General Question

allen_o's avatar

Why does the global community have such a low opinion of Americans?

Asked by allen_o (1485points) March 18th, 2009 from iPhone
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

14 Answers

Harp's avatar

For ages now, we’ve acted as though we’re the only show in town. The American public pays little attention to what goes on elsewhere in the world, knows very little about other cultures, and doesn’t take into consideration the impact of America’s actions on the rest of the world. Moreover, we think everybody else needs to come around to our way of doing things, even though we don’t bother to understand their way of doing things.

They look at how our overriding emphasis on consumption has bloated us into a shallow, frivolous, short-sighted behemoth, and look on with horror at how we’re trying to export that unsustainable philosophy to their countries.

And, as if that weren’t enough, we’ve got the most powerful weapons of destruction in the world and have shown our willingness to use them whenever we feel like it.

Milladyret's avatar

I believe that it’s the americans very individual thinking, ‘Me’ before ‘Us’, where there’s seems to be a more collective aproach to everything in the rest of the world.
And all the news we see from the US is sensational and so obviously manifactured or overstated, (or caused by incredible stupidity or misplaced anger) and that just looks stupid…

Also, this doesn’t help :P

Harp's avatar

I just wanted to add that many people outside of America absolutely love the American fantasy, as portrayed in the media. It is very alluring. But the reality plays out quite differently. Part of the antagonism toward Americans ,I think, comes from this contrast between our ideals and our practice.

dynamicduo's avatar

What Harp said. Exactly what Harp said.

It’s very interesting looking at how many Canadians think of Americans in general. I would say that many people here have a low or negative opinion of the group as a whole, though I can’t really pinpoint exactly why this is. It’s a combination of the things Harp has mentioned above. Oh, and standing around while your rights were taken away by Bush, while you were spied on, and while your country committed torture also heavily influenced my opinion.

Of course, I don’t think that every American is this way.

nmguy's avatar

Can you spell B-U-S-H?

dynamicduo's avatar

@Harp said: Part of the antagonism toward Americans, I think, comes from this contrast between our ideals and our practice.

Yes. Yes indeed. The “American Dream” and the American Reality are so completely opposite in today’s world.

@nmguy – Many Canadians have loathed Americans for much longer than Bush or even his daddy was in the White House. Sure he made it worse, but don’t be using him as a scapegoat for everything now.

fireside's avatar

Other parts of the world have a more visceral memory of empire building that is embedded into their culture. Americans are the new kids on the block and seem to think that their empire is different and somehow better than all those previously failed ones.

Qingu's avatar

Killing hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq based on faulty intelligence and misguided notions of “spreading democracy” doesn’t really do much for our PR.

cwilbur's avatar

If you talk to people from outside the US, there’s a remarkable commonality. They love the ideals that America says it stands for—equality of opportunity, due process of law, equality of everyone under the law. They often like individual Americans a lot, too.

But they don’t like the me-first attitude, they don’t like the imperialism and the my-way-or-the-highway approach to diplomacy. And whenever you have a group of Americans together, odds are at least one of them is going to be an ugly American.

mowens's avatar

Because we suck.

btko's avatar

Because they are trying to take it over economically, militarily, and culturally.

allen_o's avatar

@harp, I totaly agree

@cwilber, I disagree

@mowens, hahaha!

Staalesen's avatar

My opinion is that it is a rather complex issue, but what it comes down to for many is meddeling with other states.
Examples: CIA in South America
Vietnam & Korea

hermanni's avatar

Constant yelling of “Oh my God!”, not to mention that hideous euphemism “Oh my word!” is strangely irritating.

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