By LearnGeographyUSA - 12/12/2012 06:45 - United States - Kirkland
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Laugh at their ignorance. Or agree with their Nazi joke and let them know they could be next.
I would agree with mclauren29. I'm French and spent a year in the US to do my Master. The number of incredibly stupid questions I heard was disheartening. I was asked if England is an island, if Napoleon Bonaparte was our president, countless times who was our King (looks like they forgot how our Revolutions were linked to each other), if all French girls were topless on the beach, etc. All this from college students. When I said I was French, there would always be someone to ask me if I knew that French person they met once (because France is such a tiny village you know ;-)) The prejudices against Germany is because on their channel History, when they talk about Germany, they only talk about WWI and II, so lots of people think that Germany is still in this post-war position. Anyway, you should do what I did. At one point, I just wrote down all the stupid things that I heard and sent that to my friends and family back in Europe to have a good laugh. Don’t worry though, there are many Americans who are very cultured and friendly towards foreigners.
No...no, people really are that stupid. Not all of course, but coming from England and now living in Texas, i totally relate to this. "Do you know the Queen?" I've been asked, in true awe and expectation. "Yes, i reply, Liz and i would share high tea every Thursday"...
Like I've said before, so many people are obsessed with America it's frightening. Whether they love the country or hate on it, they can't seem to get enough. It's extremely strange. Every country has its share of stupid/obese/lazy people but it only seems that Americans can be classified in these categories.
It's sad, but true. As a Brit that actually grew up in the U.S., I can relate to the ignorant experiences. I don't have an accent anymore. My mom told me it was because I came home crying from being made fun of for being "different", and eventually I lost it. As time went on and I told people I was British, they would make ignorant statements like "I didn't know there were black people in England," and some didn't even believe I was British because. "I didn't have an accent." People would also crack jokes like "Do you have tea time every day?" or "Do you like crumpets?" No bitch, I don't eat crumpets, and I don't even LIKE tea. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the U.S. I've made some lifetime friends there. But I guarantee if you asked the average American about, say, Africa, they would still believe it consists of a bunch of people living in mud huts dancing around a fire, chanting "Kumbaya", and that people speak African.
10 - I once had to phone an American call center for work when I was sent the wrong product. I told the lady I was in Alberta, Canada, and she asked me what State that was in. It took me a good 20 minutes to make her understand that Canada was a whole different country, and then she told me they don't deal with overseas situations. I damn near gave up at that point... But yes, in all fairness, I've known quite a few stupid Canadians in my lifetime, too. Damn idiots are everywhere...
26 that's true but I've been living in The States for 16 years of my life and this country is fucking stupid. people can't even follow instructions if you're right there walking them thru the process. I love the country and all but ffs these people need to open a book for once look at the map. and maybe think about how it felt when someone called them names. its ok OP just nod and agree with them. they don't make fun of people who can take a "joke"
I live in North East USA, and can tell you that in sixth grade was when we first received information regarding other countries, and our first foreign nation of focus was Canada. We all created poster boards of certain territories/provinces and shared them, but I haven't learned about Canada since 6th grade and that was four years ago.
If it helps, I have always lived in the US, born and raised... but from Alaska. I even get atrocious stereotypes. "Did you ice fish? Did you live in an igloo? Did you have a pet penguin?" Penguins live in the South Pole damnit! Antarctica! Not Alaska! Point is, even born in a more natural part of the country, the ignorant always ask the most idiotic questions and jump to moronic conclusions, but don't let a few bad apples spoil the bunch. There are a few of us in the country who aren't like that and believe it or not passed geography.
Just ignore the ignorance and laugh OP. Don't let uneducated people ruin your day, it's honestly not worth your time. Hell, I was born in New Mexico and I still have people, American citizens, asking me if New Mexico is a state. After while all I could do was laugh.
I was born in, raised in, and have never left The States. I cannot wait for the day I have the funds to leave. They say you should be proud of where you come from, but I'm kind of ashamed. The fact that many Americans are so close-minded about so much, ESPECIALLY other cultures, is so sad. I grew up in a tiny, conservative town in the middle of Washington. I was alway proud of my school system, because we had some of the top academic test scores in the area. Then three things ruined it for me. 1.) Not one, not two, but THREE people at my high school actually asked when the Fourth of July was. 2.) There are A LOT of Hispanics in that area. I could not believe how many times I heard people talking about "how they should all go back to México." and how they are all "stupid immigrants." Okay....to the people saying such ignorantly hateful things, first off, we're all immigrants! And the only stupid people here are YOU! And 3.) I recently took a college class where we learned much about other cultures, such as their value systems, their world views, religion, academics, etc. After taking that class.....I couldn't believe how blind I was to so many other cultures. Do I agree with all of them? No, of course not. But the point is that I understand them, and I respect them. I wish I could go out and experience them all! Sorry for being another ranter!
153, don't say "the country is fucking stupid" and stereotype an entire country. Sure we may have our share of stupid/ignorant people, but it's not everyone. So please think about how you word your phrases. also if you're going to type every word out, you might as well spell the word "through" correctly.
I was born in New Mexico and I still have battles fighting with some people asking to see my green card. Some people insisting Mexico is the State and New Mexico is the country. The same people insuring the Atlantic ocean is in the middle of the United States and we need to spend some time learning more about that "scary dude Hilter" in class. I went to high school with most of these people. Common sense and basic education really is a rare form.
@59 It's understandable that Canadians might not know the details of American geography, but you can be assured that they all know where the US is and that it shares a border with Canada and is not another province. Sadly, the same cannot be said for all Americans.
I'm currently a high school student who has lived in Canada my entire 17 years of breathing, and I have many examples of stupid and ignorant people that live in other countries; from my own and others. Ignorance is in every country, and people who are bashing the US should really take the time to stop and analyze their own country first. For example, my grade 11 Social class was fully convinced that India was a continent on its own and that Russia was around the size of Australia. Go around any country and ask people what Socialism is and they will tell you it is about socializing. When I was in Malaysia, when I said I was from Canada the popular statement was "Ah, lots of snow all year." Popular questions (and my personal favorite) were "Do you have summer?" Ignorant people exist literally every where. The USA is just a common target because you can see dozens of videos on the Internet and on television of the small pockets of idiots from there. Plus ignorant people seem to be more vocal in the US than any other country. To summarize my rant, ignorant people plague every country. We all battle through them at some point or another, and it isn't isolated to one area of the world
186- I don't mean to be negative, but moving abroad isn't a cure-all for your problems with America. Some of the same problems might get worse, or you'll just inherit new ones. And if your destination is Europe (let's face it, it always is), you're going to need a lot more than money to be able to live there. It's SHOCKING, I know, but believe it or not, countries aren't going to automatically roll out the welcome mat just because you're an American and want to live there. Don't get me wrong--America does have its fair share of problems. But fleeing the country is not the way to deal with it.
I'm Irish and the amount of jokes I get about "Being a drunk" or "Being born with a bottle of beer" in my mouth its crazy... I wish Americans would learn. I don't even like drinking. It pisses me off. Look: -I didn't go to school on a horse every day. -Ireland is independent from England -There's no such things as leprauchauns -I'm not Catholic
266 - Actually no. I don't want to move to Europe. Maybe vacation awhile of course, but that's bot where I want to go, so thank you for those kind assumptions. I also do not expect a welcome wagon. I expect quite the opposite BECAUSE of the fact that I'm American. Furthermore, I don't want to leave just because I want to "solve" my problems or however you worded it. I've been in the states my entire life, and I've had my fill. So please, find someone else to "not mean to be negative" towards. You assuming all these things about me kind of just proves that you would rather view me as a "typical" American.
andiewithlove-I didn't mean to offend you. Your comment just seemed to have a "the grass is definitely greener" mentality that I've seen before. But then, maybe you are well-informed as to the possible pitfalls in your decision. I just hope that you've given substantial thought to your reasons for leaving the country. If it were me, I would want my travel plans to have positive motivations, not negative ones (traveling because I want to enrich myself and explore, not run away and never look back). Even the loveliest trip can be marred by the wrong mindset. It can be a big decision to regret later on (and costly), believe me. If you have, then enjoy your travels--I mean it, seriously enjoy them and have fun. Few ever experience that, which is a shame. Also, I didn't assume you to be a typical American so much as an inexperienced traveler. To me, the fact that only 1 in 10 Americans (maybe more, but not much) hold a valid passport is enough of an indication that your enthusiasm to go abroad is not even remotely typical.
Why do people use stupid questions as evidence that a person isn't smart, let alone that an entire country's populace is generally more ignorant...I ask stupid questions all the time, out of impulsiveness and laziness, but if I should be considered "stupid" either I've been completely unaware of my being surrounded mostly by special ed people my whole life whom I'm the cream of the crop of or the human race is an utterly lost cause. I wouldn't be surprised if people who use questions as evidence are those self-inflating people who hear an example of ironic humor taken out of context and automatically assume because of how assured they are of their own intelligence that the other person was simply ignorant. Some people could simply using anecdotes of humor, of course, but those people exist as well. The average person is depressingly ignorant, from any nation, and nearly every single person I know is convinced that they are somehow on the pedestal of knowledge above the masses of the misinformed. Obviously, this can't be and isn't always true, and I would lay money down that every single person who reads this will think they're an exception, and agree with me, to no small irony. The US has a very US centered culture for very obvious reasons, some of which you could almost claim are legitimate. This does not mean that I'm saying our general populace isn't more ignorant; they very likely are, but not in the stupendous degrees that the people who ask the unutterably inane questions are, simply that the average "American" is generally a lot less sympathetic to foreign countries, and most definitely less aware of foreign cultures. If there's any characteristic that would be an accurate typification of Americans, it wouldn't be idiocy, it would be being self-centered, and on a cultural, not personal level.
I'm American and I live in the upper class area of Rochester, Michigan. The people here are educated and hard working. Not all Americans are stupid, every place in the world has it's ignorant people. But you really should consider your rude remarks before you type them.
Hey FUCK U France I'm sick of all these generalizations!!!! All we do us save the fucking world and this is the response we get. Yes some Americans are dumb but, so are some Frenchmen, Englishmen and Danes. If you think about bashing us again just think what the world would be like without us aka you would all be Nazis. I mean France how long did it take for your government to surrender like a week right? England would you have been able to hold out without us NO! So back off for one second
All the adults I know are smarter than that. I've lived in Massachusetts my whole life and everyone I know realizes those stereotypes are for the most part just idiotic. They can point out other states on a map and know where Canada and Mexico are and that they are not part of the US. They know the general location of other countries even if they do not know where exactly they are. On the other hand, while visiting North Carolina a cashier asked where we were from and when he told him Massachusetts he had no idea where that was. I, however, am not going to judge the whole state by this cashier. It's funny reading comments about how ignorant Americans are followed by other stereotypes proving the commenter's own ignorance. There are stupid people everywhere but there isn't an abundance in America; some are just the most outspoken.
@78: That's a figure of speech that is often used no matter what direction you're flying...it is not literal -.-' All Canadians (unless they've somehow lived alone in a cave all their lives) can point out the US on a map, because American culture is constantly projected at us on a daily basis, to the point it is inescapable. With enormous media exposure (we get all of your media in addition to our own, for instance all of your remotely notable TV stations, web interaction), business/professional exchange, cultural exchange from daily life (so many people travel back and forth), schooling (we are taught some American history--although it gets picked up elsewhere, anyway), etc, there's just no way to not know. Which is probably part of the reason why many Canadians are so baffled when so many Americans know nothing about their neighbouring country (and ally), when we are constantly exposed to yours (and it doesn't go both ways).
has anyone taken the time to consider that maybe they just have a cruel sense of humor? it doesn't make what they did any more excusable, but i find it hard to believe that someone would really call you a Nazi without just messing around (especially when you learn about the holocaust in America in 7th/8th grade.)
Op should memorize that famous scene from Der untergang and start talking and yelling like that every time people confuses him with a German. Then tell them you picked up some words from the soldiers guarding Hitler which is hiding in a occupied part of Denmark. Some might believe your story..
Well if ya really want to get technical English was originally a Germanic language that has been affected by Scandinavian and Norman influences during different invasions of Britain resulting in our current hodge podge language... Anyway American English varies from Proper English just as Latin American Spanish is different from Castilian or actual Spanish.... Long story short everybody has accents by region and area including the Brits ... In fact and I have to ask one of the Brits here to expand on this but my understanding is within the UK some different accents exist and are so diversified it can be difficult to communicate across those regions... Similar to the US in extreme areas of the south or in isolated communities like some New England islands
I doubt the majority of Americans know that Denmark exists, let alone be able to find it on a map...nice username btw
In order to pass 7th grade, this is 25 years ago, we had to pass a test where we were given a blank map of the US. We had to mark every state and their capital. Then we were given a blank map of the world and had to mark each country, this included every freaking country of Europe and Asia, many of which are no longer called the same. We had to pass with an 85%. Any less than that and we did not pass the class, it did not matter if you had straight A's for the year. Nowadays I don't know what the hell they are teaching but it is definitely not the same.
Well boots, let me tell you. We learn all of the states in about 7th grade. Freshman year we had World History; so, we learned a good majority of South America, Europe, and Africa. Almost nothing about Asia. Trust me, it's not like we aren't learning. Some people just refuse to remember.
Yes, there is an average amount of stupid people here in the USA. I think the biggest reasons we're stereotyped as idiots is because the majority of newer famous people (Snooki, Britney Spears, Miley Sirus, etc) fall into those stereotypes, and that's what the rest of the world gets to see.
100 - We had to do the same my fifth grade AND seventh grade year. Of the two, only in the seventh grade one was it mandatory to get higher than 80% to pass. That was only 8 and 6 years ago. And I agree with 110. People just don't seem to remember what they've learned. I myself am no exception. I remember all the states and their capitals. And I remember MOST other countries and where there are on a map, but my memory has lost many of their capitals.
Meh I think we may have an above average amount of ignorance and stupidity here ... After all we have a large chunk if our population who feels entitled to having the govt and other working people pay their way and feel angry or upset at successful individuals for having more than they do. In addition whenever I was overseas in Europe, the med, and the Middle East I found that even looking around you could plainly see a healthier population that was more engaged with their lives in general than here stateside... We have a high rate of illiteracy and an even higher rate of obesity. Not saying overweight people are by any means stupid but I am saying that our society's lack of concern and effort in general can be seen by the poor health and fitness of our culture. In Italy I saw perhaps a half a dozen people who were overweight and I cannot recall seeing any beggars or homeless, any addicts shuffling along the streets.... I know that all countries have these problems but here the increased sense of entitlement has just led to a nearly out of control situation so many have it so comparatively easy that they make no effort to learn, grow, or better themselves physically or mentally... That said I repeat NOT EVERYONE and NO I DO NOT HAVE AN ISSUE WITH OBESE PEOPLE they are just a highly visible symptom of the affliction this country suffers with
110 & 192 it's good to know that some schools still do this. I'm not saying it's the younger generation only, I have run into people my age or older who don't know where Oregon is, but I just seem to notice it more with the younger crowd. Like I said it is good to know that some school still do this and I think every school should because I just don't understand how you can not know where Canada is!
Having a Norwegian ancestry and knowing where Denmark is and the clear difference in accents guess I'm a minority... I get the same issues though when I go on vacation living in Alaska the ever classic, "What's it like to live in an igloo and get around by dogsled?"
You can chalk a lot of it up to our education process, which needs a SERIOUS overhaul. Standardized tests MAY work elsewhere...but with the proper system in place. As it currently stands, teachers are under pressure to have a certain ratio of students able to pass just to keep their jobs. This results in them teaching "the test", not the subject matter proper. The curriculum has a serious lack of "critical thinking" and "how it's done". Metaphorically, the education system here is giving the children fish, instead of teaching them how to go catch them on their own. Those of us that are intelligent and lived here most of our lives have learned to keep our mouths shut. When you speak truth or with any form of intellect, the very vocal ignorant portion of the population speaks loudly and proudly enough that it is simply not worth the headache. This results in the loud'n'proud ignorant sect being more visible and prevalent to outsiders. You want to speak to an intelligent American? Strike up a conversation with the one minding their own business.
Panel is to large to touch the "edit" button. I also intended to point out that a large portion of information people learn throughout their lives is lost over their lifetime. "use it or lose it" rings very true. They may have learned geography, political science, and so forth...but if it is not reagent to their day-to-day life, it is unnecessary and is lost. Learn a foreign language in high school and college... But if you don't have an opportunity to utilize it in your day-to-day life speaking to a native speaker, you'll lose it. The same goes for many other subjects. The accomplishments and advancements the USA have made speak for themselves. I don't think anyone needs to bother with defending themselves from "stupid Americans" comments. Ignorant people are here and there...definitely. But the entirety of the population does not fit into the shoe.
I'm from Oklahoma and I was talking to several people from Europe online, 3 or 4 of them were really interested in how hard it is to live in teepees. I've never even seen a real teepee, I live in a house, in the second largest city in Oklahoma, with about 400 thousand other people. I wasn't offended, I don't get offended by ignorance, ignorance is just a lack of knowledge about the subject. I get offended by stupidity. Stupid people are the ones that want to be loud mouth jackasses.
They're just jealous of your accent. Don't let the idiots ruin your stay here in the states. We're not all bad.
Come to Solvang....it's beautiful here!!! Danish capital of USA, we recently had some member of the royal family come visit. You'd probably be a celebrity here!
Ugh! I'm sorry OP! Not everyone is like that here in the states! Just ignore the racist fools, they are just showing others how ignorant, disrespectful, and immature they really are.
There will always be racism, prejudice, and ignorance everywhere you go. When people don't understand something or have a limited knowledge on something; people will generally resort to stereotypes in order to interact with you. I'm African American and I've been dealing with stereotypes my entire life people really think I came from Africa and should be able to understand people from there. It sucks but its the world we live in.