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Perception of America

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posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 05:19 PM
I remember when I was a child. We had a visitor from Germany visit our church. He gave a talk to our Wednesday night youth group. He talked about his hesitation in coming to America for a visit. His fear as he explained was having to tolerate What he thought of as rude and scary behavior. He based this on what he had seen of American Movies and Television programming.

He viewed America as a country of rude crude murderous people who had no appreciation for life, or manners. He took the chance in coming to America because of a member of our church who was visiting relatives in his town. They were introduced at the local church and hit it off. They ended up wanting to marry but he felt he wanted to be proper and gain the blessing from her father. That took a trip to America.

of course he was shocked to find out that what he saw portrayed on the screen and what was reality were two different things. I've often thought of this visit and how his eyes were opened by circumstance. I've also wondered how many people have the same mind set as this visitor did. Basing there opinion on what they see on the television screens and movie theaters. how much of the hatred is based on that.

How much of the hatred for the country I love is based on fantasy. Based on a network producers need to fit another luxury sports car in his drive way.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 05:39 PM
I don't think the movies have that much of an effect on whether we are perceived as a violent or rude society. The news and our political leaders probably have far more to do with it.

My mother is from a small town in Switzerland. I have visited a couple of times and I can say there is a HUGE difference compared to much of the U.S. Very civilized and polite, stores leave displays on the sidewalk all day (bottles of wine, and other things, left unattended while the employees close up for a couple of hours in the afternoon).

NO theft or crime, people trust one another. There are standards of civilized behavior that are carefully adhered to. A totally different world. Now I suppose that may have changed in some areas, they have experienced a fair amount of immigration from other countries, but in many ways they are still a pristine and very trusting society. A lot of Europe is still much safer than much of the U.S. though I suppose some small towns in the U.S. are still like that. I hope to have the money and ability to find one and move out far away from the masses and the rat race.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 05:54 PM

Originally posted by angryamerican
I remember when I was a child. We had a visitor from Germany visit our church. He gave a talk to our Wednesday night youth group. He talked about his hesitation in coming to America for a visit. His fear as he explained was having to tolerate What he thought of as rude and scary behavior. He based this on what he had seen of American Movies and Television programming.

To me, this doesn't actually make much sense. If I was basing my view of America and Americans purely on American films and television I'd probably have the opposite opinion.

I'd think Americans were all heroes and the only ones capable of 'saving the day', that they had a spirit and fight in them that was unique and not shared with any other people on earth, that even monsters and aliens thought America was the most important place on earth, that America was populated by wise-cracking yet honest and noble models with perfect teeth, hair and skin.

If I want exposure to Americans with rude and scary behaviour, I have to turn to the internet.

[edit on 7-12-2008 by Merriman Weir]

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 05:57 PM
You see, America only exists in your mind. Ameriica, Americans, Germans, Arabs, Africans.... all purely perceptions. In reality, we're all humans living on one planet.

Are these our perceptions, or did someone or something teach us to percieve everything in this way?

Americans don't exist in reality.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 06:37 PM
Ok I will admit it, I was one of them. In 2004/2005 my family went on round the world trip. Our first destination was the US. To be honest I was expecting loud in your face Americans but that wasn’t what I found. Out of all the countries we went to the Americans were the most welcoming, friendly and eager to learn about my country. Being post 911 I was somewhat worried about the airport personnel but they were by far the friendliest.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 07:00 PM
hopefully my trip to the us in april next year should be an interesting one,
as mentioned by sonya the american politicians do most of your "PR", at least for us in scandinavia.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 07:14 PM
I have been all over the world. the greatest gift I was ever given was the knowledge That people are people the world over. With all our difference we essentially still want the same things.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 07:27 PM
well i don't know about it. Seems to me that if they are only basing it on tv shows and the movies then they would also think we are a country full of rogue cops that go against the grain to save the day, and that any time someone is in trouble there is always someone there to save them. i agree with Sonya that it would make more sense that they get scared because of the actions of our leaders.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 07:28 PM
There is a psychological phenomenon known as "outgroup homogenity." Put briefly, humans have a tendency to think their is more diveristy and difference within "their" group than in "other" groups, which are perceived as being "all the same." This is true for any type of group: school, community, fans of different sports teams, different religions, different career fields, different nations, etc.

Thus, for example, Americans would tend to feel that there are lots of individual differences within their country, but to define Germans, Brits, Brazilians, Zambians, etc. more as a group ("The Japanese are all alike," etc.). This naturally leads to stereotyping. Needless to say, other peoples of the world have the same tendency, and would thus look at America as a monolithic culture defined by cartoonish images culled from mass media, etc.

The only remedy for this is travel and exposure to others.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 08:33 PM
Growing up in middle class Southern California in my neighborhood was like this:

My neighbors were from the South (Arkansas), next to them was a family from Mexico who had mariachi band practice every Sunday in their backyard, next to them was a couple and the wife was from France. Across the street from them was a family of 2nd generation Japanese Americans whose son had been killed in Vietnam. Down the street was a Puerto Rican family... etc etc... it goes on like this. All kinds of religions- Catholic, Mormon, Jewish - all on the same street, all neighbors. These are the kids I played with, these were the houses I was in and out of as a kid. That was normal and THAT neighborhood was the best of America.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:30 PM
Imagine what a world this would be if, like dunwichwitch and silent thunder hinted towards, we dropped our 'us and them' mentality. Rather than looking at what makes us different, imagine if we focused on what we had in common.

I know it's presumptuous and probably naïve of me to think this will ever happen. But one can hope right?

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:39 PM
Being from America AND from Texas, I get double the steryotypes lobbed at me...

I think many of the TX ones are truer than the USA ones though.

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