From eating fast food to red, white, and blue everything, the “Land of the Free” has a lot of stereotypes tied to it, but it doesn’t necessarily define the whole country. Foreigners and Americans alike took to the internet to share things Americans assume about other countries that aren’t true.
Note: Some quotes in this piece have been lightly edited for grammar.
1: Better Than the Rest
What’s the worst misconception Americans have about other countries, according to one foreigner? “That literally everywhere else in the entire world is inferior in every way, shape, and form.” In their eyes, Americans can have quite a superiority complex.
2: Missing the Marx
An American self-diagnoses that one of the biggest misconceptions Americans have about other countries is the misguided conclusion that communism and dictatorships are the same thing. “I’m no communist fan, but after reading Marx on my own will, I was blown away at how misinformed and irrational much of our country is around this topic.”
3: Right Back Atcha
One American says we criticize Europe for underestimating our diversity, but then we turn around and do the same thing to Europe, too. “I guess it’s human nature to generalize certain things.”
4: Melting Pot
Another commenter seconded that we underestimate how diverse other countries are. “China is roughly as diverse as Europe. India has more ethnic and cultural diversity than North and South America combined. We really aren’t the only country with ethnic/cultural diversity.”
5: You Just Don’t Get It
One person says Americans make themselves the victims most of the time. “No, other countries do not ‘hate us for our freedom.'” They also added that Americans often misunderstand the quality of life and freedom levels across the globe.
“This idea that the Middle East is a homogenous blob of ‘Muslim Arabs’, with a single dot labeled ‘Israel’ on it,” one commenter said. “The Fertile Crescent has many Christian minorities, from groups who were Christian probably before most Europeans were.”
7: Crime Fighting
One commenter said one of the weirder misconceptions Americans have about other countries is that European cities, especially in the United Kingdom, are crime-filled. “I see this mostly in more conservative circles, but I’ve also seen it with my family. It’s funny because ten years ago, the perception was the complete opposite.”
8: Not What You Think
One person says Americans greatly misunderstand the amount of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity there is in Mexico. “I feel some Americans associate a Mexican as mixed or darker complexion individuals from a poor background. A significant number of the immigrants here are, but the variety becomes much more evident in many parts of Mexico.”
9: Defining Freedom
America may be the land of the free, but other countries have their own definition of freedom. Something many Americans don’t understand, according to one commenter. “Most countries believe that they have true freedom, but I know some folks that think, ‘Well, at least I’m American, I have my freedom, unlike other countries.'”
10: Hollywood Lies
“China and India are ethnically diverse countries, but the popular perception among some Americans is that there’s just one amorphous Indian or Chinese culture,” another commenter says. “Also, Australia is not an all-white country, nor is it all blisteringly hot Outback desert as depicted by Hollywood.”
One person says many Americans underestimate the amount of cultural influence it has across the globe. “When I went abroad, I was shocked to see North American fast food chains, movies, and music all over the place.”
A foreigner isn’t a fan of how some Americans boil down Eastern European culture to be “all about gopniks and former commies and tough vodka-drinking alcoholics, which isn’t the case. There is a huge amount of cultural pride and cultural legacy that exists in Eastern Europe.”
13: Falling Behind
An American said that when they first mentioned they planned to move to Europe, their fellow citizens questioned why. People raised their eyebrows when they said it was for the quality of life. “Americans tend to believe that the US is the best country in the world and don’t realize that by many metrics, we’re lagging behind our peers.”
14: In Too Deep
“Seeing the world through self-projection” is a major issue Americans have when discussing other countries, according to one commenter. They also said Americans discuss countries based on ideology and theory instead of reality.
15: Reality Check
A healthcare provider said often, Americans don’t even consider other countries. “Growing up, I had the mentality of other countries being more hypothetical than real, and I was raised in a wealthy liberal college town. So my answer would be that Americans do not think of other countries as ‘real.'”
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