5 Common Stereotypes faced by US Expats
We recently provided Lost in the Pond with a guest post entitled 5 of the Most Common Stereotypes faced by British Expats and it proved pretty popular with our readers. In fact so many people enjoyed reading about how the British aren’t really all matey with the Queen (and don’t actually have intensely bad oral health) that we’ve decided to write a series looking at the stereotypes expats from other nations have to face.
Today we’ll be looking at the most common stereotypes applied to expatriated citizens of the US of A.
1) American’s believe God created the world and that dinosaurs are mythical, fairy tale beings
Although Christianity is on the wane in areas of Europe, it’s still actively practised in many parts of the US. A certain branch of Christians (creationists) do hold with the belief that God created the world and everything in it, with some dismissing Charles Darwin as a bit of a loon and others arguing that humans and dinosaurs were frolicking on the earth at the same time. Some even deny the existence of fossils. Entirely. But that doesn’t mean that all Americans are bible-bashing fundamentalists, hating scientists and curing souls of demonic possession with holy water. For many Americans the most important aspect of their faith is the sense of community it affords and the way it brings families together. And plenty of Americans (an estimated 1/5) aren’t religious at all.
2) American’s will only eat something if its super-sized or deep fried, or both
Okay, some parts of the US are having a real problem with obesity, as memorably illustrated in the slightly repulsive film Super Size Me. And the ‘Chubby Chaser’ craze (where skinny men go after larger ladies) did originate there. As did the ‘squashing’ phenomenon (I’ll leave that one to your imagination). And it may also have come second in a recent index of the fattest countries in the world (it was beaten by Kuwait) but excessive weight is a problem by no means limited to the States. Obesity is now a global issue thanks to a worsening junk food culture, and the UK for one is definitely beginning to give the US a waddle for its money (deep fried Mars Bar anyone?) It’s also important to remember that the US is a vast nation and that the levels of obesity very significantly from state to state.
3) Everyone in the Southern US carries a gun, and probably owns a Stetson
Although TV shows like Dallas and Walker Texas Ranger might imply different, not everyone in South America is a gun-toting, horse riding, hat wearing yeehaw. Nor are they all trigger happy rednecks. Remember, the Bill of Rights might entitle Americans to bear arms, but less than half of all US households choose to. Furthermore, times are changing and gun usage/ownership are far more contentious issues than they used to be.
4) Americans are big, brash and have no manners
If you think all Americans are loud, rude and uncouth you’ve probably watched too many episodes of Family Guy (and failed to understand its satirical humour). America is a big place with big dreams so it’s little wonder that it produces big personalities, but not everyone from the US is confident, brassy or ‘loud mouthed’. Sure, some Americans can be a little in-your-face, but so can some Ozzys, Brits, Europeans and Kiwis! It’s also a common assumption that when Americans are in a foreign land they store their valuables (and their snacks) in eye catching ‘fanny packs’ (bum bags to Brits). This might be a popular image, but it isn’t an accurate one!
5) All Americans are patriotic – to the extreme
Although the vast majority of Americans are pretty patriotic, with school children pledging allegiance every morning, and some families even flying the star spangled banner from flag poles in their gardens, most aren’t as fanatical in their love of their country as they’re portrayed in the media. And while outside nations might ridicule America’s patriotism, they’re secretly just peeved that they don’t live in the place where video games, bubble gum and toilet paper were invented. Odds are they’re also frustrated by the knowledge that they don’t know the words to their own national anthem.