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Do Americans know about other countries? - Page 5

post #81 of 102

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Edited by lotusbeans - 3/16/14 at 1:12am
post #82 of 102

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Edited by lotusbeans - 3/16/14 at 1:12am
post #83 of 102
How can anyone possibly say that MOST Americans are ignorant and think they are superior? Has anyone interviewed every last one of us?

Sure, there are those among us who are that way. I am not perfect in any way. But not all of us are totally ignorant and rude and superior-acting.

This is really getting discouraging. I never thought that on a message board that touted family values, tolerance and caring for others, I would see so much dislike of American people.

ETA: Or dislike of people in general.

ETA: I thought "hatred" was too strong.
post #84 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotusbeans
My daughter made a joke to one of her friends about putting a maple leaf on her backpack if they go to Europe. Her friend asked why and she said because so many people don't like Americans over there. Her friend said, "But we're better." And she wasn't joking. :

That would irk me too. And it makes the rest of us look bad.
post #85 of 102
Quote:
I have heard that American schools only teach American history. Is this true?
No, it's not. It's an ignorant stereotype about Americans. My sixth grade history class, American history, covered the history of all of North and South America. My seventh grade history class was called "Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia," and my tenth grade history classes were "World History I" and "World History II". We also were handed blank maps of the world and filled in every country, ocean, sea, and many rivers. My education occurred in three different states, and world history was taught in all three.
post #86 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerBelle
How can anyone possibly say that MOST Americans are ignorant and think they are superior?
I find it funny that so many people are complaining about how American sterotype people from other countries, and then turn around and sterotype Americans.
post #87 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move
I find it funny that so many people are complaining about how American sterotype people from other countries, and then turn around and sterotype Americans.
Yes. Exactly.
post #88 of 102
I never said that geography was an "excuse." I traveled extensively on a student budget as well. I don't get why more people I know with money don't. But it's foolish for Europeans who haven't left Europe to think that they're more traveled than Americans who've traveled a lot in the U.S. and to Mexico. Talking about my experience here. I just think when you have so many different climates and geographic variance in one country, insularity can happen.

Honestly, I never saw the ugly American stereotype running around, and I spent two years living in European countries. I know it exists to some extent, but if anything I think it exists more IN the U.S., in attitude. And I saw the same attitude of ignorance about Americans from people who had never been to the U.S. Those who had visited were able to make more intellectual, accurate criticisms. So I think ignorance completely goes both ways.

I agree with the point that the news outlets are in a sad state that perpetuate Americans' lack of awareness of world affairs. I just seriously wonder how prevalent that is. Most educated people I know preoccupy themselves to some extent with world news. I'm guessing we are less aware on average than populations of other countries. I just don't think the differences are as vast as stereotypes would imply.
post #89 of 102
My DH is from South Africa, of European descent. Whenever it came up in conversation that my DH was South African, almost invariably the conversation would go:

Me: "DH is South African"

Other: "Oh! What part of Africa?"

Me: "Umm, South Africa."

Other: "Yes, Africa. But what country?"

Me: "The Republic of South Africa"

Other: "Where?"

Me:

And the other gem, if we got past the geography issue: "Is he black?!?" if they had not met him or "But he's not black!" if they had. Or, as my younger brother asked, "Is he a spear chucker?!?" :
post #90 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by umsami
No. The average American is clueless... not only about other countries, but their own.

Case in point. My freshman year of college, my roommate asked me if I had to get a passport to visit Hawaii. BTW, she was an education major. Ended up getting her Master's and teaching 6th grade.
(this hand needs to be MUCH bigger!)
post #91 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by kamilla626
At no point in my public education did I ever HAVE to learn the capitals, leaders, cultures or political ideologies of other countries. I did - on some level - through other contexts, while learning about U.S. though.

The small amount of "education" I got about other countries was mostly pre-America history. The Mayans, Incas, Ancient Egyptians, Vikings, Ancient Greeks, etc.

But at the point in history when America was "discovered" (and don't get me started) my education about the rest of the world was pretty non-existent. It's as though the rest of the world ceased to exist once the USA was "built".
: although I did have to learn some of the capitals, cultures, etc. in World Geography (a course I chose to take in high school...we were required to take either World History or World Geography; I took both.) and learned some of the other stuff while learning about the various wars in which the US participated. It was all still a very US-centric view of things, of course, and I am taking it upon myself to learn more about the rest of our world. It's a slow process, and the public school system didn't do much to help me, but I don't have to be in school to learn.
post #92 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurturing Mama
No, it's not. It's an ignorant stereotype about Americans. My sixth grade history class, American history, covered the history of all of North and South America. My seventh grade history class was called "Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia," and my tenth grade history classes were "World History I" and "World History II". We also were handed blank maps of the world and filled in every country, ocean, sea, and many rivers. My education occurred in three different states, and world history was taught in all three.
It depends on the school system. In mine we only had American and state history and they did a pretty piss poor job of that too.
post #93 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by crissei
Originally Posted by umsami
No. The average American is clueless... not only about other countries, but their own.

Case in point. My freshman year of college, my roommate asked me if I had to get a passport to visit Hawaii. BTW, she was an education major. Ended up getting her Master's and teaching 6th grade.

(this hand needs to be MUCH bigger!)
I can top that. My freshman year roommate asked if London was in England. I mean, she had an inkling it was but she needed to make sure. This was at an Ivy League college and she had gone to a reasonably prestigous private school for two years of high school.
post #94 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move
I find it funny that so many people are complaining about how American sterotype people from other countries, and then turn around and sterotype Americans.
I was going to post the same thing!
post #95 of 102
BTW, this isn't about hating Americans, and most of us making these comments are American. One can be self-critical without being self-hating. Russians make jokes about themselves all the time and certainly criticize their own without anyone worrying about patriotism (and most are very patriotic). It's not a big deal.
post #96 of 102
I think that most Americans don't know about other countries. And I admit, even as a child of immigrants (I'm 1st of the 1st gen. born here) I am guilty of it, too.

DH had to teach me a lot about his homeland (mexico) because most of us believe what we hear/see in the media-that everyone is poor and picking through garbage, wants to come work illegally and are short, dark mayan decendents. So not true-DH often gets mistaken for being Spanish or European, not Mexican.

My family is Polish, and I was very offended by my BILs family when we went to Poland for my sister's church wedding there. Throughout the 5 hour bus trip to our family's village, I heard countless remarks about how they were going to be eating kielbasa for a week, how vodka comes out of the tap and countless Polish jokes. What was wonderful was how after a week of wedding festivities & traditions, I was happy to hear that everyone's opinions had changed and the comment that I heard the most was, "This has to be the best vacation I've ever had! Everyone is so giving and friendly!"

On the other side of that, I had a cousin who came to work for a summer on a J1 Visa and was under the impression (literally) that jobs would be calling him. They see the more decadent side of life from the US because of unrealistic shows like Friends, etc where 20 somethings could have jobs working in a department store but afford a 2000 square foot apartment in Manhattan, sit around and drink coffee all day, etc. He soon found out that not only do most of us work, but we work REALLY hard for what we have and that we don't party 24/7!
post #97 of 102
other countries?
not much.

i've lived in europe for almost 15 years and i definitely see the ugly american attitude, lots of young backpackers funded by mom's gold card who talk about where they got smashed last night and how cheap it is, before they head on a train to the next big city for 2 nights - but I also see the americans who take pains to learn the local language, follow the national issues, respect cultural attitudes, and delve deeper into the society.

but in general i have to agree, we americans by and large are woefully ignorant of our own country, other countries and languages, cultures, politics, etc. Those living in big cities have great exposure to all different ethnicities, and that is where I initially learned about other plaecs - not in school. I agree that the educational system is not ideal in this regard. I think we had one year of international study in social studies in 7th grade. I was never offered anything outside of US history in high school.

I also believe the media is biased and mostly unsubstantial. CNN is a propaganda mill and most US papers read like tabloids. If i want to find out what's going on in the States, I read European news sources. Still this doesn't excuse us from the responsibility to learn a bit about other places outside the US. I find when I'm in the States that people around me tend to discuss television/pop culture more readily, excitedly and with more knowledge and interest than reality, and I am always stunned by it.
post #98 of 102
Thread Starter 
repeat post..
post #99 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bczmama
Additionally of interest -- American's come in #2 as "best" tourists...(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2137729.stm)

The money quote: "Americans were judged the most courteous and the British the rudest, alongside the Russians and Canadians."

Okay, a second money quote: "The Brits also seemed to make least effort in speaking the local language, a quality excelled by the Germans, French and Americans."
So this says what about how much knowledge American's have about other nations?..The knowledge extends as far as stating the differences and compraing countries to the US???
post #100 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by aprilushka
BTW, this isn't about hating Americans, and most of us making these comments are American. One can be self-critical without being self-hating. Russians make jokes about themselves all the time and certainly criticize their own without anyone worrying about patriotism (and most are very patriotic). It's not a big deal.
I disagree. I think it is a big deal to "validate" these stereotypes and pass them on as truth. And that goes for sterotypes of all countries. Although I am sure I have done my share of stereotyping, it's not something I am proud of. I have traveled alot, both in the United States and abroad. I have been pleasantly surprised to see how different each country or region was than my original perception.

We should be trying to get away from stereotyping, IMO.
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