General Question

funkdaddy's avatar

For those outside the US, what are some recognizable symbols or traits of the USA?

Asked by funkdaddy (12956 points ) February 14th, 2009

Each country seems to have a few things that are symbols of that country’s culture or past. For example, when I think of “the Dutch” they have windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, etc… Switzerland has mountains, neutrality, the white cross on a red background, those handy knives… Spain has flamenco dancers, bull fights, fiery passion, conquistadors…

They’re generalizations, but are recognizable as being of their country.

What symbols or traits of the US and its people would the rest of the world recognize?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

64 Answers

Bri_L's avatar

Bald Eagle
White House

Bluefreedom's avatar

The U.S. flag

Bald Eagles

Chevrolets, Fords, Dodges

The Statue of Liberty

Disneyland / Disneyworld

In the past, the World Trade Centers in New York

Hollywood / movie production

Wal-Mart

Democracy

SuperMouse's avatar

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet. Does anyone else remember this commercial (modified a bit on youtube).

Bluefreedom's avatar

@SuperMouse. I actually do remember it. Man, I’m getting old!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Uncle Sam!

Mtl_zack's avatar

Lawyers
Suing at every possible chance
Arrogance
Fast food
Crappy cars
Southern Accent
SPAM
Bad reputation while traveling
War
Guns and violence (like violence can solve any problem)
Being so obsessed with their history (like, everyone takes the “collective” rules and doesn’t do what they want to do)
Pushes things on others

lefteh's avatar

Ouch..

aprilsimnel's avatar

Rock ‘n’ Roll and Motown

TaoSan's avatar

Can only speak for Germany:

Burgers
Really obese people in clothes they really shouldn’t wear
Cowboys
Greedy corporate managers
Greedy bank managers
Drive-thru
Frivolous lawsuits
Aahhnuld
Tourists that can’t understand that you’re supposed to learn the language of the country you are visiting, not the other way around

Landmarks:
Statue of Liberty
Mt. Rushmore
White House
Golden Gate
Grand Canyon
Route 66

asmonet's avatar

@Mtl_zack: To be fair all young nations go through a period of intense interest in their own history. That isn’t really an American trait.

Grand Canyon
Suburbia
Cowboys

Damn it Tao! Beat me by seconds on Cowboys and Canyon.

TaoSan's avatar

@asmonet

beat you to the wild wild west by a fraction of a second :)

Mtl_zack's avatar

PBR
Chewing tobacco
Rocking chairs
Wal Mart
Mullets
Sitting on the porch, with something involving all of the above.

@asmonet: true. You got me there.

@Taosan: Lol aahnold lol!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Wow, young people in other parts of the world know Route 66! That’s awesome! It’s been downgraded to being a bunch of local roads now and that ain’t right.

TaoSan's avatar

@Mtl_zack

Yeah, I tell ya, in Germany and Austria they’re crazy about the Governator

TaoSan's avatar

@aprilsimnel

Yeah, just like we have “Chinese” or “Asian” -themed restaurants, there are now Diners and American themed restaurants in Germany. You bet you’ll find a Route 66 sign and an Arizona number plate somewhere.

Sorry for double-quipping…

asmonet's avatar

@TaoSan: What the shit do they serve there? All our food is borrowed from others!

TaoSan's avatar

@asmonet

Nope, junkfood that’s even grosser than it is here LOL

Believe me, the last thing you want to try is the German interpretation of hot wings, blarch

TaoSan's avatar

Yaaaa! Geben Sie Sauerkraut Chicken Wings bitte, yaaa!

tb1570's avatar

Seems to be a lot of Americans responding with how we feel about/perceive ourselves. @funkdaddy, was your meaning about how other people/countries/cultures outside of the U.S. perceive us? And are you speaking about cultural/commercial icons (McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, movie stars, etc..) or are you asking about our cultural philosophies, morals, ethics, beliefs, etc.?

Jack79's avatar

First things that come to mind when anyone anywhere hears the word “America”:

dollar sign
US flag
Statue of liberty
war

Second thing that comes to mind when people who may have a vague perception of the world think of “America”:

JFK
Fat people eating at McDonald’s
Coca-Cola
Hollywood, stars, movies etc
Cowboys and Indians

then they may remember more things, such as M.L.King, Elvis, M.Monroe, Lincoln or Roosevelt.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Fat people.
Loud people on buses or trains.
Palm trees (think Cali in the movies).

lataylor's avatar

Democracy (first modern democracy on Earth)
Civil Liberties
Modern pharmaceuticals (12 of the 20 largest pharm. companies in USA)
Land of immigration (more than any other country)
Freedom of speech
Freedom of Religion
Women’s Rights
Science
Birthplace of the airplane
Birthplace of the automobile
Modern medicine (John’s Hopkins is the birthplace for modern medicine)

TaoSan's avatar

@lataylor

Birthplace of the automobile??? Errm? Women’s rights? Err… Modern Pharmaceuticals…errm

Maybe some research is in order?

asmonet's avatar

@lataylor: We revolutionized the auto industry, yes. But we did not start it.

François Isaac de Rivaz, a Swiss inventor, designed the first internal combustion engine, in 1806, which was fueled by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen and used it to develop the world’s first vehicle, albeit rudimentary, to be powered by such an engine. The design was not very successful, as was the case with others such as Samuel Brown, Samuel Morey, and Etienne Lenoir with his hippomobile, who each produced vehicles (usually adapted carriages or carts) powered by clumsy internal combustion engines.[8]

In November 1881 French inventor Gustave Trouvé demonstrated a working three-wheeled automobile that was powered by electricity. This was at the International Exhibition of Electricity in Paris.[9]

Although several other German engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern automobile.[8]

An automobile powered by his own four-stroke cycle gasoline engine was built in Mannheim, Germany by Karl Benz in 1885 and granted a patent in January of the following year under the auspices of his major company, Benz & Cie., which was founded in 1883. It was an integral design, without the adaptation of other existing components and including several new technological elements to create a new concept. This is what made it worthy of a patent. He began to sell his production vehicles in 1888

More, here!

The others that TaoSan mentioned….well, he’s right. You’re seriously wrong.

lataylor's avatar

Maybe not the first automobile, but definitely the first mass produced version and the leader in automotive technology for decades thereafter. Modern pharmaceuticals are dominated by The USA. 12 of the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies are American, and 2 of the 3 biggest are American. We were one of the first dozen countries to grant women the right to vote. The Wyoming territory granted womenvoting rights 50 years before the UK, and other european countries. More than 50% of medical students and college students today in the USA are women. I am proud that we have come a long way.

funkdaddy's avatar

I was asking specifically for the perception of those living outside the US, but I’m glad people who live here answered as well. There seems to be a huge disconnect between how we think we’re perceived and the reality.

I asked a friend from Sweden who moved here recently what the symbols of America were and threw out Uncle Sam and the flag as examples. He laughed and said the top symbols of the US back home (Stockholm) were “fat people, cowboy hats, and blue jeans”, he went on to say we were perceived as rude, and public opinion had really turned against us as a nation due to the war. It made me sad. I said there had to be more than that, so he listed country music, SUVs, and lawyers, not exactly much of an improvement. He’s not some raving crazy who would say it lightly, he doesn’t hate the US, he’s been all over the world and to him he was just relaying facts.

I asked essentially the same question to someone who recently moved from England. She said the top symbols were overweight people, hamburgers (McDonald’s specifcially), and the perception of us was mainly as a group who was rude and ignorant of what was going on in the rest of the world. She also pointed out that our government is involved in every major conflict yet individuals here rarely know or care about what those actions actually entail. Again, it’s not like she’s some zealot against the US. She married an American, studied here, and now lives here.

I was kind of hoping those outside the US here on Fluther would have some positive angles to go along with the negative. That really doesn’t seem to be the case. Personally, this is troubling but I’m not sure exactly what can be done about it.

So I guess some follow up questions, for anyone who is game.

Do you care if the US as a whole, and Americans in general, are viewed in a bad light internationally?
How do we go about changing the perception of the US? It seems people would be surprised how many Americans work towards goals that are counter to how the nation as a whole is perceived.

Also, out of curiosity, for those outside the US, if you had to name three positive symbols of the US, what would they be?

TaoSan's avatar

Wow, Sweden is quite a hike from Germany, yet perceptions are so similar WOW!

TaoSan's avatar

@lataylor

Pharmaceuticals – highest rate of recalls of defect-causing preparations due to improper and corrupt testing. We are neither the most innovative nor the most efficient nation when it comes to medical research. We are leaders in size, because Pharmaceuticals are a trillion-dollar industry, and our industry only concentrates on profit. We let other countries do the non-profit research, and then copy their formulas by finding nifty ways to circumvent international copyright laws, now that is a thing we are No1 at.

Automobiles – Since automobiles roam the roads people all over the world wanted a Mercedes-Benz, a BMW, and later on a luxury brand from Japan. At no point in the automotive history have American vehicles been considered “supreme”. Cheesh, even our hotrods still used coach-springs when the rest of the world had automatically adjusting suspensions in vehicles of a similar class.

Women voting, sure, and after they voted in Wyoming they had to make sure to be back at the stove in time. Sexism, just as racism, was still prevalent and accepted in the US when it was frowned upon in European countries.

People still see it as an achievement that a certain number of minorities or women achieve a goal.

I’m sad we’re lagging this far behind the rest of the civilized world, where this issue wouldn’t even be on the table.

just some perspective…

laureth's avatar

Years that women were granted suffrage, by country.

(I think this is an important benchmark in women’s rights, and it can be easily tracked.)

1893 New Zealand
1902 Australia
1906 Finland
1913 Norway
1915 Denmark
1917 Canada
1918 Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia
1919 Netherlands
1920 United States…

Certainly we’re not as bad as:
1972 Bangladesh
1974 Jordan
1976 Portugal
1989 Namibia
1990 Western Samoa
1993 Kazakhstan, Moldova
1994 South Africa
2005 Kuwait
Not yet: Saudi Arabia

…but we’re not really a big leader, either.

asmonet's avatar

Way to suck, Kuwait.

lataylor's avatar

As a physician at a University who reads medical research daily I can accurately say that we easily lead the world in medical research as a whole. The human genome was sequenced in the USA. Hepatitis C virus was discovered in San Francisco. Genetically engineered insulin was created at Genentech. HIV was discovered here. The first liver transplant was in the USA. Prions (mad cow disease) were discovered here. The field of neurosurgery was created here. The first oupatient dialysis was in Seattle. The biologic agents that have revolutionized auto-immune disease the last 10 years were conceived of and first made here. Erythropoieitin and other hormones that stimulate blood cells to grow were invented here (Amgen corporation)

lataylor's avatar

And, I am pretty sure the NIH budget of $29 billion dollars is the largest non-profit public funding of medical research by any nation (and Mr. Bush did increase the funding for research by more than 20%). That doesn’t even include Dept. of Defense, NSF, the VA and many other sources. Thousands of scientists from Europe, So. America, Asia and the Middle East come to the USA every year for post-doctoral training and I have worked with dozens of them.

TaoSan's avatar

@lataylor

One moment please, we were talking the pharmaceutical industry, not medical research!!!

Distinct difference! But that was my bad, I had floppily mixed them up in my previous post, my bad!

By the way, BSE is just the bovine form of Creutzfeld-Jakob, which was discovered by the German Gerhard Creutzfeld in 1920. Be that as it may, medical history is certainly not my strength :)

tb1570's avatar

@funkdaddy As an American living, working & teaching in China, I can tell you that most of the aforementioned stereotypes of Americans are also perceived here; specifically fat, ignorant, pushy, self righteous & absorbed, rich & arrogant people who love to eat fast food and bully the rest of the world in to doing what we want or think is “right”. Corporations like McDonald’s, Nike, Apple, Microsoft/Bill Gates are all well known over here as well. In China, you could add to that list violence & violent crime, gun-ownership (a common perception over here is that all Americans love & own guns), tall people, big-breasted and big-assed women, promiscuity, Hollywood & movie stars, modern hip-hop, the NBA (specifically Yao Ming, of course, and Kobe Bryant) and people who care more about themselves than their family. We are also closely associated w/ the actions of our gov’t and our political leaders, so I don’t need to tell you what has happened to our image on that front in the last 8 years or so. And the Chinese have not forgotten the “accidental” bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 by U.S. warplanes under the Clinton administration. Also, many Chinese think most Americans hate China & its people.

Getting more on the positive side, we are also known for our independence, freedom, the quality of our education system and our love for animals. In fact, many Chinese will openly state that they love, or at least admire America and would love to visit, or even move there, someday. And we also have to be aware that the image most Chinese have of America has been staunchly influenced by their gov’t. Only recently, w/ the proliferation of the internet in the last 10 years or so, have many Chinese had easy access to other points of view. Also, like most other cultures around the world, much of the average Chinese’s image of America & Americans comes from Hollywood big-budget movies, TV shows like Friends, Prison Break, Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives, etc., the NBA and its “stars,” and modern hip-hop music & videos, and, believe it or not, from video games like Grand Theft Auto. So I’m sure you can imagine what that image is like.

As such, I’m sure you can see why the typical view of America & Americans over here can be quite skewed, to say the least. Still, I often find that it is us and our perception of China and Chinese people that is often much farther off base. In general, the Chinese people are some of the kindest, friendliest, warmest people I’ve ever met. They are not aggressive, they do not want war and they do not all follow their gov’t blindly (no more than we do). They are very curious about America & the rest of the world. In reality, the day-to-day urban existence over here is not too different at all from anywhere else in the West. And the presence of the Chinese gov’t in daily life is not nearly as strong as you might think. In fact, I can tell you w/ 100% truth & honesty that in America the presence of our gov’t, military & police forces is much more in your face than here in China. And as Americans, I believe we also should admit to ourselves that our image of China & its people has no doubt been influenced by our gov’t and its propaganda as well. In America, there is no doubt that we ourselves have been indoctrinated in to believing that a capitalist, free-market driven democracy is the pinnacle of human societal & governmental evolution. We have to realize, not everyone agrees with that! We like to think of ourselves as open-minded, tolerant, independent thinkers, why then can’t we allow that there may exist other possibilities for cultural existence and harmony that do not exactly match our own? And more importantly, why can’t we allow for these other possibilities and allow other people & cultures to choose for themselves? Why must we always force others to bend to our will and our ideas about what we think is right? This itself, theoretically, goes against some of our most fundamental beliefs. What happened to live and let live? But this is getting off topic from your questions.

As far as what can be done, I’m not sure. There are many different levels we could discuss here. If we’re speaking individually, I think it’s important to remember that when we travel to other countries, we are like mini-ambassadors for America, and so should behave accordingly. If you don’t like the image/stereotype of America that seems to be prevalent all over the world now, don’t live down to it. Remember that no matter where you go, you could be the first American some one has ever seen in person. The best way to increase cultural understanding, however, is through personal relationships and friendships. Luckily, with the internet, it truly has never been easier to strike up an international friendship. Also, if you live near a university, most likely there are numerous international students there who would love the chance to get to know an American and have American friends. I encourage everyone to get out there and try to meet people from other parts of the world. You personally could do more for America’s image than you might believe possible. You will definitely learn some new & interesting things yourself, and you just may end up shattering a few stereotypes, for yourself and for those you meet.

steelmarket's avatar

It is amazing how many people around the world think poorly of Americans but would seriously consider becoming one.

tb1570's avatar

@steelmarket That should be a testament to the power of the American dream & ideals, not necessarily a statement about the current state of affairs in the US. Now all we have to do is start living up to our potential.

steelmarket's avatar

Well said, @tb !

TaoSan's avatar

@tb1570

Excellent!!!!

Jack79's avatar

tb1570 these views are more or less consistent with what I have seen in the countries I have lived in or visited (never been to China myself). And of course they answer the actual question a lot better than what Americans think others ought to think of them (which is what I see in most answers).

As for americans tourists abroad, like all tourists, they do their best to confirm the worst stereotypes. I’ve never met a tourist of any nationality that does not give their homeland a bad name. I think the reason is that, when preparing for the trip, we all tend to forget to pack our brains as well and end up leaving them back home.

Bri_L's avatar

All I know is neither I nor anyone I know falls into the stereo types listed by tb1570 as viewed accept for some are fat. I take offense to the idea that the country as a whole would be represented by “specifically fat, ignorant, pushy, self righteous & absorbed, rich & arrogant people who love to eat fast food and bully the rest of the world in to doing what we want or think is “right”. Corporations like McDonald’s, Nike, Apple, Microsoft/Bill Gates” who are the smallest minutia of who is here. It is the same type of descrimination that your example shows we have with China. Building an idea based on isolated exposure.
And lastly, every local news channel around here goes nuts with coverage of efforts where people gather to donate food, money, time, cloths, supplies for hurricane, psunami and earth quake victoms every time that happens. Seems more selfless than selfish.

We do have the arrogence and all but that is the lesser of what makes us the USA. To say that defines us is to say “retreat” is the national war cry of France and actually mean it.

TaoSan's avatar

@Bri_L

May I ask in how many different countries you have “lived”, I mean lived not spent a vacation.

The perception of Americans in other countries isn’t just stereotype jabber, but based on these people’s knowledge and everyday life-experience.

You portray Americans as benevolent and mentioned food-rallies, and while this is a noble effort of the people, I myself, being raised in Europe, find it is atrocious that people have to do food-rallies because the society as whole is so obsessed with “less taxes”, “less government”, less this and that, that there is no “public” system installed to respond to such (domestic) issues in the first place.

And yes, we are very, very self righteous, seeing that we’re so concerned about countries that touch on our interests, where are the troops in Darfur?

Most people I know over here (and I don’t mean to generalize), seem to give not selflessly, but in an effort to feel better about themselves.

And if you don’t think we “bully” others, well, history and the current foreign policy of the last eight years speak otherwise.

You have to understand one thing, in many other countries, people aren’t as disenfranchised by their government as they are here. We can’t expect of them to perceive us as the all good people, where only the few bad ones that comprise our government are the screw ups.

They will merely think that we as a society are simply not capable to install a proper government. Heck, most of my German buddies will laugh if you praise the great American democracy, for the plain fact that they can’t even fathom how democracy is supposed to work with only two parties.

Mtl_zack's avatar

@Bri_L Actually, the news is very tilted towards America. When there was a huge storm in the Philippines, all day, the news was covering Obama’s running mate and his amazing text message that will change the way we see the entire world. There was not one word about that tropical storm, or the relief sen to the Philippines.

Bri_L's avatar

@TaoSan

Every day life experience? With movie stars and professional athletes?

“You portray Americans as benevolent” I said “I nor anyone I know”. You look at the statistics for how many americans are represented by politicians, starlets and professional athletes and tell me if I don’t have a right to tell the world I am not like that. Or that the majority of the country isn’t like that. Statistically speaking we are not. Not even close. The majority of people in this country get up live their lives and go to bed the same as aspersion casting people like you, a lot of them with worse worries.

find it is atrocious that people have to do food-rallies because the society as whole is so obsessed with “less taxes”, “less government”, less this and that, that there is no “public” system installed to respond to such (domestic) issues in the first place.
I don’t know what this mix of a sentence is talking about. I was merely pointing out that I was aware, locally, that people were very responsive to foreign crisis.

And I have as much right to expect others in their country to understand we are not all the sum of our governments actions as I am expected to believe and understand those people in china are not all what my government claims. Or even what you, someone I don’t know, point out in your thread.

I never said we were perfect. I just said it was not true that we could be adequately represented by the post you praised alone.

My last point is that you were raised in Europe, live in Germany and are an expert in what people are really like in the USA? I was wondering how you pulled that off.

@ mtl zack – I said local news, not national. And there were stories on the news because my wife and I discussed them. An usher from our wedding has family there.

TaoSan's avatar

@Bri_L

First:
Everyday life experience means that they live in a different system, and have the means to compare how things are done here with how they are done where they reside. Reuters and AP work in Europe too, you know. Which is more than you can say about the average American, if pretty much every German on the street knows how many parties make our Government, how come the average American can’t even point out what form of Government is installed elsewhere in the world unless it is a “dictatorship” as defined by our propaganda machine.

Second:
I live in Nevada, have been in the States for 12 years now, and was in the US military for 4 years.

Third:
The way you didn’t consider this as an option was very….well…..American. How could I be writing like this if I didn’t live here?

Bri_L's avatar

Not really, it was a logical assumption based on the information you provided and excluded. Your attempt at a sarcastic insult was… well… a failure.

It’s great you live in the US, a country you served for 4 years and now seem to dislike so much. But It still doesn’t change my point. Neither do your insults or sweeping generalizations.

what do you mean how would you be writing like this if you didn’t live here? Everything you are writing about can be obtained from the web and news media which was partly my point. Much of the worlds view of the nation as a whole is base solely on that.

I will just accept that you and I wont agree on this issue and wish you well before this gets out of hand.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Now THAT is American: Getting into a fight about nothing and then wanting to end the argument before there’s conflict. (Iraq)

TaoSan's avatar

@Mtl_zack

Awesome…lol

@Bri_L

Cynical insult?????? Where???????????

Bri_L's avatar

@Mtl_zack Lurve.

very true.

I am irish, german and french.

I like to get drunk, start the fight and run away.

tb1570's avatar

@Bri_L LOL!!! Now there are some stereotypes!!!

Bri_L's avatar

It says “sarcastic” not “cynical”.

Here “The way you didn’t consider this as an option was very….well…..American.”

I did consider it an option. I thought you were based on other threads but, as I explained, it was a logical assumption based on the information you provided and excluded that you were not necessarily in the US. ” I myself, being raised in Europe”, “Can only speak for Germany”, ”...most of my German buddies…”.

Look, I have already stated we are not perfect. But we are not the some of those actions you listed either. The bank tellers who work for AIG are not responsible for the actions of the morons at the helm. All we can do is our best with our votes.

You can point out what you did and I agree with some of it, the lack of assistance in Darfor for instance, but your not going to convince me I am a bad person for living in the US any more than anyone else is for living in their country. Besides, every country has their own sketchy past and I would put our worst against many of their best.

Mtl_zack's avatar

@Bri_L Isn’t America the most immigrated to country? Why can’t people who immigrated from Germany be American?

TaoSan's avatar

@Bri_L

Of course you’re not a bad person for being American. This is far from what I was trying to say. American society is very young, 300 something years is nothing compared to societies that can be traced back to Roman and Asian empires, thus, we have many problems any “fledgeling” society would have.

Also, none of the “older” societies have any of the issues associated with our “multi-cultural” heritage and diversity.

All I am trying to say, is that a lot of the old “Wild West” mentality is still prevalent, although it is not that obvious if you haven’t lived in another societal model.

It’s all good, we’re great, we’re good people, just need to learn a bit from others.

Bri_L's avatar

@Mtl_zacksigh I never said they couldn’t. I was only pointing out why I thought he was in Germany. By your logic We could assume EVERYONE, no matter what they type is american. That would be a great example of and support the idea that we are egotists. That is not what I was doing however. If your only going to chime in to pick apart and try and catch me at something, I’ll just bow to you and you can PM your quips to TaoSan because I am really not interested.

@TaoSay – I agree. And as old as all those other societies are, people from all of them still wanted to come here to be a part of and to build this country. Now lets hope they can heed the words and wisdom of people like yourself. People who are familiar with the rest of the world and maybe we can start a bit of change.

It is just a shame, in my mind, that the totality of the US image is what it is when that is far from the case if you deal with the people, not unlike China. Again, just my opinion.

Bri_L's avatar

@TaoSan

Hey Bud,

Thanks for the great discussion on the US and how it is viewed in other countries. I really appreciate your views especially as you have such great experience. Despite what I may have sounded like, I do agree with almost everything you wrote, I was just unable to succinctly say some bad apples shouldn’t represent the whole bunch. BUT you helped me understand how it is possible for the world to view us that way. Thanks again.

TaoSan's avatar

Sure!

That’s the one thing about online discussions, you don’t see the face and hear the voice when something is said, so I may have come across as “bashing”, that wasn’t intended of course.

Having “grown” into two very different cultures gives me a unique perspective that is hard to communicate sometimes. There, I’m not really German, here I’m not really American.

No problems mate!

Bri_L's avatar

Wicked cool!

PS I do love German Chocolate Cake.

TaoSan's avatar

drooooool!

Comes with a shot of insulin attached now LOL

Bri_L's avatar

LOLURVE!

Jack79's avatar

I don’t really see why there is a disagreement here. There is obviously a difference between how someone (or a whole nation) actually IS and how they may be PERCEIVED. The question was about perception, not necessarily the truth. And of course it’s all about stereotypes.

I can accept that neither Bri_L, nor Bri_L’s friends fall into that stereotyped category of fat,arrogant bullies. Unfortunately, most of the American tourists I have met, do. Most of the permanent residents, don’t.

An interesting point here is that (even though I’ve never been to the USA), most of the people who have actually taken that trip are pleasantly surprised, saying that their perception of what Americans are like (based mainly on arrogant tourists and a dumb ex-president) changed dramatically after their trip. They say they have found the locals to be quite friendly and helpful, albeit no less ignorant of the world around than expected. Which is exactly what most American migrants say of Afghans, Russians, Iraqis or Chinese.

steelmarket's avatar

Perception is everything. Perhaps Ms Clinton should hire a good ad agency for the USA.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther