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Beakerr
October 6th, 2007, 12:15 PM
I am an American who has spent a large part of his life in Europe (my father is in the military) but why is it that I constantly have to defend myself because I am American? I mean, I am proud to be American (a sentiment that seems rare these days) but I am far from arrogent about it. Just today I was told by someone that I support America therefore I support murder (and that is far from an isolated insident). Whenever I am in America I see comercials and news articals and news stories all about not judging someone on race/religion/nationality. It is frowned apon to assume anyone who comes to America from France is a coward or someone who comes from the Middle East is a terrorist yet here in Europe Americans are free game.

Why the hell should I have to defend my nationality? Why should I not be proud of where I come from? This is starting to piss me off.

starcreator
October 6th, 2007, 12:56 PM
You are correct, people shouldn't judge others by nationality alone, and I do not appreciate the way that some Americans are victims of the stereotypes that a few Americans have earned them.

However, on an anecdotal basis, I can tell you that Americans that I have met travelling in Europe are often far more obnoxious and arrogant than those of other nationalities. On a statistical basis, if you approach an English speaker at random in Europe, he is far more likely to bear those qualities as an American than as an Australian, Canadian or Englishman (or any other English native speaker, of course) - in fact, I would even say that most of the Americans I meet there have some unprovoked ethnocentric, nationalistic criticisms to offer of Europeans. While this doesn't mean that all Americans - or even the majority of them - are like this, I have found that Americans are the most likely to bear open contempt for other countries, nationalities and cultures.

FruitandNut
October 6th, 2007, 01:27 PM
Beak and star - Being your typical Brit, I tend to love all folks, even the French! I also happen to believe that the Good Lord created all of us in 'His likeness', only the British perhaps a little more so, and Yorkshire folk still more so :coolsmiley::sly:

All nationalities contain guys we would not like to share the planet with, but they also have many folks we would be happy to. Beakerr, being that America is the only superpower for the moment, when it SNAFUs it does so big time in comparison to other nations, also when it does the right thing it faces jealousy and ingratitude, just like we Brits did during our time centre stage.

Rule of Reason
October 6th, 2007, 01:56 PM
I can see what you mean. Unfortunately, many Europeans imagine Americans to fit the stereotype they have in mind. Usually, one or two people actually fitting that image are enough for years of prejudice. What can be done about it? I wouldn't know. Perhaps try to stay as clear as possible from any behaviour that would fit the stereotype. Though even then, some would still be waiting for a match, and they'll always get one, no matter how small. You may find some strength in the idea that in Europe, there's a stereotype for any people, and many people here love finding out that stereotype is real.

chadn737
October 6th, 2007, 03:05 PM
However, on an anecdotal basis, I can tell you that Americans that I have met travelling in Europe are often far more obnoxious and arrogant than those of other nationalities. On a statistical basis, if you approach an English speaker at random in Europe, he is far more likely to bear those qualities as an American than as an Australian, Canadian or Englishman

Eh. I disagree. I have found Australians to be the most annoying of all. And I don't particularly have a good opinion of the Canadians I have met on flights.

As far as arrogance goes, I have to hand it to the French....that or California. I have worked with a number of French and they have left no doubt in my mind that the culture breeds a natural arrogance. Although, I have nothing but respect for one French postdoc as he completely shifted the way I conduct my experiments and taught me a great deal.

And perhaps its because Im from the Midwest, but in general I find Americans and American culture to be far more quiet than others, especially in comparison to Africa, the Mideast, or Latin America.

As ignorant as Americans tend to be, I find that we are one of the most sincere and caring bunch. I honestly have no frickin clue where one gets the perception that we are arrogant. It must be based on our government and on the fact that oftentimes we actually love our country as opposed to a lot of other people who dont seem to feel anything for their nation.

tARoPINOS
October 6th, 2007, 09:40 PM
Maybe it's because people from all over the world get to see the inner working of the American way...American News, TV, Film allow people from every corner of the globe to gain insights into American politics, society, morality, eccentricities and possibly ignorance. The problem is that Americans go out into the world, under the impression that people everywhere are just as ignorant of their culture as they are of the place they are visiting. Everybody likes to talk about how we do it at home, and maybe it just seems that Americans don't realize people have a pretty good idea of how "we" do it at home. What annoys people is that Americans do not have this same level of knowledge about the other and tend (like the Chinese) to think of the US as the middle kingdom; though it is patently obvious that a lot of Americans are interested in the outside world,
they simply as the the great power of our time are a little ignorant of everybody else's world. This problem leads some travelers to fall back on stereotypes and often come off as the obnoxious (ignorant) tourist, who talks about how good things are back home, when a lot of people have a fairly sophisticated idea about "home" anyway.

Where do you think I'm from?

starcreator
October 6th, 2007, 11:08 PM
Eh. I disagree. I have found Australians to be the most annoying of all. And I don't particularly have a good opinion of the Canadians I have met on flights.

As far as arrogance goes, I have to hand it to the French....that or California. I have worked with a number of French and they have left no doubt in my mind that the culture breeds a natural arrogance. Although, I have nothing but respect for one French postdoc as he completely shifted the way I conduct my experiments and taught me a great deal.

Well, everyone has his own experiences, I suppose, and I do hate it when innocent Americans face discrimination on the basis of nationality alone. However, a great deal of Americans live up to their reputation, according to the experiences of most well traveled people I've met. Even though many Americans are very pleasant and sincere, I think the most obnoxious traveler award would still have to be affixed to the star spangled banner.


As ignorant as Americans tend to be, I find that we are one of the most sincere and caring bunch. I honestly have no frickin clue where one gets the perception that we are arrogant. It must be based on our government and on the fact that oftentimes we actually love our country as opposed to a lot of other people who dont seem to feel anything for their nation.

Well, sure, everyone is proud of his home nation. But when you use it as a basis to criticize other peoples' nations, in their nations, it really borders on arrogance. Compound that with a total disregard for the nation's language (speaking loud, emphatic English to everyone as if they should understand, rather than trying one's best with a phrasebook) and for the nation's culture as a whole and you've got an entirely unattractive package for locals.

Beakerr
October 7th, 2007, 06:55 AM
Maybe it's because people from all over the world get to see the inner working of the American way...American News, TV, Film allow people from every corner of the globe to gain insights into American politics, society, morality, eccentricities and possibly ignorance. The problem is that Americans go out into the world, under the impression that people everywhere are just as ignorant of their culture as they are of the place they are visiting. Everybody likes to talk about how we do it at home, and maybe it just seems that Americans don't realize people have a pretty good idea of how "we" do it at home. What annoys people is that Americans do not have this same level of knowledge about the other and tend (like the Chinese) to think of the US as the middle kingdom; though it is patently obvious that a lot of Americans are interested in the outside world,
they simply as the the great power of our time are a little ignorant of everybody else's world. This problem leads some travelers to fall back on stereotypes and often come off as the obnoxious (ignorant) tourist, who talks about how good things are back home, when a lot of people have a fairly sophisticated idea about "home" anyway.

Where do you think I'm from?

This seems pretty much dead on. The more I think about it, the more true it seems to be.

And Starcreator. . .lol @ the avitar.

Human
October 7th, 2007, 08:39 AM
When I went to Europe back in 2004 I was shocked to see anti-Bush graffiti in Rome and to listen to people on my train talk about how bad Bush was in Holland. However, it was anti-Bush specifically. Remind anybody you meet that Bush rigged the election twice and its really not the fault of the majority of the American people.

sjjs
October 7th, 2007, 11:36 PM
There are Americans and Americans. Where I live now we get a lot of American tourists who are obnoxious and painful to be with. We also get a few smart Americans working here who are a pleasure to be with.

But I understand where you are coming from. The British reputation is going downhill fast and one day soon perhaps we will join you in being disliked universally when abroad: football hoolliganism, drunkeness and Blair have all helped us with this.

Rule of Reason
October 8th, 2007, 11:03 AM
The British reputation is going downhill fast and one day soon perhaps we will join you in being disliked universally when abroad: football hoolliganism, drunkeness and Blair have all helped us with this.

You still have a long way to go to reach our lows.

Internationally, my country is known mostly for its drug dealing (CENSORED Jeremy Clarkson can't talk about the Netherlands/Dutch without using the words "Ssssjmoke" and "Dutchie, Dutchie, Dutchie..." - I quit watching Top Gear for that reason!) and prostitution. We have been refered to as 'baby killers' and as committing 'nazi practices' (on genetic manipulation). Add to that a government that rules the country as if we have a common death wish and you'll see what I'm getting at...

manise
October 8th, 2007, 11:52 AM
a great deal of Americans live up to their reputation, according to the experiences of most well traveled people I've met. Even though many Americans are very pleasant and sincere, I think the most obnoxious traveler award would still have to be affixed to the star spangled banner.My anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. During my multi-year residence in Southeast Asia I found Australians and the French to be the most inconsiderate travellers. My friends in Southeast Asia preferred American travelers. So I have to agree with Chad here, based on my personal experience.

In Europe, the situation was more complex. Some Americans embarrassed themselves regularly, while others were perfectly adaptable to their new environments. During my one year stint in Holland, I found some Dutch folk close to ignorant about the America I know. Several of my Dutch friends criticized American food and culture, but when I asked them if they'd ever tasted New Orleans cuisine, or southern pit barbecue, or Seattle baked salmon, or listened to real blues and jazz in Chicago or Memphis they admitted to never having the opportunity to experience those American pleasures. But they were "experts" on America! I was surprised that otherwise well educated people would succumb so readily to uninformed stereotypes. I mean, when I arrived in Holland I didn't think Dutchmen only ate cheese and worked in windmills.

To be fair, the Dutch people I met in the eastern provinces of Holland were MUCH friendlier and less likely to impose their stereotypes. They were more curious about my experiences as an American and less judgemental. They were wonderful. And my western Dutch friends, to be perfectly honest, had little good to say about ANYONE--even themselves! They dissed the Brits, the Belgians (both the Flemish and the French kind), the French, the Germans, etc., etc. Criticism, it would seem, is a Dutch pasttime.


Compound that with a total disregard for the nation's language (speaking loud, emphatic English to everyone as if they should understand, rather than trying one's best with a phrasebook) and for the nation's culture as a whole and you've got an entirely unattractive package for locals.On the issue of language, some European locals are equally unattractive. The Dutch I met, for example, took great pride in their English speaking abilities. Many speak English very well--so well that they came off as arrogant and boorish. Some used the "f" word in every other sentence; others spoke so bluntly as to give offense. And when I tried to practice my baby Dutch, some Dutchmen got irritated. They weren't mad because I butchered their language (which I did)--they preferred to speak English!

These are just my experiences--just anecdotes.

chadn737
October 8th, 2007, 12:09 PM
When I was in Amsterdam I was advised by friends not to even attempt Dutch as they would not appreciate somebody butchering their language.

phrique
October 8th, 2007, 12:09 PM
Let's see...I've spent goodly amounts of time in Taiwan, South Korea, and England, and I honestly have to say I've found that if you're friendly and try to be complementary to the different cultures you'll receive the same in return. Working with engineers in both Taiwan and Korea, for example, I'd ask them about their pastimes and would get similar questions back. It's actually really cool to sit down with people from different countries and just chat about day to day life. The funniest thing was in Taiwan when I left work the first day they asked me what I was going to do and I said, "Going back to the hotel to lift weights." They had absolutely no idea what I meant by "lift weights" and when I explained it to them they looked at me like I was making it up. Hilarious.

I've traveled with some other Americans from my own company, though, that embarrass me. One guy had horrible table manners and shouted orders in English at various restaurant staff members.

I can't say enough good stuff about the people in England. I was going to an ARM developer's conference there and all I knew was I had to get from Heathrow to St. John's College in Cambridge and someone from the UK had told me I could just take the train. I'm lucky the people who were working there and random others in the train terminals were as friendly as they were, because I could have been lost in London for a while. :) Coincidentally, when King's Cross was bombed it hit me pretty hard because I remember passing through there specifically.

Anyway, I have to say my overseas travels have been mostly positive. I think in the long run the advent of the internet, multi-player games, chat rooms, forums, instant messenger, etc. are going to shrink the cultural gaps many feel and will eventually lead us to a time where people won't think twice about heading to a different country as they'll at least be an acquaintance of someone there. The world is definitely shrinking.

starcreator
October 8th, 2007, 12:09 PM
My anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. During my multi-year residence in Southeast Asia I found Australians and the French to be the most inconsiderate travellers. My friends in Southeast Asia preferred American travelers. So I have to agree with Chad here, based on my personal experience.

I've never been to Southeast Asia, so I cannot comment. Perhaps Trendem could enlighten us about his perspectives over there. But everywhere else I've visited - west Asia, Europe, Latin America - seems to hold America as the hallmark of arrogance.


In Europe, the situation was more complex. Some Americans embarrassed themselves regularly, while others were perfectly adaptable to their new environments. During my one year stint in Holland, I found some Dutch folk close to ignorant about the America I know. Several of my Dutch friends criticized American food and culture, but when I asked them if they'd ever tasted New Orleans cuisine, or southern pit barbecue, or Seattle baked salmon, or listened to real blues and jazz in Chicago or Memphis they admitted to never having the opportunity to experience those American pleasures. But they were "experts" on America! I was surprised that otherwise well educated people would succumb so readily to uninformed stereotypes. I mean, when I arrived in Holland I didn't think Dutchmen only ate cheese and worked in windmills.

You were likely the exception rather than the rule, however. At least, compared to other nationalities, Americans seem more likely to accept those sorts of stereotypes than others, even if most do not.


On the issue of language, some European locals are equally unattractive. The Dutch I met, for example, took great pride in their English speaking abilities. Many speak English very well--so well that they came off as arrogant and boorish. Some used the "f" word in every other sentence; others spoke so bluntly as to give offense. And when I tried to practice my baby Dutch, some Dutchmen got irritated. They weren't mad because I butchered their language (which I did)--they preferred to speak English!

These are just my experiences--just anecdotes.

Curious, curious. I suppose everyone has his own experiences in this regard, so it's quite difficult to piece together a generalization. It'd be interesting to hear how some other ODN travelers feel about the issue.