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fairfarmhand

S/o International people views on Americans

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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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31 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Uh....  I wouldn’t call that group sizable. Even among Christians, it’s probably less than 8%.

i still can’t get over all the horrible stereotyping on this thread, or the “we can’t really talk to you” comments.  Sorry, I thought we were friends but clearly I missed some sort of crazy subtext whereby our national identities supercede our value as human beings.  This is honestly one of the most disappointing and unsettling threads I’ve seen on this site in awhile.  It has be second guessing half the nice things that have been said to me - how much was just soft peddled social appeasement? I suppose just about anyone is capable of speaking politely while privately assuming the worst and making sweeping generalizations in their head about another person based on their country of origin, but it was disgusting to see it on here.  
 

Stereotyping is a lazy way to see the world, as well as rather unfair. People are individuals, not monolithic groups.  And while obviously everyone on here knows that, affirming how much the stereotype seems true to you is just the worst kind of prejudice.  
 

 I’m really disappointed in many of the comments here.  I’m sure that just makes me a rude, confident, rah rah fucking American though 🙄


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.

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9 minutes 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.

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.  

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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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23 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

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.

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.

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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!). 

 

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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.

Edited by KungFuPanda

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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.

Edited by wintermom
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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.😉

 

 

Edited by Islandgal
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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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30 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

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. 

 

No, Aussies are not maligned in the USA. 

I have never heard Aussies described as drunks. 

 My stereotype is of a warm, friendly, fun loving people... and not quiet.  Not obnoxious, but yes, loud.  So it it quite funny that Americans are generalized as "loud".  I have met quiet Aussies but Kiwis in general seem much quieter.

ETA:  Americans are more likely to enjoy your accent and be fascinated with the country.  I have never heard any negative stereotypes.

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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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I'm interested in the use of the word 'stereotype'.  If you experience things yourself and report them, is that still stereotyping?

Possible stereotype of British abroad: uptight, reserved, expecting British food, unadventurous, looking down on people

My observation of common British behaviour abroad: drunk, uninterested in local culture, thinking that if you speak louder and slower people will understand English, complete lack of historical awareness, expecting British food, unadventurous, looking down on people

There's an overlap between my experiences and the stereotype, but that doesn't mean that I didn't see what I saw.

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Re: squirrels

We sadly have eastern squirrels making their way past the Rocky Mountains to our area; this is not at all a good thing. Our local squirrels are shy and mostly stay away from places where people live. These new squirrels are the type that invade your garden and eat anything you try to grow.

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6 minutes ago, parent said:

 

No, Aussies are not maligned in the USA. 

I have never heard Aussies described as drunks. 

 My stereotype is of a warm, friendly, fun loving people... and not quiet.  Not obnoxious, but yes, loud.  So it it quite funny that Americans are generalized as "loud".  I have met quiet Aussies but Kiwis in general seem much quieter.

ETA:  Americans are more likely to enjoy your accent and be fascinated with the country.  I have never heard any negative stereotypes.

@Islandgal is not Australian.

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7 minutes ago, parent said:

 

No, Aussies are not maligned in the USA. 

I have never heard Aussies described as drunks. 

 My stereotype is of a warm, friendly, fun loving people... and not quiet.  Not obnoxious, but yes, loud.  So it it quite funny that Americans are generalized as "loud".  I have met quiet Aussies but Kiwis in general seem much quieter.

ETA:  Americans are more likely to enjoy your accent and be fascinated with the country.  I have never heard any negative stereotypes.

Not Australian. 😂

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1 minute ago, PrincessMommy said:

 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  😄

Verbal and visual communication where there is interaction between people is usually better, though. Body language and tone of voice are lost through typing.  

It is natural to feel comments are directed at people personally. It's not easier to absorb if you don't understand the method the sender delivers the message. 

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9 minutes ago, parent said:

 

No, Aussies are not maligned in the USA. 

I have never heard Aussies described as drunks. 

 My stereotype is of a warm, friendly, fun loving people... and not quiet.  Not obnoxious, but yes, loud.  So it it quite funny that Americans are generalized as "loud".  I have met quiet Aussies but Kiwis in general seem much quieter.

ETA:  Americans are more likely to enjoy your accent and be fascinated with the country.  I have never heard any negative stereotypes.

I don't think Islandgal is from Australia.

ETA she and I cross posted.

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7 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

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

I'm sure you are.  🙂 

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1 minute ago, Islandgal said:

Not Australian. 😂

Oh... I am sorry.  I was reading too fast or missed some posts.  Where are you from and I'll let you know if we have a stereotype😂

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Just now, wintermom said:

Verbal and visual communication where there is interaction between people is usually better, though. Body language and tone of voice are lost through typing.  

It is natural to feel comments are directed at people personally. It's not easier to absorb if you don't understand the method the sender delivers the message. 

This is very true... and perhaps for some people this thread would have been better delivered in person with kind delivery with which it was intended.   It's just for me, I prefer this method for this particular thread.   Now I have something to come back to and revisit and process.  I'm an internal processor though.  Maybe that's part of the our differences (see other thread 🙂 )  

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4 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

I'm interested in the use of the word 'stereotype'.  If you experience things yourself and report them, is that still stereotyping?

Possible stereotype of British abroad: uptight, reserved, expecting British food, unadventurous, looking down on people

My observation of common British behaviour abroad: drunk, uninterested in local culture, thinking that if you speak louder and slower people will understand English, complete lack of historical awareness, expecting British food, unadventurous, looking down on people

There's an overlap between my experiences and the stereotype, but that doesn't mean that I didn't see what I saw.

Just reporting a thing you observed isn't stereotyping. It becomes a stereotype if you generalize it and report it as characteristic of British behavior abroad.

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52 minutes ago, Islandgal said:

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.😉.

To your point about the commonwealth way of communication - I think maybe this was misunderstood as "you US folks are whiney snowflakes [in addition to being arrogant slobs]" vs. "we commonwealth folks can sound a bit abrasive if you aren't used to our way of speaking."

I think what I'm getting now is that BOTH US folks and commonwealth folks have different ways of speaking that may come across as rude without intending to.

And with that, I will note that non-US folks are not the only ones who temper their writing on this board.  I am probably not the only US person who is extra careful in posting on a thread involving non-US people, because of past misunderstandings and seeing past comments about how horrible US people are.

And one more thing.  I have been to Australia.  I guarantee I did not contribute to these rude speech and "in your face / way" stereotypes.  IRL I hardly speak a word to anyone and I am extremely considerate of other people's space and freedom.  Obviously people like me (who may or may not be the majority) are completely unrepresented here, which is fine except that it is essentially a misrepresentation.  Also I think it sucks that Americans are getting nervous about traveling because they figure they will be despised wherever they go - through no fault of their own.

Edited by SKL
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6 minutes ago, SKL said:

Also I think it sucks that Americans are getting nervous about traveling because they figure they will be despised wherever they go - through no fault of their own.

Yes, and it's been the case for decades. One example is in the 90s during the Gulf War, Americans had to be very careful in their travel. The list goes on.

It's a catch 22 situation for the US. They are big and powerful and they do a lot of defending of the western civilization around the world. They are never going to be perfect for everyone. 

Edited by wintermom
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I am genuinely baffled. I thought we were having an interesting and useful discussion. 🤷‍♀️

Edited by MercyA
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23 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

I'm interested in the use of the word 'stereotype'.  If you experience things yourself and report them, is that still stereotyping?

Possible stereotype of British abroad: uptight, reserved, expecting British food, unadventurous, looking down on people

My observation of common British behaviour abroad: drunk, uninterested in local culture, thinking that if you speak louder and slower people will understand English, complete lack of historical awareness, expecting British food, unadventurous, looking down on people

There's an overlap between my experiences and the stereotype, but that doesn't mean that I didn't see what I saw.

There is a difference between saying "I have seen one / some people from xyz country behave this way" and "based on my observation, people from xyz country are this way."  Every country has idiots and lovely people.  It is common to notice and remember the idiots.  It is not logical nor helpful to communicate this in a way that implies all the people you haven't met/noticed are like the idiots you did notice.

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4 minutes ago, SKL said:

There is a difference between saying "I have seen one / some people from xyz country behave this way" and "based on my observation, people from xyz country are this way."  Every country has idiots and lovely people.  It is common to notice and remember the idiots.  It is not logical nor helpful to communicate this in a way that implies all the people you haven't met/noticed are like the idiots you did notice.

Even when specifically asked what kinds of behaviour it would be good to be aware of overseas?  ETA: personally, I'd like to be told what irritates people about some Brits as travellers.  If it doesn't refer to my behaviour, then I'll lay it aside.

Edited by Laura Corin
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I haven’t read through most of this thread, because obviously it’s going to be inflammatory by its very nature. I mean, hey, vent your anti American stereotypes here! Lol.

It goes without saying that all cultures and nationalities can be—are are—stereotyped. And it goes without saying that poor behavior isn’t relegated to any single group over another. I’m pretty well travelled and can say for certain I’ve never been anywhere where that isn’t true. 
I sincerely hope no one thinks they shouldn’t travel  because they might be recognized as being from somewhere else. And no, your sneakers won’t give you away. Promise. 😉

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19 minutes ago, PrincessMommy said:

 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  😄

But that question really isn't applicable if the stereotype doesn't fit you (general you.)  So, if the stereotype is that Americans are loud and obnoxious, but you aren't loud and obnoxious, knowing that other people hold that stereotype doesn't help you "do better" because you are already not doing the thing that bothers them.

In addition, just because someone gets all offended about American behavior, that doesn't necessarily mean that the person who is offended is in the right or that the American needs to "do better."  If someone said they didn't like American tourists because they always want to pray over their food (which no one has said, I am just making an example) well, no American should chose not to pray over their food just because people from another country don't like to see them do it when they travel.  They don't need to "do better."   

 

I think the giving and taking of offense is a two way street.  I think people, when travelling or not, should work not to give offense when possible.  I also think that people, when dealing with other people who might be travelling or just within their own home and community, should presume the best in others and try not to jump automatically to take offense.  I think there will always be people who are rude, offensive, and obviously no one should be catering to butt nuggets like that.  But when people are genuinely trying, I think they deserve grace.  When people are travelling, they should try to be nice, not rude, not offensive.  When people are receiving travelers, they should give grace to those who aren't from that place and therefore will likely struggle with all the nuances and mannerisms of the place.  

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On 1/14/2020 at 6:36 PM, Arctic Mama said:

 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.  

 

On 1/14/2020 at 6:53 PM, EmseB said:

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

Yep. I live in a state with tourism as the top industry and I live in a area of the state that's one of the tourist destinations. We get visitors from all over the world. We smile and nod regardless of their behavior because they're our bread and butter. There are tourists from a certain area of the world that we locals find loud, brash, and full of themselves. If those descriptions fit Americans then for Americans to say that about another culture is really saying something.

The nicest tourists I've encountered are from Japan. In my city we don't think of Canadians as tourists because they're snowbirds. They're not tourists for 5-6 months of the year, they're residents. I think part of that is just how nice Canadians are and part is due to their part time residency. Living in a hotel in a city for a week or two is different from living in an apartment or house for nearly half of the year.

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2 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

Even when specifically asked what kinds of behaviour it would be good to be aware of overseas?

Yes, there are ways to say it that don't imply the whole culture is base.

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I also note that this thread is (I believe) a spinoff from the royal thread where certain non-US boardies made some rather scathing comments about folks in other countries - comments that I really doubt were meant in kindness or humor.

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While this thread had made me somewhat uncomfortable, it's also made me think about how our cultural practices (which may be neither right nor wrong) are interpreted in other cultures. Someone up thread mentioned greeting the shop owner in France as being he norm. Shopping at mostly large stores here, I don't think about greeting the store owner, though I see why that would be important in a small shop. And I can see why not doing so would be considered rude if I didn't while in France. But like I said, I don't think most of the cultural norms are right or wrong. They just are. I think we would all be better off if we extended international travelers some grace AND if we made an effort to "when in Rome, do as the Romans do."

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12 minutes ago, Lady Florida. said:

 

Yep. I live in a state with tourism as the top industry and I live in a area of the state that's one of the tourist destinations. We get visitors from all over the world. We smile and nod regardless of their behavior because they're our bread and butter. There are tourists from a certain area of the world that we locals find loud, brash, and full of themselves. If those descriptions fit Americans then for Americans to say that about another culture is really saying something.

The nicest tourists I've encountered are from Japan. In my city we don't think of Canadians as tourists because they're snowbirds. They're not tourists for 5-6 months of the year, they're residents. I think part of that is just how nice Canadians are and part is due to their part time residency. Living in a hotel in a city for a week or two is different from living in an apartment or house for nearly half of the year.

N/m. 

Edited by MEmama

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43 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

I'm interested in the use of the word 'stereotype'.  If you experience things yourself and report them, is that still stereotyping?

Often it probably has more to do with confirmation bias. If someone doesn't fit the stereotype, they aren't associated with the country. If someone does, they are.

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10 minutes ago, MEmama said:

That’s interesting. It’s completely opposite where I live, also in a tourist town and state. Summer people are treated horribly, in general, by the old time locals; there’s an entitled sense of place here, of who belongs and who doesn’t. It’s an attitude not shared by transplants, but definitely prevalent in many of our communities. 😞
Sorry to say, there are groups (of, ahem, Canadians in particular) who are especially loathed due to poor behavior. Brash drunken behavior and using the beaches as public toilets will do that, fairly or not, despite historical cultural ties with same group. 

Yes, poor neighbour behaviour is not appreciated by anyone, however there are poor neighbours everywhere and there are more poor neighbours who are of our own nationality than international. The local poor neighbours hang around longer. 😋

And these poor neighbours are probably going to be equally annoying when they travel internationally. 😉

Edited by wintermom
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3 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

 I'm completely fascinated by the differences in my shopping experiences there with and without my son. 

 

Asian supermarkets tend to be less spacious than the non-asian ones due to rental costs. People are generally used to being jam pack in a supermarket, kind of like in crowded public transport. If someone is using a wheelchair, or clutches or any mobility help, people generally would be polite and give priority of space to the person. When I had obvious difficulty walking, people do give me more room on the aisles and estimate that I would need more time to walk from one end of an aisle to the other. 

Chinese supermarkets aisles tend to be too narrow for a wheelchair to go through easily. I tried using a double jogger which is slight wider than a typical wheelchair when my kids were toddlers. I go during less busy hours to Japanese, Korean, Chinese supermarkets and people would try to extend grace.

Edited by Arcadia
Funny autocorrect
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16 hours ago, Pen said:

 

If it helps any, IME US Southern accents often come across as more mellifluous and pleasant to people who speak the native English of some places outside of North America.  Less brusque, harsh, flat and chopped than the American accent from many other parts of USA  or Canada for that matter. 

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. 

I only got to this part of the thread, but based on the number of torn jeans, skinny jeans, crop tops, and sneakers, etc I saw in Paris (and all over France) worn by French people and other Europeans, I find this fascinating. Maybe it was designer torn jeans and therefore fancier? I wore skirts the whole time. My DH who grew up in Europe, commented on how much more casual the dress had become since the 80s. 

We could spot US men because they were dressed in polo shirts and khakis, all looser. Almost without fail. Skinny jeans and tighter shirts were for Europeans. 

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1 hour ago, maize said:

I disagree that discussing stereotypes is rude. How can we think about our produces 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.

 

The difference I see is that cultural differences and perceptions are fair and based in trying to understand and interact in a respectful way with one another, if done right. Stereotypes have an exaggerated, negative connotation and are pretty much the opposite of a fair, worldly assessment of those different than you.  It implies a value judgment, and many of the comments on this thread followed that vein.  Observations you’ve personally noted are different even if they may overlap.  Asking someone to list stereotypes they know/have heard about a certain group is gross.  
 

This thread bugs me precisely because there is a way to interact with and talk about cultural differences that respects the people being discussed and there is a way to do it that is insulting and rude.  As a group I expect those on this forum to lean toward the respectful side of things, so it caught me off guard 😞

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22 minutes ago, SKL said:

Yes, there are ways to say it that don't imply the whole culture is base.

That’s more why I’ve been shaking my head and feeling like I stepped into the twilight zone.  

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