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gailcalled's avatar

Welcome. Question is much too general. Also edit your “topics.” Check guidelines about specificity and clarity.

nayeight's avatar

I don’t know, I like French people. Do you hate French people?

critter1982's avatar

Actually I thought it was mutual hatred? I don’t dislike the french but have been treated pretty poorly when I visited France.

EnzoX24's avatar

I had always believed it was the the way around. Some of my cousins studied abroad and they all said the French treated them fairly poorly. I know in certain places in Canada if you don’t speak French they will often ignore you. I believe it is from this that Americans found a hatred for France.

skabeep's avatar

I went to France and people were assholes. I even got denied service at a resteraunt

nayeight's avatar

But, if I were French, I probably wouldn’t like Americans as much. Actually, if I was from anywhere else in the world (except Japan, they love us!) I wouldn’t like Americans.

EnzoX24's avatar

@nayeight, But the French have hated us before it become a fad

gailcalled's avatar

I spent a summer with a French family after I graduated from HS. I had learned enough French to stumble along. Everyone was kind, nice, patient and fun (even though I slept on the same sheets for two months and there was neither hot water, bath or shower on the premises. They owned a small vineyard and served glorious wine, however.)

forestGeek's avatar

Americans who hate French people as a whole, are just narrow-minded and ignorant!

aidje's avatar

The question make sense to me. I’ve seen this a lot. It’s exemplified in things like “Freedom Fries” and t-shirts that say “Texas is bigger than France.” A lot of it has to do with relations between France and America regarding the invasion of Iraq. The foreign minister of France was critical of Bush, and a bunch of gung-ho “patriotism means let’s bomb everyone and support the president unquestioningly” people decided that they should boycott French products and make fun of French people as much as possible. It’s also quite popular to joke about the alleged cowardice of the French, since they aren’t as gung-ho as America about the somewhat ill-defined “war on terror.”

core's avatar

Well, gailcalled, I don’t think it is too general. It is a pretty clear, straight forward question about a cultural phenomenon. As you can see by the answers, it is raising other questions and a vivid discussion, which I thought was kind of the purpose of this service.

augustlan's avatar

I actually don’t personally know anyone who hates the French. The whole “freedom fries” thing was an over-reaction at a time when nationalism was running high. I’d assumed it was largely forgotten.

ArchaicLion's avatar

I don’t hate the French. I like French art, cuisine, design and some aspects of their scientific community.

I dislike people that dislike Americans because they think its chic to do so. And I think the “hatred” towards the French has increased because French people have spoken so freely against America in recent history. Bashing a nation makes little sense, if you are against the government, members of government, corporations, media, etc… single them out instead of lumping them together with the whole country. America is quite large compared to European countries and rarely you hear foreign nationals say I hate Maine or I hate Oregon. Not all of America (or any nation) thinks or acts the same.

rawpixels's avatar

I’ve been to Paris and found most of the people to be very friendly. Some of the greatest people I know are French, but I have come across a couple of French people who were incredibly arrogant. I guess it all depends on the circumstances and individual experiences.

I think the French like us a whole lot more since Obama was elected, though :)

AstroChuck's avatar

I love the French. I mean, I agree, they’re rude and all, but they know how to kiss. If it wasn’t for the French we would still wonder, “What the hell am I supposed to do with my tongue?”

core's avatar

I used the word “many” instead of keeping it open or using “all”. In my experience, the cultural meme of French in America is similar to the one of Austrians in Germany, Germans in Switzerland and so on. Personally I don’t believe in nationalism and I ask myself why we are still holding on to a concept of countries in our times.

Compared to other European nationalities, French people seem to have something that makes some Americans drag out their clich├ęs about French culture. If you look at this from an outside-America position, you will notice the overpowering stereotypes.

core's avatar

During the Bush years (finally we can call it that), most Europeans I know were always stretching the point that they didn’t hate America or Americans. They just disagreed with its government.

aidje's avatar

addendum: I always found the “Freedom Fries” thing to be highly ironic, given that we practically owe our freedom to the French.

rawpixels's avatar

@aidje, yes, but they also owe their freedom to us

core's avatar

@aidje and @rawpixels—It was funny, considering that french fries are a Belgian invention.

rawpixels's avatar


Either way, they are so damn delicious :) Actually, the best fries I ever had were in Amsterdam

susanc's avatar

My husband went into a cafe in Paris a few years ago, walked up to the bar and said “Cafe” meaning he would like a cup of coffee. The waiter looked at him and resumed his conversation with someone who was already there. My husband was frustrated and confused and told me about this when he got back to our room (I never got up as early has he did). I asked him what other people do when they come into the place and he said, “They say Bonjour Bonjour Bonjour, they’re French you know.” I said nothing. The next day he walked in, said “Bonjour”. Everyone broke into smiles, and the bartender guy brought him coffee and taught him some more words.
they’re not us
they’re not us
they’re not us

nayeight's avatar

I just want to bring up that even in that movie Talladega Nights is a perfect example of this discussion. The bad guy was French and they made fun of him the whole movie. He was portayed as an homosexual that was articulate, liked jazz and wine and was an intellectual. While his opponent (Will Ferrell) was stupid, drank beer, lived in an enormous house with a barbie doll wife and two ill-behaved children. They ate fast food for dinner and had horrible family values about being “winners”.

ArchaicLion's avatar

@ nayeight
The point of most Will Ferrell movies is the exaggeration of stereotyping.

SoapChef's avatar

jealous :0)

flameboi's avatar

Welcome to fluther! You made a great entrance with that question!
All I can say is that French people are kind of, special :s
not that I hate them, they believe they are superior or better than the rest of the world in some way, which is absurd

Snoopy's avatar

I don’t know if many Americans hate French people or not. I can only speak for myself.

I don’t distinguish my distaste for someone based on their nationality, skin color, religion, etc. It is based on the individual.

My experience in France was no different than in any other country, including the USA. Their are fantastic people and assholes everywhere.

On a late night in Paris we were trying to make it back to the hotel waaaay out in the suburbs. Late at night, the last train out of Paris and the train stopped a few stations short of our stop. No taxis. They shut the lights down and closed the station. Uh, hello? Help? We didn’t speak French but had a card for our hotel. A stranger volunteered to drive us to our hotel. He refused payment and was embarassed by our gratitude.

Bar none, one of the greatest acts of kindness on our trip.

skfinkel's avatar

I only don’t like the ones who are anti-Semitic.

joeysefika's avatar

French people are very nice…. IF you go about talking to them the right way. They don’t like it if you approach them and start speaking English (especially American English) You’ll find that many french people will be more than happy to help you if when you talk to them say ‘Bonjour’ then ask if they speak English (in English, or even in French if you can be bothered to learn a few words). They’ll see your trying and be perfectly happy to help you!

Snoopy's avatar

@joey LOL. Unfortunately you description of why some French people might be arrogant toward Americans does nothing to show the French in a good light.

Whether or not someone speaks only English (and oh my!American English at that) should not illicit an unkind response from someone. Rationalizing rude behavior in this maner is akin to saying:
Americans are very nice….they don’t like it if you approach them and start speaking Spanish (especially Mexican Spanish)...

I have had the pleasure of “paying it forward” to a few wayward travelers who didn’t speak (nor attempted to speak) any English. Their relieved smiles were a universal language.

nayeight's avatar

I would be a bit annoyed if a tourist ran up to me and started speaking to me in a language that is not my native language. It is a little obnoxious for a tourist to come to a country and not even try to learn the language. At least try to have a English-French book in your hand or something. Yes, its rude to ignore the tourist but is it really necessary for them to go out of their way to understand whatever the hell this annoying person is trying to say?

Jeruba's avatar

I haven’t noticed anyone hating French people. I sure don’t. I don’t even understand the idea of hating people of a certain nationality. People are people, and you can meet wonderful folks everywhere you go.

On my last trip to France 4 years ago, I was a little worried about encountering hostility abroad because our national conduct was making us unpopular in a lot of places, but I was treated cordially everywhere I went. People were forgiving of my very weak French and tried to help me out. I had a great time both in Paris and way out in the countryside.

ArchaicLion's avatar

Or you could be nice, realize they are just tourists that want to see a land other than their own and try to understand them. If I were given the extra cash to travel to a land where I did not speak the native language I would certainly not waste time trying to fully learn the language, I’d carry a translation book and hope the letters are pronounced the same. People from lands foreign to my own don’t annoy me, they enthrall me.

Lazario's avatar

Because the French are superior? I don’t know… We hate a lot of foreigners, even though we of course are all immigrants of one kind or another. Even my father pretends that he’s 100% American. Yeah, made up of… probably Canadian and European origins. If we have to be proud of who we are now, we have to know where we came from. Which is why I’m not proud to be anything that I am. Takes too much time to find everything out.

susanc's avatar

Here’s Garrison Keillor quoting a French official’s reaction to the Obama win:

“We threw the dice and we won the jackpot and elected a black guy with a Harvard degree, the middle name Hussein and a sense of humor – he said, “I’ve got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I’ve got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher.” The French junior minister for human rights said, “On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes.” When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours? Ponder that for a moment.”

fireside's avatar

lol, usually they are telling us to bite something of theirs. : )

Nimis's avatar

Their delectable french bread?

Jeruba's avatar

@Lazario, I think maybe you mean that you hate a lot of foreigners? Not sure who you mean by “we,” but it doesn’t include me.

critter1982's avatar

Freedom Fries!!

russellsouza's avatar

I think there’s a crazy double standard when it comes to France. People I’ve met in France, even total strangers, have been incredibly kind to me. If you’re in Paris why would you expect for people not to be generally aloof? If you’re a foreign tourist in New York City you’re probably not going to get a red carpet rolled out for you either. Tourists who can’t speak English or speak English poorly are often mistreated in the United States, mocked (which is horrible), or met with snark. Parisians are inundated by tourists 24–7, and sometimes these tourists can be extremely obnoxious, making fun of French culture and making zero effort to even say “bonjour.” It’s not surprising they’re a little jaded.

Lazario's avatar

@Jeruba – what’s that in your avatar? (movie? or who is it if it’s not from a movie?)

I don’t hate anyone based on nationality. And I don’t know you, so you can clearly see if you don’t fit into the profile of the people I was talking about- I wasn’t including you anyway. Sorry I left you out, I should have created a section just for you. Y dont me brain think propprley dammit!

Jeruba's avatar

@Lazario, yes, it’s Cate Blanchett in her film role as Elizabeth I, shining armor and all, and not, alas, what I see in my mirror. I just deepened the blue tones a bit.

I wouldn’t expect you or anyone else to speak for me (in fact, please don’t, thanks), but “We hate a lot of foreigners” is a pretty global statement, and I just wondered what “we” that was. There are no “foreigners” to whom my message would be “I hate you” on the basis of nothing but knowing their nationality. That sure sounded to me like what you said. What did you mean, then?

Snoopy's avatar

@Jeruba I loved those movies

Lazario's avatar

Jeruba – get out and meet people. There is so much hate for foreigners around, it’s entrenched in American culture.

If you don’t notice, that’s your thing. But don’t ever even allude to it being my hate or prejudice or whatever just because I’m sharing what I observed in other people.

And again, stop assuming I was ever talking about you, stop jumping to conclusions, or making this about you- period. I can’t stand it when people who don’t fit into something, instead of ignoring it- include themselves on purpose just to be irritating. Which is what you did, regardless of intention.

gailcalled's avatar

I find it difficult to imagine how one could hate over 6 million people* (and growing).

*population of France, give or take a demoiselle.

Jeruba's avatar

@Lazario, the profile you used was an undefined “we,” and I asked who that was, explicitly excluding myself from it. So we agree: I don’t fit your profile. Since I am an American and I don’t fit your profile, the profile isn’t Americans. So I wondered who that group was, then: maybe some particular region?

In the urban-cosmopolitan area where I live, there’s a very rich national, ethnic, and cultural mix. If people can’t get along with a whole lot of other folks who aren’t like them, they’re not going to get along. So we get along.

Evol's avatar

There are not as many people of french heritage in the u.s. as there are of german, irish, etc., so we can’t defend ourselves :)

oasis's avatar

The French were selling EXOCET missiles to Argentina while the Argentinians were at war with the UK.

The French were part of NATO during that conflict,yet still sold the EXOCET’S that killed British Troops.

Need another reason?

Meribast's avatar

I personally observed the rudeness of servers at restaurants in Paris when their customer spoke English: they would lie and say they were out of something, but if asked in French, happily brought it.

Being culturally superior doesn’t win friends nor influence people. Personally, I don’t hate the French as I enjoy many things from France and the country itself. I personally consider myself somewhat of a francophile, anglophile and japanophile.

Some Americans feel that the French are not our allies in the world because they don’t support America’s imperialistic endeavors, even though they assisted us in becoming an independent nation. Personally, I don’t blame the French for not doing so, people here are just so dumb they believe all the rhetoric out of Washington.

On the issue of the Falklands as oasis has brought up, I wonder what they were doing all that ways away from the UK, when the land clearly should be Argentinian.

Suppose the U.S. were to lay claim to a bit of the Orkney Isles because some Americans were squatting on it…I think they would feel the same way as the Argentinians, with good reason.

As for U.S. imperialism, I’m totally against it and won’t defend it a bit. My country’s foreign policy leaves much to be desired (as does it’s domestic policies).

martini1179's avatar

I’m Polish by birth, but I grew up in the U.S. and so I think that I can provide an unbiased opinion by virtue of growing up American, but in a European household.

Do Americans hate the French? Yes and no. Anti-French sentiment is much more common among the uneducated, unworldly demographic. There are both social and political reasons for anti-French sentiment, which in itself is a symptom of a larger problem.

There are a few reasons why Americans are perceived to “hate” French people. First, there is the American assertion that America is superior to every other country in every conceivable way, which, ironically, is most commonly spouted by those who have never spent any time abroad. This jingoism is responsible for far more than Americans’ dislike of anything French, and extends to anything foreign in particular, which in itself is ironic because of America’s diverse background and culture. The Melting Pot is xenophobic.

Secondly, the “hatred” of the French (and generally of “European” and “Canadian”) is used for political purposes thereby perpetuating the dislike of the French by those following a closed-minded “herd” mentality. I can honestly say that in my personal opinion, I have only seen this used as a political tactic by conservative (more specifically, Republican) politicians, pundits, commentators and radio talk-show hosts. Exploiting peoples’ fear of anything foreign and therefore “different” is used as a scare tactic in order to maintain the status quo, often painting the French is particular as socialist, stuffy, arrogant, homosexuals. The examples of anti-French sentiment are many: the “French” universal healthcare system; the assertion during the 2004 presidential campaign that Democratic candidate John Kerry had strong French ties (even devolving to the point where some politicians and pundits briefly began pronouncing his name with a French accent); “freedom fries” instead of French fries; airing video of the breaking and subsequent emptying of French wine bottles into the rain gutters in political protest.

I had spent a short time in Paris, France a few years ago. I traveled there with the common American biases of French people being rude and arrogant. I was almost universally wrong. The French people, knowing that I was an American who spoke no French other than “merci,” were kind, courteous, well-mannered and humble. Even from the Polish expatriates, whom I could understand, I discerned little if any anti-American sentiment. Any negative sentiment was directed at the Bush administration, not Main Street America.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

because they put mayo on their Fries…

Ivy's avatar

I believe it’s because of their refusal to join the Allies in invading Iraq, combined with a general lack of historical understanding of France’s contribution to American liberty. My lineage and last name is French and I’m with Stephen Colbert when he proudly announced .. “It’s French, bitch!”

master_mind413's avatar

I have nothing against france never have

alex208's avatar

lets be honest people, its b/c most of America (excluding a few major cities) consists of obese people that dress really badly,have equally bad haircuts, and talk load. The French see this and are like “wow these people are horrendous!!” Of course they aren’t going to come right out and say it…instead they are going to whine about imperialism or Iraq or whatever, but that is just code…at the heart of it, the answer is yes, they do believe that they are more sophisticated, educated, cultured, basically superior in almost every way to Americans – but can you really blame them?? I don’t know.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Don’t take it personally that the French feel superior to Americans; they feel superior to everyone who isn’t French. Beyond that, the people in Provence feel superior to other areas of France, and the Parisians in turn feel superior to those in Provence! The French perception of other is highly stratified.

Daneurysm's avatar

Americans don’t really hate French people. For most that may speak as though they do, it’s a very superficial “hatred”, i.e. they might talk a mean game, but if you were around them they would be as nice to you as anyone else. Unless of course they’re jerks, then they’re probably jerks to everyone.

Ultimately, people are people in every country and our responses to foreign criticism are no different. If a highly public figure in France (such as Dominique de Villepin), or some anti-American journalist makes a criticism of us, or even our leaders, to a lot of Americans, that opinion or criticism ultimately reflects the entire population. It may not be true, but that’s the perception. Ask any European whose had one, bad experience in the USA, encountered somebody unpleasant. They will speak venomously of the USA and how rude Americans are, even though they encountered one of the thousands of @ssholes in a nation of 350,000,000. (and yes, I’m sorry to tell you, that in a country of 350m, there is no shortage of @ssholes).

The USA as a country and our culture is very immature.That’s not a condemnation of it, it’s just a statement of fact. European culture and society has grown and evolved for over a millenia. The USA is 234 (more like 400 if you count the colonial era). One of the funniest criticisms I have heard from a French person against the USA is that “The USA has no cultural history”. Well gee, ya think?!?! That’s like criticizing an 11 y/o male for not being tall enough or growing facial hair. The USA is and will remain shallow in the history dept until it gets some more years (and by “years” I mean “several more centuries”) behind it. Nothing anyone says or does is going to change that.

As a result of that immaturity however, Americans tend to have very emotionally charged reactions to foreigners speaking of us, for better or worse. The flipside is that anyone who speaks well of us publicly is suddenly our bff (hence why so many Americans like Sarkozy). We like people who like us (or at least speak kindly of us publicly) and are very condemning of those who are critical. I think the same could be said of any country though.

Charlev's avatar

wow is there room for another answer? LOL
Well, Americans are known World Wide as being one of the most racist people, now with racism we think about color of skin…but Americans are racist with LANGUAGE!!!!!
Since most Americans are god dam lazy to learn other language ( and I will admit it) they might not be in the position where they need to learn a language because they “need it” like other nations. Anyway American hate anybody that does not not speak American,,American one again, because they are also known to criticize the accents of Australians, and British for example.

In other words French fries are not the only ones thrown at the garbage for hatred of Americans.

Oh by the way…since when French people or anybody in the world need to love Americans??? We Americans are not the best people…no body is.

Charlev's avatar

I would also like to point out that..If Americans feel improperly treated by France…Why on Earth are they obsessed in vacationing to Western Europe…Americans should start considering places like Eastern Europe all the way to Russia. Also Asia is fascinating and fancy too. Hey there is Latin America…If Americans insist in that Western Europeans, Canadians or Australians think they ARE SUPERIOR, than you all, .. then travel to the other places I mentioned…maybe this popular places need a break from “want everything perfectly Americans”

Yankeegal's avatar

The reasons that some Americans express resentment toward the USA are complex. As a youngster we Americans learn a great deal about English history, English literature, and English culture. We receive surprising little education about France, the history, the culture and the literature. Also, percetion in the USA is that France relied upon the USA in both world wars to rescue their country. There is a persistent myth that most French whole heartedly agreed to the German occupation. In fact, most people in most occupied counties anywhere do not act as heros and tolerate their occupiers simply to save their own lives. It is true that we fought against Germans in both wars and to this day many French remain greatful. Our presence in France during that time did not ensure us that the French would then agree with everything that our government does or says. The French support freedom of thought of the individual and of the nation. My personal experiences traveling in France are that the people are friendly and caring even if like me, you don’t speak the language. I tried to learn a few phrases and words and out of respect uses them frequently. Any thought that the French don’t like Americans is quickly dispelled when one realizes that most of the television is American, that they enjoy American music more than any other country. It is a wonderful country with so much history, art, beauty, varied produce and foods that I wish I could be transported there this minute.

ben69is8somenthing's avatar

As a french youngster, I agree with yankeegal.
The resentment expressed by some french people towards the USA is due to several things.
First of all, our cultures are strong and different, and the tensions are due to a misunderstanding and a lack of comprehension of people.
Secondly, there are assholes everywhere( we have a high rate of assholes in france I confess)
Thridly, our country is flooded by tourists(we are the first touristic destination in the world with 100 millions tourists per year) and local inhabitants are fed up with these activities most of the time.
I deeply apologize if you’ve been disappointed by your past trips in France but if you come back, your experience could be so much better, you just have to find the good persons on your path.
French people are narrow-minded that’s true (for a huge part of the population), we are proud of ourselves that’s true (like our national cock) some of us are presomptuous that’s true but if I was saying that every single american was obese or a member of the NRA, would I be right everytime?
But don’t stereotype or generalize the image of france, we are a nation, made by several people and each of us are different. Some are narrow-minded and others open-minded.
This was a message of peace
Mesdames messieurs bonsoir =)

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