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Thread: Americans...

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    Okay, I know the subject already sounds controversial, however, this is a forum and the Americans are more than welcome to post there two cents.

    Now, before I start, I'd just like to point out that I happen to like Americans and there country...

    Right, now I read in an article that an American guest at a game reserve asked another Dutch guest where he was from. When the Dutch guy replied that he was from Amsterdam the American said - verbatim - "Amsterdam? That's in Europe, right? Well, I have a friend, Peter Smith, who lives in London. Do you know him?"

    This is one of many times I've heard of _and_ experienced Americans not having a clue. Thoughts?

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    Procrastinator Extraordinaire lucas's Avatar
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    as americans, we are arrogant and think we are the center of the world. mix that with the decline in education and you can see why we don't have a clue

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    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Yes, but I don't think this can be applied solely to the Americans. I think that a lot of people are less than aware of foreign countries. For example, few people realise how big the country of Australia really is.

    With a population way below the population of most single European countries, the entire continent of Europe, if put all together, can fit inside Australia with space left for New Zealand.

    A news report detailed two illegal immigrants who landed on the NorthWest coast west of Darwin, who were detected when they were asking about catching the bus to Melbourne (what - that'd be like a 10 day bus ride?).

    I'm sure some of the other Australians here could give some more info on this.
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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    clever answer lucas

    I find that, yes, that probably is largely true.......but.

    How many people in the rest of the world have a clue what the states in America are called, where they are in relation to each other geographically and to which states various cities belong....

    The US is a pretty big place, I have been guilty myself of mentioning "American" friends......Some from LA & some from NY - a greater distance by far than London to 'Dam.......

    Overall though, perhaps everyone should become a little more aware of the Geography, Religion, Ideology and philosophy of all countries - it would help stop a lot of arrogance bourne of ignorance.

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    I must say, I do agree. Most people don't seem to have a clue about what's happening in the rest of the world. Friends of mine have said things like, "California... that's near Los Angeles, right?"

    But the big whoopers are people's views on my country. Lor, I'm sure could tell you - which is South Africa, incidentally. People actually think giraffes roam the streets. I have never seen a Lion before... wait... I have - in the zoo!

    I remember my friend once telling me when he was in London that his younger cousins took him out and when they passed a bus they said, "This... is... a... bus."
    Really?

    Some people have asked me how I fit my PC into my hut.. Considering my hut is on the second floor and has, have you ever, HEATED water...

    Us Africans have sure come a long way... :P

    J.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    hehe -
    I know exactly what you mean. Moved from SA to UK in my teens (having moved around many places previously) - had precisely the same problems upon arrival.

    H
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    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    The hut and giraffe are stereotypes that are propagated by mass media, the principal of which is cinema. I'm sure that the Cinema portrayals of South Africa, as well as Africa as a whole, have contributed to this.

    Many of the Australian stereotypes (kangaroos in the street, everyone lives near life-threatening snakes and crocodiles and know how to fight them) come from campaigns such as "Crocodile Dundee" and the Paul Hogan campaigns. In Australia these are viewed as "comedy".
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    ********* Callithumpian silver trophy freakysid's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't think this is a very productive or polite thread. There are plenty of ignorant, uneducated, plain old stupid Australians, I can assure you of that. I am sure that there are these types of people in all countries. It so happens that there are a hell of a lot more Americans on this earth than English, South African, Australian, Dutch, Deutche, Malaysian, New Zealand, and so on and so on.

    I come to sitepoint to engage with the intelligent people who congregate here; who share similar interests (and often different views) to mine - to learn and have a giggle along the way.

    It is my view that any foreign culture is going to instinctively seem inferior, alien and illogical. IMHO ethnocentricity is an unavoidable trait of society and culture.

    I may have certain views (more like gross generalisations) about the way American culture views and engages with the world; however, I'm not going to flout them here in an international forum - because, I'm seeing things from my culturally subjective perspective too. We can all cringe or laugh at the way different people behave in alien cultures. I know that when I visited Japan in 1987 I was a constant source of embarrassment and humour to my hosts as I unknowingly committed all sorts of social misdemeanour.

    I enjoy engaging in debates on geopolitical and global issues here (which seem to usually invlolve the US government), or on issues of morality/humanity. However, I personally don't think it's in good taste to start making jokes or fun of particular cultures. I thinks that type of conversation is better left for the pub. Just my view.

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    SitePoint Zealot Lorina's Avatar
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    People from all over have stereotypes and misconceptions about people from other countries. I've "met" (online) a lot of people who seem to think all Americans are rich, drive big, brand-new cars, and live in fabulous houses. And why wouldn't they think that? They're only real exposure to the American lifestyle is in movies and tv shows. Most of us aren't living like Beverly Hills 90210, Baywatch, or Friends. I hate to break the myth, but people in their early 20's, who are struggling to get their career off the ground, are not living in gorgeous NYC apartments with a spectacular view of the skyline. They're also not likely to be stunningly beautiful, with trend-setting hairdos and fresh-off-the-runway fashions.

    Heck... Look at the show Married With Children. Even a loser who works in a shoe store had a pretty decent house with a garage, and his family was always wearing trendy clothes. There's no representation of "normal" middle class, small-town America.
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    Procrastinator Extraordinaire lucas's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TheOriginalH
    How many people in the rest of the world have a clue what the states in America are called, where they are in relation to each other geographically and to which states various cities belong....
    never thought of that. can anyone from another country tell me where missouri is? missouri anyone? don't feel bad, most people in america don't know where it is either, hehe.

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    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    There are stupid people in every country.
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    Procrastinator Extraordinaire lucas's Avatar
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    Originally posted by freakysid
    I may have certain views (more like gross generalisations) about the way American culture views and engages with the world
    do tell. i am always curious how the outside world views our culture (america) and the specific stereotypes that apply to us.

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    If people only believed what they saw in films and on the tv, they would have an odd picture of America in their heads

    Imagine 250 Million people split roughly between 10 cities, there would be a good 3 foot of snow on the ground in Chicago all year round. You'd get shot if you visited New York, shot a few times if you visited Miami, and a whole gun emptied into you if you went to LA. There would be a total of less than 5 small towns in the whole U.S. Everything else would be desert, mountains, the crand canyon, or really big Wall*Mart buildings, with a few swamps and forests thrown in for good measure.

    Interesting place this America

    I have a friend who lives in South Carolina, and her family couldn't move into thier new house that they bought until it was delivered, now that's an odd concept.
    Last edited by Drinky; May 2, 2001 at 06:28.
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    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Hell, even I think that many Americans are stupid.

    Even me...

    I got into a conversation with LynLimz about Singapore. I quote myself "Singapore is in China right?" I actually thought that Singapore was a city in China instead of being it's own country.

    This bloke that I knew from Sydney came to the states for holiday. Of course, with his accent people pegged him as being from Australia. They always asked him about kangaroos and what he did. He finally told them he was a pusher. He said his duties involved walking in front of cars and pushing the kangaroos out of the way so that the cars could get through the streets.

    MMJ...before I started learning about Australia, I didn't realize how large it was either. Landwise, it is nearly the same size as the USA, while having only about 1/13 the population.
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    SitePoint Addict Drinky's Avatar
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    Being from Oxford, i continually get asked History questions by Americans.
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    Many Americans *ARE* stupid, myself included.

    I grew up in Arkansas- most of the time if I told people online that I was from AR (our postal abbreviation for the state), they'd say, "Oh- how is the weather in Arizona?"

    I was talking to other Americans when I got those questions.

    If they can't figure something like that out, how can you expect them to know where other countries are.

    My wife works with a girl who thought Toledo (a city in Ohio) was a COUNTRY!

    There are people like that everywhere.
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    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I think I must address freakysid's post here:

    When I first saw this thread entitled "Americans" I feared the worst. I thought that somebody was going to have an axe to grind about Americans in general, and that flaming would be abundant.

    From my own humble perspective, on closer inspection I didn't see this thread as being harmful. While Torias' story may have been heard in a pub, I think that its intention was innocent and light-hearted enough, much like yajirobe's "What is your perception of Americans".

    We all have had experiences with persons of other cultures which have proven amusing or interesting, and in my opinion, sharing these anecdotes helps people to become confortable as well as knowledgable of other cultures.

    I have been watching closely for any post here that is likely to cause trouble, but I don't think that the members here have done that, or would be likely to do so.

    Of course, my interpretation of this thread may be different from other people's, and I certainly don't profess to be a better judge of this than the other more experienced members here.

    So that's my view.


    [edit]
    Ok, on second inspection, maybe I am wrong. We do need to keep the anecdotes polite, and refrain from commenting negatively on the people who make these innocent mistakes.

    Sorry all.
    Last edited by mmj; May 2, 2001 at 23:21.
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    i heard someone saying, "Japan... isn't it the capital of China?"

    lol

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    Skills to Pay the Bills Sparkie's Avatar
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    I've heard people claim that Kansas is the capitol of Arkansas

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    I once met some Kansans at a 4-H conference in Washington DC and they wouldn't let go of the notion that Arkansas stole its name from Kansas.

    The truth is, Arkansas was a state before Kansas was. Oh well...

    It's Ar-kan-saw, not Ar-Kansas (even though that's how it is spelled).
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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    i heard someone saying, "Japan... isn't it the capital of China?"

    I've heard people claim that Kansas is the capitol of Arkansas
    they aren't ?

    H

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    SitePoint Addict Brian Asselin's Avatar
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    I choose to not generalize or say "we, us" etc... when talking about Americans. that's about the equivalent of saying everyone loves chocolate, or no one likes working.

    I have noticed however that a lot of people I speak with seem to think that Americans = USA citizens, when Canadians, Mexicans, Brazilians, and everyone else in North, Central, and South America are technically Americans.

    On that note I have something for you to post on your walls at work and feel free to change the wording to fit:

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    I must say, that in most English speaking country's, other than the US, people refer to USA citizens as Americans. What else can you call them? United Statesmen?

    J.

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    Fried Gold Polymath's Avatar
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    I knew an American girl who said "Britain? That's in France, right?" I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she might have been thinking of Brittany, which is in France, but I later found out she didn't know what mushrooms where, so I told her a mushroom is where you go to get stoned. Absolutely true.
    I've got a good idea of the coastal states of America, but only 'cos I lived there for a bit. Otherwise I probably wouldn't know.

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    SitePoint Addict SLeon's Avatar
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    I have to agree with the general theme of "there are stupid people everywhere." Because, well, there just are...

    I tell people I'm from California, and automatically everyone (Americans and other nationalities) thinks that I live in Los Angeles *shudder* No, I live in the OTHER part of California--the place with all the vineyards and giant redwood trees. Where it actually does rain in the winter. We do business online with people from all over the USA, and they always are just about to visit LA and wonder if they can stop in for a visit. "Sure," we say, "if you want to drive 8 hours from LA..." California itself is just a really big place, and has pretty much every kind of terrain, and every kind of people.

    Americans are just as stupid about our own country as everyone else is. I've heard many stories about people not knowing that "New Mexico" is actually a US state, and not part of the nation of Mexico. And I can't count the number of arguments we've had with UPS (a shipping company) over the fact that Puerto Rico IS a part of USA, and thus there is no customs clearance required between here and there!!!
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