recall a time when I was traveling in Europe with my sort of boyfriend who was from Australia.  

At one restaurant that catered to tourists the servers had flags to put on tables (perhaps to indicate language, I really don’t know why)— anyway they started by putting an American flag on ours.    And there was a tense silence and sort of angry vibe from surrounding tables.  But my then boyfriend shook his head and said we needed an Australian flag.  When the American flag got replaced with the Australian flag there was actually hand clapping from nearby tables, smiles, and a welcoming warmer feeling and behaviors from people around.  

Nothing had changed about us except the flags. We were still dressed the same.  We were taking up the same space with our same speech and manners and mannerisms...

 

 

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2 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

So what's the deal, do you reckon, with the extreme levels of offence taken by some in this thread ? Given you, an American, have perceptions that closely map to international perceptions ? "Cos I still don't get it. 

 

So to just directly ask you and get this clarified, I did not read every post in this long thread carefully.  However, of the parts I did read, I did not perceive any extreme levels of offense.   I did not feel such a feeling myself.

Could you please clarify or answer with quotes that seem to you to be extreme levels of offense?  Was this common in your opinion or just a few people?

Do you perceive me as one of the posters showing extreme levels of offense?

 

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1 hour ago, kdsuomi said:

It's not our fault that people from other countries have very misinformed and incorrect assumptions about us and aren't willing to admit that and learn the truth. 

Maybe it  is just my Aussie English dialect translation,  what a funny thing to say about all other countries. but this just about sums it up, this attitude about the rest of the world.

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

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3 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

But I have never ever experienced "I don't give a rip what someone else thinks of my behavior" except for those people who are @$$holes.  And, @$$holes exist in every culture.....it's not a feature of Americans who are inexperienced with other countries.  

 

You specifically responded to by post about experience with different countries with a post about lack of experience with dealing with minorities.  I want to be clear that I think those to things are very very different.  I think baby steps don't sub in for real world experience.  I think that even those Americans who DO have experience dealing with various sub cultures, maybe because they live in the southwest, or in NYC or whatever.....................they are still very likely to lack a very real understanding of the difference in culture that exist when they travel to another country.  

That attitude is in this thread.  I'm paraphrasing, but it's here.

We're talking about American a$$hole tourists on this thread, because that's what this thread is about.  I have stories about Germans at the Grand Canyon and Chinese tourists in PHX, DC, and CA. This thread isn't about a German or Chinese person asking how not to be an a$$hole tourist in America.  If it were, I'd tell those stories and offer advice, just like the international crowd did when the OP specifically asked them to:

OP: What are commly held impressions of Americans abroad and how can I make a good impression as an American tourist?
Internationals: Don't do X, Y, and Z-internationals don't like those things. Do A, B, and C-it goes over better.
Some WTM posters: I don't do that, so your points aren't valid, and even if some do it isn't America's problem, it's small minded locals who stereotype people. 

Yes, yes, yes. We all heard you that you think they're different.  I think they're different too and said so.  You're choosing to dismiss that.  That's on you.

We all know full well few Americans have the time and money to travel internationally. That isn't going to change anytime soon-it's actually becoming less likely for most of them with housing costs rising, income stagnant for most people, Social Security running out of money, skyrocketing healthcare costs, skyrocketing college costs, inadequate 401Ks, etc.   Most people I know who have paid time off (not the majority of people I know) get 1-2 weeks at most.  They can't always use those weeks together. Most spend some of it on sick time if they have kids and its a bad flu year. Most of them spend it traveling to see their own families who don't live locally if they have time left over. 

So some Americans' only chance of re-calibrating their concept of different is local minorities, usually immigrants or their near descendants in many places.  It's an opportunity not to be missed and it has its own value and can make some impact.  Maybe not anywhere near as much as you like with international travel,  but enough to motivate them to ask about differences if they ever get the chance to travel abroad. The people who haven't traveled abroad who can hear that learning about the local cultural norms beforehand often do so because they've interacted with other subcultures.  I was explaining why some people just can't even hear it. I personally know people who started to grasp the idea of different when they came to a place with minority subcultures and spent time with them.  Acknowledging it isn't equating them.

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4 hours ago, SKL said:

So it matters whether I wear white shoes or smile at my neighbors or like Thai food?  I can see that you are affected by what our state department and military do, but not what private citizens do.  Being interested in the latter is a choice, just as my being very interested in people in other countries is a choice.

ETA I guess if we bought a lot of things from your country and that changed, yeah, that would affect you.  I don't think that's the case for Australia, but I could see it being true in some countries.

So for one example

and this is political I guess 

Us assassinated a dude in Iran 
 

now we have people on the way to Iraq and our fuel prices are going nuts. Even though we currently have a pretty major national crisis.  (Though us is helping with that so thank you.  On the other hand our share prices are better as I understand it because you made a trade agreement with China (though my economics are shaky so I might have that wrong)

the entire population of Australia is slightly more than half than the population of California.

i don’t think there’s much we can do politically that effects you guys directly.  I don’t think most average Americans necessarily pay that much attention to the elections here though I may be wrong.  We do because everything US does has a direct effect down here.  When your president makes some economic decisions that effects our dollar and translates directly to my family budget when I buy the school books for the year.

obviously US is not the only factor here China is a big factor as well as are many different countries but it has a bigger impact.

i have no idea if that’s what Stella is talking about but that’s what I see from my place.  If it’s too political I’ll pull it down but I don’t think it’s partisan it’s just about how things play out on a world stage.  Obviously this has nothing to do with each individual I guess apart from the way they vote.  

Edited by Ausmumof3
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4 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

 Last question first, no, nor would I expect you to be one of those posters.

Second last question, no. Those posts are available to all on this thread, and are easily read and understood by anyone who is interested. I don't feel a need to do the work of going back and finding each example and reposting them. 

In my opinion, more posters than not expressed minor or absent levels of offence, but those who took offence did so with personal insults directed at individual posters, and international posters as a whole, and lied about individual posters and their motivations.  Putting 5 or 6 such posters on ignore improved the readability of the thread immensely.

IMO, posters here should not be allowed to call a group in the minority (international posters) bigots and have that post allowed to stand by the mods (yes mods, I know I'm not meant to talk about moderation, delete this sentence if required).

Importantly, the only person I feel answerable to on this thread is the OP, and the OP and I are good.

 

 

Ok thanks.  Glad to have it not be me.  

 

————-

@fairfarmhand  in re impression when abroad, I’d add that some nationalities / places tend to be more lenient toward us USA American people than others.

One of my grandmothers was born in France .  No wait, Paris, this could be a Paris issue not a France issue.  Anyway French or Parisians seemed IME much less tolerant of faux pas, no French, poor French, etc,  while people from some other places (many places in South America, for example) tended to be much nicer and really appreciative about efforts to learn even a smattering of their language and to do things right.  

 For work, I sometimes had to communicate with people in several different countries and found substantial differences.  French Québécois were much nicer in general about my butchered attempts at French, than people in Paris were in my experience.  Either way, a whole lot of , begging forgiveness, “I seem to be in great difficulty, is there any possible chance that you or someone there could help me ...”.  “Excusez moi, je vous en priez.  ... “ and explanation that I speak no French (in French) was helpful.    “Je ne parle rien francais,  Which despite a French speaking grandmere and several years of school French was basically true, tended to get some assistance.  And a bunch of subjunctive whether in English or French like “I would like to speak to Mr  ____  / Je voudrais parler avec Mssr. ____”

(Not like how in USA it might be straight to “Please connect me to Mr Smith” which unless tone indicates rudeness probably seems polite to US ears but elsewhere could seem like a brusque, rude demand. )

Sort of similar to how several of us have said tended to be needed in UK: long politeness intros, rather than more direct language.  

Less extreme in some other places, but learning some basic nicety phrases, “por  favor” “gracias” etc was often very helpful.  

I nearly always studied at least a small amount of the language of any place I went and read about culture before going there. 

I also tried to do that when working with people from other countries.    This was before smartphones and YouTube—so now probably easier to do, even from Midwest flyover or parts of South that don’t tend to be cosmopolitan.

The 4 statements in Louise Penny’s books that Inspector Gamache teaches his protégés are often also helpful I think.  Let’s see, hmm, maybe someone else here will remember them all. but along lines of:

I don’t know.  I’m sorry. Forgive me.  I need help.

and “please” with the last two helps

and asking someone from a specific place you’ll be going, whether here, or elsewhere online, or a university International House in person if there are such where you are can also help

 

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52 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Us assassinated a dude in Iran 
 

 

and a plane* with 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents got shot down as a direct consequence.   No survivors.

"Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."  - A Famous Canadian in 1969. 

*To be clear: A commercial airline plane full of civilians.

Edited by wathe
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7 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

This is human nature when faced with very little experience.  

It's not that people who don't have that deep understanding are trying to be obtuse or carry certain stereotypes that everyone is like us.  Its just that many people in the US, by virtue of means or location or a combination of factors, have very little real world experience with people who aren't American.  

That's definitely true! The majority of Americans that I am friends with right now in the area that I live in have not traveled outside the US. I thought your analogy of parenting only one child was a great one. 🙂 

7 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

So what's the deal, do you reckon, with the extreme levels of offence taken by some in this thread ? Given you, an American, have perceptions that closely map to international perceptions ? "Cos I still don't get it. 

Re the bolded, IKR ??!!

Nope! Nuh uh. Not touching that one with a ten foot pole. 😂🤣😂

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37 minutes ago, wathe said:

and a plane with 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents got shot down as a direct consequence.   No survivors.

"Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt."  - A Famous Canadian in 1969. 

 

He was a mass murderer planning more mass murders, And the Iranians shot down the plane because they did had some complete idiots in control of the missiles or they did it as a deliberate action.  The Iranian govt is evil and spreads evil  Even their own citizens are rebelling.

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I don't dispute that Iranian dude was a baddie.  The point is that when USA acts (in this case, as far as we know, unilaterally, without consulting or even warning allies), other smaller countries bear a significant share of the consequences. 

Edited by wathe
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On 1/15/2020 at 5:54 PM, MercyA said:

[SNIP]

The Pledge runs counter to my beliefs as a Christian, too. And, in any case, it is a lie. There is not freedom and justice for all. Anyone who thinks there is isn't paying attention.

 

I don't like the pledge because someone(s) decided to insert the idea of our nation being "under God".  I'm not on board with that.

And I agree with you about the lie.  I prefer to think of it as an aspiration.

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So, just to recap, this is not principally about offensive American tourist behaviors/attitudes but objectionable foreign policy perspectives/actions (that at least half of Americans disapprove of), overweight bodies, audible joy at being OCONUS, and white orthotic shoes.

If this had remained a conversation about uncouth tourist behaviors (which I have also observed) and how to advise future travelers, I wouldn’t have taken any offense, but it didn’t and it hasn’t. 

Edited by Sneezyone
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11 minutes ago, Amy in NH said:

I don't like the pledge because someone(s) decided to insert the idea of our nation being "under God".  I'm not on board with that.

Yeah, I can understand that. I like my religious freedom an awful lot and want others to have freedom to worship or not worship as they see fit. 

Also, I think that portion is a lie in some ways as well. In a general sense, I believe all nations are under God, but I do *not* believe our nation has any special claim for God to be on "our side" (far from it) and certainly we are often not on His. 

I think we should scrap the whole thing, honestly, especially from schools.

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2 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

He was a mass murderer planning more mass murders, And the Iranians shot down the plane because they did had some complete idiots in control of the missiles or they did it as a deliberate action.  The Iranian govt is evil and spreads evil  Even their own citizens are rebelling.

It wasn’t a debate about whether the action was right or wrong.  Just making the point that any action taken has significant effects on the rest of us 

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47 minutes ago, kdsuomi said:

The most recent posts have shown that there's no way some people will ever give up their false assumptions about Americans because they don't like U.S. foreign policy. That's your choice, but then you lose all credibility when trying to tell Americans not to judge other cultures. Also, I do not subscribe to the currently popular view that only certain people are allowed to have opinions on certain topics, such as non-US posters having opinions on Americans. When people from across the country and across the political spectrum (most of us Americans who have had issues with these ridiculous posts hardly ever agree with other and definitely don't agree on "big" issues) tell you that your assumptions are incorrect that should be a sign to listen. 

On that, and since there is no purpose anymore since it's so clear that no one actually cares to have factual information, I'm out. Enjoy talking in your echo chamber on the "dark forum".

Which were the false assumptions?

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2 hours ago, Sneezyone said:

So, just to recap, this is not principally about offensive American tourist behaviors/attitudes but objectionable foreign policy perspectives/actions (that at least half of Americans disapprove of), overweight bodies, audible joy at being OCONUS, and white orthotic shoes.

If this had remained a conversation about uncouth tourist behaviors (which I have also observed) and how to advise future travelers, I wouldn’t have taken any offense, but it didn’t and it hasn’t. 

Foreign policy was a side track

the sneaker stereotype was raised by an American first up.  It’s not something that would have come to mind for me.  Everyone here wears sneakers too.

the overweight stereotype has faded here because we’re mostly overweight here too.    I also didn’t see it mentioned in this thread.

I have no idea what OCONUS means.

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12 hours ago, StellaM said:

So what's the deal, do you reckon, with the extreme levels of offence taken by some in this thread ? Given you, an American, have perceptions that closely map to international perceptions ?

I'm one of the international Americans, and I would add one more reason.  Namely, that *sometimes* false motives/heart attitudes are being attributed based solely on outward (or perceived) behavior.    Someone can be happily confident without thinking their way is the best or others are inferior, for example.  Or giving blunt opinion without being mean. Nobody likes to be falsely judged.

Edited by vmsurbat1
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I've skimmed this thread but haven't read every single post.  During my high school years, we had several exchange students at my school - some lived in my neighborhood and others played on my ball team.  In grad school, my lab had more international students than American (although most stayed in the US after finishing school and now have green cards).  I heard lots of opinions on Americans, and they were very specific to the culture of the speaker.  French students thought we were loud, while Indian students thought we were quiet (and, having interacted with both...they were right, relative to their culture).  Scandinavians were shocked by our disposable income because their tax structure and food costs are so different - high school students stopping for a burger or ice cream after a ball game blew their mind. Indian students thought we had to work too hard, because we are mostly DIY - we do our own laundry, shopping, cooking, etc, instead of having paid people to do that.  It had never crossed their minds that their cleaning lady went home and cleaned her own house.  Everybody thought we were fat, but then were shocked when they gained weight once they got here.  All thought Americans were very friendly.  Some thought our school system had low expectations, but they were also not placed in advanced classes due to language barriers so it's harder to judge on that one - they were probably right.  Friends from India and Pakistan thought that Americans respond rationally rather than emotionally, or at least attempt to come up with a rational explanation for their responses.  Based on my own perceptions of my country, I can only interpret this as a conclusion based on relative, not objective, observations.

One comment that friends made seems applicable to the 'American confidence' descriptions.  I've been told that Americans just expect things to work, because most of our everyday interactions do.  When I got married, I got a new social security card and drivers license with my married name.  When I applied for a job, I filled out a form, paid the $5 fee, and got a copy of my transcript in 5-7 business days.  None of these were stressful things - just errands to run.  My friends said that this is not the case everywhere.  They thought it strange that we see a sign staying 'Tour at 3' and expect it to leave promptly at 3.  I was startled when they pointed it out - I wasn't asking for any special treatment, I just went during posted hours and expected that people would do their job with reasonable competence.  It might not be relavent, but their interpretation is that Americans just expect to do what they want on a daily basis because for the most part they can and it carries over to how they act in other places.  This isn't to say that we don't have obnoxious jerks - like everywhere, we do - but I had never considered this explanation for how Americans carry themselves until I heard it from my friends.  

Edited by ClemsonDana
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21 hours ago, importswim said:

Most Americans that I know (hence my experience, and opinion 😂) intellectually understand from a macro view that people all over the world live differently, however, in small ways and in regular conversation show that they don't actually understand that deep down. I'm an immigrant and have been surprised (but then not...) at how many times people have assumed that my home country has similar laws/holidays/commercial enterprises/thought processes, etc... to here. When I point out the truth (that they don't) then they sort of slap their heads and say "of course!" but in my experience it really is a mindset that's ingrained.

We hosted one of DH's co workers and a friend from South Korea and her sons for Thanksgiving one year. Co worker asked friend what she does to celebrate Thanksgiving in South Korea and we had to explain that the day Americans celebrate Thanksgiving isn't the same where friend is from. It was an an-ha moment for coworker. The interesting thing is that he had traveled outside of the US a lot, but for some reason hadn't made the connection that the holiday we celebrate as Thanksgiving isn't the same in other countries.

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5 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

Yep, no mention of shoes here either! Nor of weight...

OCONUS means outside the continental United States, I think, from a quick Google. 

Never heard it used before.

 

Outside the Contiguous United States; it's a military acronym, not common outside of military circles. Includes states and territories of the US such as Hawaii and Alaska that are not attached to the main mass of the country as well as all foreign countries.

I believe Sneezy's family are military; sometimes we forget that acronyms all the US military families are familiar with are not actually common vocabulary.

Edited by maize
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Earlier in the thread I posted that some Americans have stereotypes of my country.

A Facebook friend, who lives in the U.S., made a post last night that I thought would be interesting to share.

My friend had an 8:00a.m. appointment, which she was early for 😄.  Introductions were made and she was invited into the office, but not invited to sit (in my country, we don't sit unless invited to do so). The lady began to ask my friend questions, while answering said questions the lady breathes a sigh of a relief, interrupts my friend while she's speaking to say, "You speak English so well! I was worried when I saw the spelling of your name, and country of origin. You people sure have some interesting names." Then smiles and asks my friend to continue with her reply.

Just wanted to add, English is our official and primary language.

Before I get shot, yes, I KNOW not all Americans are like this. 

Edited by Islandgal
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One thing that I thought of-my DH is a product owner/Engineering lead for a computer software package where most development has been outsourced to the Phillipeans. One of the things that he has struggled with is the fact that US developers on salary tend to work until the job is completed (often excessively so), but ones in the Phillipeans tend to work more to clock and to take holidays vs working through them if a project is going on. Having never before led an overseas team, he has struggled with working with very polite, hard working people who just plain treat work differently.

 

After spending the Christmas/Holiday season in Australia and NZ, where a lot of businesses shut down from Christmas to after NY for their summer break, and where many businesses either shut down in the early evening, or, for restaurants, will shut down after lunch for several hours and then reopen at night, he commented that he got Cebu-it was simply a culture that prized time at home and leisure vs getting a project done a few hours earlier. 

 

It took seeing a different culture to be able to lose the "US" lens and recognizing that maybe, just maybe, all software engineers everywhere aren't workaholics. And since he came back, he has become more guarded of HIS leisure and family time, too, recognizing that, no, he doesn't have to be available at 9:00 PM for him just because someone sends a message then. 

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7 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Is it offensive to talk about positive stereotypes?  I know this thread was about the negatives but from a positive viewpoint Americans here tend to be perceived as being very generous I think.

I've been told it's offensive to mention positive stereotypes.  For example, don't dare suggest that people from the far east are often intelligent.

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Another possible insight - this one into how Americans seem to take up more space than their body size would indicate.

We who are used to international interactions are aware that different cultures require different sized "bubbles" around the individual.

When I was an education student, I had to teach gym, and one of the things we had to teach was about "self space."  We had to design a lesson that helped young kids understand how much space others are entitled to.  The one I used had them each holding a length of rope taut and moving around the gym, being careful not to bump into each other.  The point of this lesson was consideration for others.  It was not encouragement of space greed.

So consider that when US people walk in a way that leaves more space around us (and this is so automatic we don't think about it), this is from our perspective considerate of the others around us - we are giving them their space rather than taking it up.

And while this thread is about Americans, it may be helpful to consider that many cultures encourage too-close-for-comfort positioning from a US person's perspective.  It is quite uncomfortable until one understands the reason for it.  If a person raised in the US culture comes up and moves into one's self space, it can be interpreted as a threat i.e. "I can get into your space / face and I can do a lot worse too."  I'm not saying other cultures need to change, only that there are usually two sides to cultural awkwardness.

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1 hour ago, dmmetler said:

One thing that I thought of-my DH is a product owner/Engineering lead for a computer software package where most development has been outsourced to the Phillipeans. One of the things that he has struggled with is the fact that US developers on salary tend to work until the job is completed (often excessively so), but ones in the Phillipeans tend to work more to clock and to take holidays vs working through them if a project is going on. Having never before led an overseas team, he has struggled with working with very polite, hard working people who just plain treat work differently.

 

After spending the Christmas/Holiday season in Australia and NZ, where a lot of businesses shut down from Christmas to after NY for their summer break, and where many businesses either shut down in the early evening, or, for restaurants, will shut down after lunch for several hours and then reopen at night, he commented that he got Cebu-it was simply a culture that prized time at home and leisure vs getting a project done a few hours earlier. 

 

It took seeing a different culture to be able to lose the "US" lens and recognizing that maybe, just maybe, all software engineers everywhere aren't workaholics. And since he came back, he has become more guarded of HIS leisure and family time, too, recognizing that, no, he doesn't have to be available at 9:00 PM for him just because someone sends a message then. 

We had friends that moved to NZ for several years, specifically to get better work/life balance. The dad was involved in the agricultural industry, and they moved to a part of NZ that has virtually identical growing conditions to our area here. It was a pretty profound change for the family to have him working only 40 hours per week with actual vacation time he was encouraged to use and they really enjoyed their time there. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died only a few months after they returned to the US for their children to start high school.

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4 hours ago, Islandgal said:

Earlier in the thread I posted that some Americans have stereotypes of my country.

A Facebook friend, who lives in U.S., posted a comment last night that I thought would be interesting to share.

My friend had an 8:00a.m. appointment, which she was early for 😄.  Introductions were made and she was invited into the office, but not invited to sit, (in my country, we don't sit unless invited to do so). The lady began to ask my friend questions, while answering said questions the lady breathes a sigh of a relief, interrupts my friend while she's speaking to say, "You speak English so well! I was worried when I saw the spelling of your name, and country of origin. You people sure have some interesting names." Then smiles and asks my friend to continue with her reply.

Just wanted to add, English is our official and primary language.

Before I get shot, yes, I KNOW not all Americans are like this. 

Good grief.  "You people" never leads anywhere good.  How obnoxious. 

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The space issue 

3 hours ago, SKL said:

Another possible insight - this one into how Americans seem to take up more space than their body size would indicate.

We who are used to international interactions are aware that different cultures require different sized "bubbles" around the individual.

When I was an education student, I had to teach gym, and one of the things we had to teach was about "self space."  We had to design a lesson that helped young kids understand how much space others are entitled to.  The one I used had them each holding a length of rope taut and moving around the gym, being careful not to bump into each other.  The point of this lesson was consideration for others.  It was not encouragement of space greed.

So consider that when US people walk in a way that leaves more space around us (and this is so automatic we don't think about it), this is from our perspective considerate of the others around us - we are giving them their space rather than taking it up.

And while this thread is about Americans, it may be helpful to consider that many cultures encourage too-close-for-comfort positioning from a US person's perspective.  It is quite uncomfortable until one understands the reason for it.  If a person raised in the US culture comes up and moves into one's self space, it can be interpreted as a threat i.e. "I can get into your space / face and I can do a lot worse too."  I'm not saying other cultures need to change, only that there are usually two sides to cultural awkwardness.

I think you're right about this.

I live in Europe right now. Where we live, when you stand in line at a store, the cultural priority is on efficiency.  The folks seem to think I'm so slow,  because the line will move forward and I sort of hang back, with Texan deference in my mind, and they'll cough and bump my cart gently forward with theirs! I'm holding up the line. More people could be unloading their groceries onto the belt if I'd just scoot forward promptly! Think of the time that would be lost if we all dawdled!  They aren't wrong about that.

On the other hand,  I went home to see my family, and my dad told me to quit crowding the lady in front of us at Walmart.  😂

I don't take it too personally.  I'd cry all the time if I did. I have to adjust and roll with it.  I try to keep up and blend in.  I'm getting there.

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9 minutes ago, elroisees said:

The space issue 

I think you're right about this.

I live in Europe right now. Where we live, when you stand in line at a store, the cultural priority is on efficiency.  The folks seem to think I'm so slow,  because the line will move forward and I sort of hang back, with Texan deference in my mind, and they'll cough and bump my cart gently forward with theirs! I'm holding up the line. More people could be unloading their groceries onto the belt if I'd just scoot forward promptly! Think of the time that would be lost if we all dawdled!  They aren't wrong about that.

On the other hand,  I went home to see my family, and my dad told me to quit crowding the lady in front of us at Walmart.  😂

I don't take it too personally.  I'd cry all the time if I did. I have to adjust and roll with it.  I try to keep up and blend in.  I'm getting there.

The space issue is pretty bad here too. I can't stand it, especially when standing in the line somewhere or at a party. 

I don't get that people want to be that close and personal, unless you're my husband or children, and sometimes not even then! 🤣😂

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