Non-Americans talking about how weird Americans are is nothing new. They can list down a lot of what they’ve observed based on how they see them, may it be in the good United States of America or outside their country. Their minds can get fixed too with this idea about Americans based on how the media portrays them. However, not all Americans are rude and annoying just as everyone thought they would be. Here are some of the misconceptions about them that might a need a bit of clearing up to tell the whole world why they do what they do.
1. Americans love guns.
According to the latest General Social Survey, 32% of Americans either own a firearm themselves or live with someone who does. The number shows the decline in gun ownership and it mainly shows that not all Americans keep a gun in their homes. Moreover, not all Americans are paranoids about their own safety and own a gun only for protection or crime. Besides for personal protection, most of the gun owners use one for hunting and for protecting livestock against predators.
2. Americans are stupid and ignorant.
Just like in any other country, there are people who you can say as educated or uneducated, informed and uninformed, open-minded and close-minded. The United States of America is a huge country – rather a federation of different states with different people and cultures – so saying that a whole country and its people are “fill-in-the-blank” is not close to what it is in reality.
3. Americans can only be either Republicans or Democrats.
Most of the countries have multiple political parties representing different political views. In America, multiple political views can be labeled under either one of the two banners: Democrats or Republicans. So don’t always think that Republicans are hardcore Christians while Democrats are liberal atheists, and both hate each other.
4. Americans show patriotism through flags.
Sure, putting up an American flag outside the house isn’t unusual for an American but for non-Americans, it simply looks an exaggerated way of expressing their American pride. Americans are without a doubt patriotic and never think twice about showing it. But other than that, putting a US flag over everything seems normal in America that it may not mean anything anymore but a plain decoration.
5. Americans are fake.
Foreigners think that American politeness is plain hypocrisy. From the acquaintances you meet up to that person in the customer service, everyone just smiles instantly and looks like they’re ready to serve you whether they like it or not. Americans even do smile in unpleasant events such as running out of the doughnuts they’ve been dying to try. For those who are not used to this, they see smiling as insincere – fake perhaps. But for Americans, smiling is a way of extending courtesy, not a fake way of acting how awesome their day is.
6. Americans are loud.
Most of the time American travelers are thought as loud especially when they’re with their friends and family. Americans are vocal about their opinions whether they are right or wrong. They are known to put effort in making small talks but then again, not all of them are loud and can be even considered as shy just like in every normal society. Think about Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga (you read it right).
7. Americans love cars.
It would be convenient if the whole USA can have an effective public transit system but let’s get to the fact that the country is huge. Interstate driving straight from Los Angeles to New York City takes about 41 hours (Google said it) and more if you’d consider doing some stops along the way. Moreover, establishments in some cities can be spread out in long distances that there’s no other best way you can reach it but by driving a car. Having a car isn’t always a luxury, but a necessity.
8. Americans are rich.
This is a funny misconception. Most of the time, people (whether they admit it or not) follow famous Hollywood personalities, watching how they live a luxurious lifestyle while at the same time waiting for them to get into another scandal or just simply break down. But these personalities don’t represent the entire people of America. In 2011, financial inequality was greater than inequality in total wealth, with the top 1% of the population owning 42.7%, the next 19% of Americans owning 50.3%, and the bottom 80% owning 7%. A rich country doesn’t mean all of its people are in the same state too.
9. Americans have distant family relations.
It happens most of the time in what you see on the television. There’s a New Yorker who hasn’t seen his/her family for years with a sibling who’s been missing for more than ten years. Cousins or other relatives rarely make any appearances in a show and they just pop out during special events. It’s not that family relations are always distant in American families. It’s just (again) the country is huge that moving out to study or work requires most to move miles away from their loved ones and also require them to earn enough money and make enough time to go back.
When On Earth Magazine is for people who love travel. We provide informative travel guides, tips, ideas and advice regarding places to see, things to do, what to taste, and much more for world travelers seeking their next dream vacation destination.