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S/o International people views on Americans


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2 hours ago, Islandgal said:

I want to thank you for starting this thread. It has been an ice breaker for me. I've been lurking for a long time and feel like I've gotten to "know" or at least get a feel for all of you here.

I was hesitant to post before for fear of being misinterpreted due to different cultural communication styles. My culture tends to communicate mostly with sarcasm, which can be difficult to decipher using this particular medium.

This topic has forced me to throw caution to the wind and dive right in for good or ill!

I appreciate your graciousness in what can be such a polarizing topic.

I am SO glad you've come here and shared your perceptions.   Thank you for opening yourself up to us.   And officially welcome to the Hive (even though you've been here a while). 

 

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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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28 minutes ago, GGardner said:

 

Now, I've never been to Australia, but I have met several native Aussies, and watched some Aussie film and television.  And I have to say, at least from my perspective, this does NOT match my stereotype of Australians, as an American.  My stereotype is that Australians are ruddy, rugged and self-sufficient, they without complaint live in a land that seems to be filled with creatures actively trying to kill them.  A stereotypical Australian would quietly brush off a venomous spider who crawled up her leg without comment or making a big fuss.  I've also heard of "tall poppy syndrome" from Australian friends, which would seem to be a difference from the average american.  Again, dealing in stereotypes.  I think a lot of Americans look back with nostalgia and fondness to our period of Western expansion, when we thought of ourselves as more rugged, and self-sufficient, (how much of that was myth or true is irrelevant here), and I think we project some of that in the way we view Australians.  So, we don't just think of Aussies as all cute.  Chris Hemsworth, though, well.....

 

Yeah. I agree that tough and rugged is the stereotype.     

 

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4 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

We make raised platform, long drops in such places.

Although to be honest travelling in the north of wa is pretty feral because lots of people use the roadside stops without toilets and still empty their Caravan dump there or use toilet paper and leave it in the bushes.  And the new bush loos are well designed but the smell from the old ones is something else!

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31 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

I have seen a few negative responses here but most of the responses seem to be by those want to continue the conversation and understand each other.  Perhaps trying to clarify things is seen as aggressive or arrogant in other cultures?   I honestly want to know.  

 

The responses I, and probably the other non-Americans, see as negative are not the ones where clarifying questions are being asked.

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5 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

Yeah. I agree that tough and rugged is the stereotype.     

 

 

We are nothing in comparison to the Canadians, who are all 7 foot tall lumberjacks who can survive -55C in nothing more than jeans and a flannel shirt.

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10 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

So here's a question: Why is confidence considered offensive?  

I'm not offended, just curious. Do others in other nations just creep around like doormats? 

Or is quiet confidence okay, but brash pushiness is what PPs are referring to?

I keep thinking about this and I think it’s the type of confidence.  You know that saying you guys have something about my right to extend my fist ends at my neighbours nose or something like that?  I think here we’d say my right to extend my fist ends about a metre away from my neighbour and if you’re on public transport you’d better not extend it at all.  Keep it neatly tucked in your lap and your elbows in thank you very much.  Also no loud conversations.

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1 minute ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

We are nothing in comparison to the Canadians, who are all 7 foot tall lumberjacks who can survive -55C in nothing more than jeans and a flannel shirt.

 

🙃 I immediately thought of a Canadian we know who’s only a former hockey player and only 6’7” 🙃

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The negative views I've seen of Americans differ depending on the county. In Germany I heard the criticism that Americans care only about quantity, not quality, so we'll be happy about an enormous mess of barely-food but will complain about the cost of a nice meal that is appropriately portioned, for example. In France I heard that we often fail to show respect when we enter a shop without greeting the shop keeper appropriately and chatting a little. In Russia I heard more because I was there longer. There we have the reputation for being insincere because we smile too much and give the appearance of friendliness, but it doesn't translate to true friendship as they understand it. We were also famous for the English Goodbye, which is where one departs a social gathering without taking one's leave of the others at the event. 

Having the ability to apologize and laugh at oneself comes in handy when going abroad. I think we as Americans sometimes forget how much diversity there really is in the world. We go abroad expecting to find people who are the same as us except for small differences of language, dress, and food, and I think sometimes we don't notice that there are lots of big differences we are overlooking, and it's in that overlooking we are most likely to really offend.

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6 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

In the interests of fairness, if you have any recommendations for how I could be a polite tourist in the US, based on the stereotypes you're exposed to about Australians, but clearly understanding that we're 'not all like that' 🙂 you can share with me!!

 

Oh fun! You might perceive me as thinking Aussies are cute, but: 

I got to spend time with a friend visiting from Australia. I hadn’t met her irl yet, it was just online. She had never seen a squirrel before! The rest of us had not considered that, and were delighted at her appreciation for them. It was a real ice breaker! Most of us don’t give a second thought to squirrels and think that an Aussie would be never be delighted by our boring wildlife. 

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17 minutes ago, SamanthaCarter said:

Oh fun! You might perceive me as thinking Aussies are cute, but: 

I got to spend time with a friend visiting from Australia. I hadn’t met her irl yet, it was just online. She had never seen a squirrel before! The rest of us had not considered that, and were delighted at her appreciation for them. It was a real ice breaker! Most of us don’t give a second thought to squirrels and think that an Aussie would be never be delighted by our boring wildlife. 

I loved the squirrels when I visited friends in Seattle!

We don't have any small cute animals that you can actually see easily (they all like to hide) so it is quite novel.

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On 1/14/2020 at 9:01 PM, Where's Toto? said:

Speaking of stereotypes about parts of the US, try growing up in New Jersey and going to college in Texas.    Lordy, did you know the entire state of NJ is an extension of New York City and we don't have any trees or mountains or lakes or anything except Newark and the Jersey Shore?  That's it, the entire state is one giant city with a strip of beach along the coast.

Or, you know, try growing up in Texas and then going to college up north. I went to college in Maine and my Bostonian roommate was pretty convinced that Texas was either all hicks and cattle or smog and air pollution ( like some article she read in rolling stone). Oh, and tumbleweeds.

Yup, the stereotypes are everywhere.

 

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I will say, as an American, I lived abroad for two years, and I did see some American behavior that made me cringe. The refusal of some people to learn the language, even while living there. One guy who thought it was funny to flap his jacket at an animal in a wildlife rescue to annoy it (combined with other loud obnoxious behavior). They were specific behaviors but I knew they reinforced existing stereotypes.

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Another anecdote I'd like to share with our Aussie board friend dates back to my time in college, in the dark ages before the Internet.  Many of my friends and acquaintances yearned to travel internationally, but had never gotten the opportunity to do so.  When asked where they'd like to travel, when they could afford it, to a person, they all said Australia.  I think I met 20+ people like this.  None of them ever said anywhere in Europe; or easier locations to get to, like Canada or Mexico; never anywhere in South America, even if they had studied Spanish.  Always Australia.  After a while, I started wondering "why Australia"? My guess is that it is the furthest, most foreign, but "safe" destination for a would-be first time American traveller.  It is "safe" in that English is spoken there, the water is safe to drink, and the food is familiar.  But, it is foreign in that it is so far away, opposite seasons, great beaches, diving and adventure travel.

So, at least for a certain time, for a certain demographic, this was the stereotype of Australia by young Americans: safely exciting.  I'm sure if they ever made it there, they were, to a person, Loud, blocking traffic, and annoyingly confident. 🙂

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On 1/14/2020 at 2:50 PM, Melissa in Australia said:

So so true.

often I struggle with how to post

 

Just spit it out, girl.  🙂 

All joking aside, politeness and to the point are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

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7 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

Should we not have answered the question the American OP asked ?

You're not being ragged on; someone asked a question, some other people answered, some more bluntly than others, who - ahem - used the cruise people as a metaphor, and prefaced and concluded everything I said with - just a generalisation, love American rah rah!

There's always an ounce of truth in every national stereotype - do I consider myself to be a racist, drunk, bogan ? No, I do not. But there's enough racist, drunk bogans waving around the AU flag o/s, that it makes sense to stereotype that way, and not to get all thin-skinned about it. If enough people have that experience of what Australians are like as tourists well, that's what they're like, and I've gotta suck it up, and there's no point protesting that all I do in Italy is wander about art galleries looking accepting, sober and classy.

I don’t feel ragged on because I’m not American, strictly speaking. My children are and they don’t fall into any sort of trope as far as I can tell. 
I don’t see the French or British asking to be better at whatever we are supposed to be when we are abroad. But yeah, answer the op for sure 🙂  Gives everyone a needed vent 🙂 

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6 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

It depends on what kind of influences you grew up around.  I (Gen X) heard from quite a few authority figures (Silent Gen and Baby Boomer) that "Everyone wants to come to America adn would if they could." and "God has a special relationship with America." The last one isn't unusual in certain Baptist circles. I'm a natural born cynic, and questioning personality type, was from a region with wider diversity, and I read widely even as a kid, so I knew better than that.  I think there are people who don't know better because they don't have those factors going for them and they're surrounded by lack of diverse views.

I'm also from a family with extremely complex, difficult dynamics, so I have a very nuanced view of love, loyalty, and affection alongside amplified feelings to the contrary.   People who come from environments where things are simpler often lack experience being fully aware of the good and the bad together all at one time in full force.  Anecdotally, I would say people who didn't grow up like that are more likely to say things like, "Well if you don't like X about America, then you should leave."  No, rebellion and dissent are ingrained in the national character and founding documents, so I'm just as patriotic advocating change for the better in America as you are waving an American flag and calling it patriotism. About half of my FB friends are on the political and social Left and about half are on the political and social Right, so I see variations on simplistic mindset on a weekly basis in their posts.  I'm not looking forward to election season ramping up.

 

A little off topic but do they really think God has a special relationship with the US? Or could it be they view this country as "blessed" which is slightly different than "special relationship." Some things the Baptists have communicated in the past have had me blink twice but this sounds so..privileged - US is the golden haired child - kind of vibe. YKWIM?

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1 hour ago, xahm said:

I think we as Americans sometimes forget how much diversity there really is in the world. We go abroad expecting to find people who are the same as us except for small differences of language, dress, and food, and I think sometimes we don't notice that there are lots of big differences we are overlooking, and it's in that overlooking we are most likely to really offend.

 

It's probably easy to forget that the world is diverse if you don't travel very often.  Many Americans do not travel outside of the US.  The US is HUGE and travel out of the country is expensive. Most of the people I know that do manage to get out of mainland USA visit Hawaii or an Americanized resort in the Caribbean or maybe Cancun. They aren't visiting vastly different cultures. 

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I don't think I have any particular stereotypes about Australia; one of my aunts is Australian which I suppose makes my cousins half Australian but they spent a lot of their growing up years in Japan and then moved to Hawaii so they probably mostly just feel like people who don't belong anywhere. Australia is a big place, I imagine there is regional variation in culture as there is in every country.

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1 hour ago, emba56 said:

I will say, as an American, I lived abroad for two years, and I did see some American behavior that made me cringe. The refusal of some people to learn the language, even while living there. One guy who thought it was funny to flap his jacket at an animal in a wildlife rescue to annoy it (combined with other loud obnoxious behavior). They were specific behaviors but I knew they reinforced existing stereotypes.

 

Oh lordly, my ex was a giant jerk when we traveled to London and Germany. He kept arguing with me about following local customs. Didn't want to take his hat off in churches, got annoyed that he couldn't find exactly the same thing on the menu at McDonalds, got snippy when people asked him to step aside because he was blocking the way. He was a walking Ugly American stereotype.  It was so embarrassing. 😞 

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I, too, met an Australian who could NOT get over squirrels. LOL, and we were in Battery Park when she told me that, where the squirrels are charming little muggers and really will eat out of your hand if you let them (and sometimes if you don't).

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Oh, there are definitely a lot of people who think the United States has a special blessing/ mandate/ relationship with God, much like Israel.  There’s a sizable subgroup that sees it as their religious duty to use the US government to promote conflict in the Middle East that will lead to the rapture and Armaggedon.  

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4 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Oh, there are definitely a lot of people who think the United States has a special blessing/ mandate/ relationship with God, much like Israel.  There’s a sizable subgroup that sees it as their religious duty to use the US government to promote conflict in the Middle East that will lead to the rapture and Armaggedon.  

To be fair there are also people who think like this about Britain.  Some even try to claim that the lost ten tribes of Israel settled in England and therefore England is somehow Israel. And the whole Christianising everyone thing was seen as a justification for colonialism.  It’s just that that kind of viewpoint seems to be fading away. I guess we all want to make it all about us someway or other.

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31 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

I, too, met an Australian who could NOT get over squirrels. LOL, and we were in Battery Park when she told me that, where the squirrels are charming little muggers and really will eat out of your hand if you let them (and sometimes if you don't).

I have to admit that would be me.  There was a brief time when squirrels ran wild through Perth zoo and I thought they were the cutest thing.  Although apparently they spread disease so not really.  For some reason when I read about squirrels in books I thought they were like the size of a cat or small dog so it was quite surprising to see how small they were.

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9 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

Are you promoting the stereotype that non-US people (pun intended) are credulous and rather stupid ?!

I promise you, I have never though Dallas was an accurate representation of Americans, because even Down Under, we've heard of made-up stories 🙂 Pretty sure we knew it wasn't a doco!

Ha 🙂 ~ well, I think it's possible for any country (yes, even the US!) to make assumptions about another country based on a TV series they watch that's about people in that country.  Sure, most people would know the story isn't actually true, but there are probably little things that are picked up that subconsciously start to color in an idea of that country.  

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8 hours ago, Pen said:

If you are traveling, I think you should dress for comfort and practicality—but some people elsewhere (France, Italy, IME) can be bothered by the informality (sloppiness?) of American dress.  Even dressed up we may appear dowdy.  Dressed down we may appear disrespectful. 

And I don't understand why anyone else should care how I am dressed in the general public (not talking about in church or a fancy restaurant).  I mean how is it your problem if I'm wearing jeans?  As long as you aren't stark naked, I could not care less how you dress.  (PS I also get this feeling in NYC - that they consider my clothes not good enough to be in their presence.  Shrug.)

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2 hours ago, GGardner said:

 

Another anecdote I'd like to share with our Aussie board friend dates back to my time in college, in the dark ages before the Internet.  Many of my friends and acquaintances yearned to travel internationally, but had never gotten the opportunity to do so.  When asked where they'd like to travel, when they could afford it, to a person, they all said Australia.  I think I met 20+ people like this.  None of them ever said anywhere in Europe; or easier locations to get to, like Canada or Mexico; never anywhere in South America, even if they had studied Spanish.  Always Australia.  After a while, I started wondering "why Australia"? My guess is that it is the furthest, most foreign, but "safe" destination for a would-be first time American traveller.  It is "safe" in that English is spoken there, the water is safe to drink, and the food is familiar.  But, it is foreign in that it is so far away, opposite seasons, great beaches, diving and adventure travel.

So, at least for a certain time, for a certain demographic, this was the stereotype of Australia by young Americans: safely exciting.  I'm sure if they ever made it there, they were, to a person, Loud, blocking traffic, and annoyingly confident. 🙂

This reminds me.  Earlier I mentioned that the loudest visitor I've worked with was a Swiss guy.  Well, he told me that his life dream was to be a sheep farmer in Australia.  If he ever lived out his dream, I wonder what they think of him over there.  Definitely very loud and brusque at all times.  Could come across as imperious actually.  But Swiss, not American.  😛

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46 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Ha 🙂 ~ well, I think it's possible for any country (yes, even the US!) to make assumptions about another country based on a TV series they watch that's about people in that country.  Sure, most people would know the story isn't actually true, but there are probably little things that are picked up that subconsciously start to color in an idea of that country.  

I think my impressions are based on actual people I’ve met.  Hopefully I’m able to separate fact from fiction somewhat.

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26 minutes ago, SKL said:

This reminds me.  Earlier I mentioned that the loudest visitor I've worked with was a Swiss guy.  Well, he told me that his life dream was to be a sheep farmer in Australia.  If he ever lived out his dream, I wonder what they think of him over there.  Definitely very loud and brusque at all times.  Could come across as imperious actually.  But Swiss, not American.  😛

If he manages to live out his dream it’s going to be a bit of a culture shock I suspect.  Being a sheep farmer here is a heck of a lot less romantic than it sounds.

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4 hours ago, xahm said:

The negative views I've seen of Americans differ depending on the county. In Germany I heard the criticism that Americans care only about quantity, not quality, so we'll be happy about an enormous mess of barely-food but will complain about the cost of a nice meal that is appropriately portioned, for example. In France I heard that we often fail to show respect when we enter a shop without greeting the shop keeper appropriately and chatting a little. In Russia I heard more because I was there longer. There we have the reputation for being insincere because we smile too much and give the appearance of friendliness, but it doesn't translate to true friendship as they understand it. We were also famous for the English Goodbye, which is where one departs a social gathering without taking one's leave of the others at the event. 

Having the ability to apologize and laugh at oneself comes in handy when going abroad. I think we as Americans sometimes forget how much diversity there really is in the world. We go abroad expecting to find people who are the same as us except for small differences of language, dress, and food, and I think sometimes we don't notice that there are lots of big differences we are overlooking, and it's in that overlooking we are most likely to really offend.

I've always called this the Irish Exit and feel that perfecting it can only improve everyone's lives.

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1 hour ago, StellaM said:

 

I was really excited the first time I saw a squirrel in Edinburgh. My great-aunt told me they were pests!

It was probably a dastardly grey rather than a virtuous red squirrel.

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7 hours ago, AurieD said:

I loved the squirrels when I visited friends in Seattle!

We don't have any small cute animals that you can actually see easily (they all like to hide) so it is quite novel.

 

5 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I have to admit that would be me.  There was a brief time when squirrels ran wild through Perth zoo and I thought they were the cutest thing.  Although apparently they spread disease so not really.  For some reason when I read about squirrels in books I thought they were like the size of a cat or small dog so it was quite surprising to see how small they were.

You'd love our yard, then. 😊

They are cute, and I enjoy watching them. We put up one bird feeder that's really for the squirrels--no baffle or anything to discourage them. I love watching their acrobatics when they're hanging on to it. But it's not the feeder that attracts them--they were definitely here first!

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2 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Judging whole swaths of people by group characteristics that disregard the individual in  favor of whatever social impression you’ve garnered from politics, media, or _______ holiday goer who once threw up on your car?  Yeah, that’s beyond the pale prejudice. She was also an ‘overconfident’ jingoistic American, but my mother drilled into me from childhood that you absolutely do NOT come to the table of another culture or a person from a different background or experience with whatever presuppositions you’ve heard or absorbed - you consciously work against that to try and actually “see” who is in front of you.

Even having a discussion on stereotype is rude.  I’m just shocked it’s even on here and I highly doubt it’s a “dead baby makes me sad” thing.  But yeah, some of these comments here are absolutely coloring how I read THAT thread, too.  

Ok hun I just wanna say I have tried super hard to be non offensive but if anything I’ve said had added to your pain right now I’m sorry.  Seriously did not want to do that.

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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

I appreciate the sentiment but answer me this, because this entire thread is jaw dropping from a number of people I wouldn’t have expected it from - is it considered polite, acceptable, or appropriate to stereotype people in your region or culture?  Like, in my little right of center Christian homeschooled sphere it isn’t okay to even joke about it, that’s considered gauche.

I think it’s awkward because I feel like the thread literally asked for that and we just responded.  However... maybe it’s a bit like the question where someone asks what you think of their boyfriend.  It’s just better to be polite and move on.   And that’s what’s I’m going to do here now.  I really strongly regret wading in at all.  So I’m going to leave you with a hug, an apology for hurt feelings and the hope that the forum can go back to being a place where you can come for comfort, friendship and support or distraction in a time of need.

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I guess I know that this America exists it’s just not my experience. Even my in laws who only travel overseas with us and are from the Midwest don’t fit the stereotype.  In my particular subgroup we have been sending kids back and forth abroad, over this ocean or the other one,  sometimes alone, sometimes for entire summers, since around age 7. The “ugly Americans” that wear white sneakers (please. Have you been to Paris? With the freaking adidas? There’s memes about it ) are real, but I think this group of people i see around me is real too. 
eta I have issues with when I travel, like I hate that I launch in English without making a proper effort in the local language (I’m super self conscious about my accent bc my son teases it or else don’t speak it), and I always reflect about an Italian coming to the US and addressing their waiter in Italian and expecting amazing customer service and further my daughter complained that I was dressed too casually for pick up (but she also complains I don’t hand out the chocolate for snack like the other cough non American cough parents at snack time) —In sum i think the whole “don’t act like an American” is utter nonsense. (Sorry OP. Please don’t stress. If you’re asking here it means you’re already a thoughtful person!). 

 

Edited by madteaparty
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9 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

I think it’s awkward because I feel like the thread literally asked for that and we just responded.  However... maybe it’s a bit like the question where someone asks what you think of their boyfriend.  It’s just better to be polite and move on.   And that’s what’s I’m going to do here now.  I really strongly regret wading in at all.  So I’m going to leave you with a hug, an apology for hurt feelings and the hope that the forum can go back to being a place where you can come for comfort, friendship and support or distraction in a time of need.

That was my first thought, "The OP is asking for criticism from the world about her country on a public on-line forum. This isn't going to go well." 

I think these types of conversations are better done in-person - over a glass of the local beverage of choice.

Edited by wintermom
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I think the whole thread is interesting.  Boring threads don't usually go for 7-plus pages.  A polite stranger wouldn't list your idiosyncrasies if you asked about them, but an honest friend would.  It's a given that not every behavior could apply to every American, but it can be nice to have a little heads-up that it's common practice to hit the mute button when your group gets on the tube or to beeline for some shop keeper chit chat in France.  I'm sure that some (but OF COURSE, not all) tourists coming here would appreciate a crash course on tipping or, for the love, staying to the right if you want to treat D.C. Metro escalators like a ride.

Some of the military comments can be a bit damned if you do damned if you don't.  As Americans you get real used to people lambasting you for getting involved with anything AND ALSO criticizing you for not getting involved somewhere else.  "How dare you insert yourself AND how could you let this happen?" It can also be frustrating to have tolerance for other cultures drilled into you, then learn that you're expected to respect other people's differences but keep your own in check.

Edited by KungFuPanda
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39 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I appreciate the sentiment but answer me this, because this entire thread is jaw dropping from a number of people I wouldn’t have expected it from - is it considered polite, acceptable, or appropriate to stereotype people in your region or culture?  Like, in my little right of center Christian homeschooled sphere it isn’t okay to even joke about it, that’s considered gauche. And yet here is a giant thread of something I’d consider on par with making slant eyes at a Thai or Chinese immigrant or joking about screwing sheep with a Georgian farmer.

Perhaps you may want to go back and read (or re-read) post #2. It was well thought out, said very well, and provides some excellent food for thought for us all.  I'm a Canadian who's never been to Australia, but I've always wanted to visit. I'll be noting all of the suggestions provided there, but it's also great suggestions for visiting any foreign country.

Edited by wintermom
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Ooooh, here's an interesting cultural observation.  When I shop at the Korean grocery store I have to be more aggressive than usual or my cart and I are just not moving. People are packed in closer than comfort, focused on the task at hand, and everyone seems fine with pushing about to get through.  It's a bit uncomfortable, but you figure out the system and adapt. I stopped even trying to use a cart.  On the other hand, when I took my son there in his manual wheelchair, people jumped out of the way and gave us loads of room to push the chair.  It was a bit of a Moses-parting-the-Red-Sea miracle.  I'm completely fascinated by the differences in my shopping experiences there with and without my son. 

We once took a hard pass on a chance to move to Australia for a few years.  I sometimes wonder if I should regret it, but at the time living in the middle of Australia didn't seem all that appealing.  It seemed like all of the fun stuff was at the edges. Maybe we SHOULD have given it a chance and we really missed out on a learning experience, but the risk of "getting stranded out there" should the contract go longer than anticipated seemed too great at the time.

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I took the time to read this entire thread before taking the plunge to join. It's been very interesting reading it from a Canadian perspective. I've not been invited to provide my thoughts about US tourists, as I'm not from over-seas, so I will respect that. 

It seems to me that there has been a really good opportunity to hear what the Australian boadies experience with Americans has been, as several have posted. I especially appreciate the historical as well as current experiences many Aussies have had with tourists and military from the US. On another thread, I'll have to ask about their experiences with Canadian tourists and military. It's far too easy to assume that they have had the same experiences as I have. 

I just watched the Australian/US TV series on Netflix called, "Pine Gap." I'd be interested to hear how typical the perceptions of the TV Australian characters are to real-life Australians. Seems like there are a lot more negative experiences than I'd have expected seeing as Australia is so far from the US. But clearly there is a lot of history I wasn't aware of.

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I'm genuinely sorry if I offended anyone by my posts. I feel that I have tried to only answer questions asked, without going into too much detail about my own experiences lest I rock the boat further. Which may have been a mistake on my part, and perceived as generalization.

My brother is married to an American and is an American citizen, I have close cousins and friends both married into the military and civilians. My entire life, I have travelled to various parts of the U.S. multiple times a year. I have probably seen more of the U.S. than some Americans have. Americans are always in my country for work or play. 

To negate my personal experiences as untrue or invalid isn't fair. Some may not care for my opinion, but I ask that you take it for what it is, an opinion that happens to be true to me. It is not politically correct to voice it, unless specifically asked, which it was.

Speaking as a non American who is often hesitant to post here, there is simply a cultural difference in communication style, that makes us think twice before we submit a post. My opinion is that most who live in a country in the commonwealth tend to communicate in a way that may come across as rude to others. Our humour and sarcasm specifically can be misinterpreted. I personally don't see it as being disingenuous, I actually see it as we care enough about other's feelings and thoughts to pause and reflect before hitting that submit button.

My country is often a target for such stereotypes, (ironically by Americans) and it is what is it, a stereotype. When I do see or hear it, I use it as a learning experience to either educate myself or others. 

Once again, I sincerely apologize if anything I said was offensive, it was honestly not my intent. I'll go back into my shell now.😉

 

 

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On 1/14/2020 at 3:36 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.  

Funny.  It is actually more of middle age tourist from the midwest. Just go to Hawaii. You will hear one or both of these expressions daily:  "Your English is good", or "Have you ever been to the United States."

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2 hours ago, Danae said:


Arctic Mama, you might want to consider that your emotions could be just too raw for this kind of discussion right now and ignore this thread for your own comfort. 
 

Saying, in response to a direct question, that yes, Americans do come across a bit arrogant, is far from “the worst type of prejudice.” It’s not even close.


Yet several people who do not have “raw emotions” have said similar things almost immediately at the start of this thread. 

it’s not sensitivity, thin skins or inability to consider criticism... to some of us it’s rude, hurtful and unexpected  that such large generalizations are not only tolerated but encouraged.  It’s not constructive and to protest  “OP asked a question and we simply answered” as rationale, troubles me.  The premise and tone is not constructive.  I’m certain OP was on some levels sincere but it’s a poor premise that invites broad generalization and many answers did just that.

At the end of the day it’s opinions and everybody has one. While that might make me come off as “a wee bit of an arrogant American” I don’t believe I am wrong in what I am observing. At core it’s shortsighted, borders on unkind and unprofitable in a community context and pains me that these even needs to be called out as such.
 

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Stereotypes are interesting...but it's such an enormous country - and the population is literally from all over the world.  It would impossible to stereotype Americans.  If you looked at a picture of my Syrian neighbors or my Korean husband, you wouldn't immediately associate American stereotypes with their pictures.  But, they're American, too.  

Also, people traveling overseas are usually a certain demographic.  First, they can afford to fly to another country and stay there.  Um, we can't.  And neither can our neighbors.  Second, they're usually older and aren't bringing 6 kids with them.  Third, they're usually over-the-top excited.  I mean, they're on vacation in another country.  They don't have to go to work on Monday.

I do live in a major tourist city in the US and the tourists from other countries are obnoxious here, too.  They throw rocks/sticks at the animal enclosures in the zoo to get the animal to move.  My family gets hysterically upset when they see that - but we see it every time we go to the zoo here.  I need to keep zoo security on speed dial or something.  They can also be rude and block sidewalks, walk REALLY slow and in the way, etc.  Also, it feels like they're only nice to you when they want something.  They also assume that because you're American, you have a ton of money.  

Either way, living with tourists in your area can just be rough, no matter what country you're in.  I think you could replace the name of my tourist city in the US with a city in another country and the complaints about tourists would be the same.   

 

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I think it is unfair to be upset about opinions given when they were asked for. There are good and bad stereotypes of every group and usually a bit of truth behind those views. Naming stereotypes and views is not saying that every person from that place does those things. Different cultures value different things, what is acceptable one place won't be in another. When we traveled overseas we did our best to be courteous and follow the norms of where we visited but I'm sure we unwittingly caused offense at some point (likely many). Oh well. 

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9 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

 

Even having a discussion on stereotype is rude. 

I disagree that discussing stereotypes is rude. How can we think about our prejudices or stereotypes if we don't discuss them?

You are absolutely right that people are individuals not stereotyped cardboard cutouts. I have seen no-one suggest otherwise.

Cultural differences are, however, a real thing. If I had been raised in a Japanese family I would behave differently than I do, probably think differently than I do, because our culture shapes us.

And human brains categorize things, categorize people. Being aware of that is good, and being aware of the limitations of such categorization is also good. Because while a person may fall within a category they are definitely not a personification of the category and whatever representative traits we have assigned it.

Learning an outsider's perspective on one's own culture can be fascinating and informative and I appreciate people's willingness to be honest about their perceptions. Of course the views of someone half a world away are not more important and valid than the perceptions of people within a culture, but they do add a perspective we cannot provide ourselves.

 

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19 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

 

Once again, I sincerely apologize if anything I said was offensive, it was honestly not my intent. I'll go back into my shell now.😉

 

 

Don't please, we're glad to have you here and unique perspectives really add to discussion. We've had occasional heated debates over the years, the shopping cart and crockpot kerfuffles for example have become legendary, but this is one of the few places online where I have seen such a diversity of experience and opinion come together in generally friendly and respectful discussion. Please don't let a few ruffled feathers chase you back into your shell 🙂

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1 hour ago, wintermom said:

That was my first thought, "The OP is asking for criticism from the world about her country on a public on-line forum. This isn't going to go well." 

I think these types of conversations are better done in-person - over a glass of the local beverage of choice.

 I disagree.  I would much rather have this information come through a forum where there's some anonymity.  If it were in person it might feel like it was directed at me personally, which I know it isn't.  I have found this thread difficult to read but helpful.    I think it's always good to say to ourselves, "What can I do to be better?"   

My only question is how do get this information to my dh (who is easily offended, loud, and arrogant) before we travel abroad this year  😄

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