whats-wrong-with-america

My friends have started blaming America again – the honeymoon is over…

Posted on August 27, 2010 by yankeebean

yankeebean

It’s happened twice in the last week, and I wonder if it’s only the beginning.

Two of my friends posted properly mean stuff about Americans – two separate but equal mini rants (via Facebook status updates).  The first rant ended with ‘Bloody Americans…’ and the second ended with ‘Stupid Americans…’

Now, I don’t have a stick up my arse or anything, I can take a joke.  But these two rants really weren’t very nice and I was a little bit offended.  In both instances I rallied for the cause and defended my nation!  Using myself as a (hopefully) good example of a real, 3D American that isn’t stupid.

Both of my friends’ reactions were the same, too.  They both said, ‘Oh, I forgot that you’re American!’  Then they both said something like, ‘I’ll make an exception in your case’.

That really got my hackles up…  my complaint is two-fold.

  1. They FORGOT that I’m American??  Is seven years all it takes for people to forget your nationality and start verbally crapping all over your country right in front of you?
  2. They’ll make an exception???  Oh… *bow*… *scrape*… how GENEROUS of you to make an exception and allow me out of the American slum and onto the golden streets of the UK

What a coupla noobs.  I hope everyone I know hasn’t been keeping a tight lip about their real feelings about Americans for the past seven years.  If so, things are going to do downhill fast.

And what will I do about it?  Cup of tea, of course…

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What Others Are Saying

  1. southernbird November 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I’m so glad you posted this because I’ve been struggling with the anti-American sentiment that my English boyfriend (and other Englishmen) tend to put out there. As others noted, even if the comment isn’t directed to me personally, I often feel on the defensive and resentful. I find it particularly interesting that the English seem very proud of how “less rude” they are than Americans, but somehow it appears that to some Englishmen hostile criticism of the States is not rude behavior. The above responses concerning “racisim” and “country-ism” made me think of the scene in “Do The Right Thing” in which Mookie and the overtly racist Pino are discussing Pino’s favorite athletes and musicians. His favorites happen to be black and when he realizes how Mookie is trapping him, he quickly names a white artist. The point being that Pino was willing to make an “exception” for some black people while categorically devaluing the black race. The problem with that is you can’t “except” a person’s nationality any more than you can except their gender, their age, or their height even! If you’re willing to be open-minded enough to except one person, why not be open-minded to look past the stereotypes, the media hype and think about what you’re trying to accomplish with hostile blanket statements about the States, Americans or any country for that matter.
    Americans are not perfect, but no nation is.

  2. tami curtis November 20, 2010 at 10:16 am

    i wish i could put in print some of the names i have been called since living here for hte past 11 years! just dream up your most vulgar name and add ‘bloody’ to the beginning and ‘american’ to the end! i guess i was naive, but i really did not know people here felt this way – i know it isnt all of them, but it is a majority from what i have witnessed.

    • peacefulyorkshire November 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm

      Tami–Oh my gosh!! This is horrid what you write above!!
      Just saw your photography site which is just stunning. Well done on establishing yourself here…!! You have overcome a lot of negativity to become really successful in this field it seems. :)

  3. Steve Shawcross September 11, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that P.

    I think a certain former President and his international policies have a lot to answer for… sadly as American, you unfortunately and unfairly become the embodiment of that, whether you were a fan of Dubya/his policies or not.

    A little frustration also stems from Blair, and his compliance in such things.

  4. P. September 4, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Hey Yankeebean,

    I feel your pain. I have been in the UK over 5 years now; and although I genuinely love my life and friends here, there have been quite a few incidents similar to yours by way of anti-American sentiment that have begun to take their toll–particularly because the offenses/insults have generally come from ‘friends’. It has even gotten to the point where I have lost sleep over it.

    I am glad, however, that I now have a better understanding of what it is like to be a foreigner in another country–or even just an outsider in any sense of the word. It has given me a greater love for and understanding of my own country and its culture (good and bad), as well as a greater desire to be more understanding of others. Nevertheless, being an American in the UK has become exhausting and I do feel that I have to constantly be on my guard. Thanks for writing a post that expresses how I feel as well.

  5. alisha September 2, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Boo to all the negativity! That’s one thing I don’t miss about England — feeling defensive about being American all the time. :) Back in America I don’t have to deal with any of it!

  6. Steve Shawcross September 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Sadly there are people like that about in the UK (and indeed anywhere else), but thankfully not everyone.

    I suppose the “I’ll make an exception for you” line, was to indicate you are not to take it personally (big of them!). Not that’s any excuse for xenophobia of course.

  7. TheMysteriousHat September 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    “I continue to be amazed at the use of the word “racism” (here in the comments) in the context of British-American relations. Country-ist, yes. But racist? Methinks not.”

    The usage is normal in British English, not least because it’s part of the legal definition of racism. This is from the Crown Prosecution Service’s webpage on racist and religious crime (www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/rrpbcrbook.html) – “Racial group – this means any group of people who are defined by reference to their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origin.”

    From the original post “They FORGOT that I’m American?? Is seven years all it takes for people to forget your nationality and start verbally crapping all over your country right in front of you?”
    To be honest I’d be astonished if it took people as long as seven years to ‘forget’ your nationality. That’s to say not to cease to know you’re American, but certainly to have you mentally filed under ‘friend’ or ‘local’.

  8. Catriona September 1, 2010 at 12:12 am

    They are just rude, we’re not all like that.Honest ;)
    Ranting and venting is, at times, essential for those of us who’ve transplanted ourselves in another country/culture, but there is a way you have to go about it, a place within you have to be coming from to get your point across, and slamming an entire country over interactions with a couple of people, ain’t the way to do it.
    Even in this day and age there are still so many people with so little global experience that meeting an American counts to them as running in international circles.
    Given some of the insane things they say to me, I suspect I am related to some of them ;(

  9. NFAH August 31, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I continue to be amazed at the use of the word “racism” (here in the comments) in the context of British-American relations. Country-ist, yes. But racist? Methinks not.

    • yankeebean August 31, 2010 at 10:35 pm

      Is Country-ist a word? If not, it should be… :)

  10. Ten Pounds August 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Well said, people above. It’s ignorance and racism. I’m British and love America and Americans (erm, one in particular) – but I had to go to America to be able to say that. Lots of people are very ready just to slag off that with which they’re not familiar. Within the UK there are loads of stereotypes of what people are like in different areas, and a lot of people are way too ready to engage with them. I always try to challenge the mad all-Americans-are or all-southerners-are or all-Irish-are statements, but I don’t generally get many thanks for my efforts!

  11. Iota August 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I was in a similar situation once, as an English woman in Scotland. I was talking about the whole English/Scottish thing with a Scottish friend, and she said “I used to think all English people were snooty and difficult, but I have to say, you’ve really changed my opinion.” It was meant as a compliment, but it’s a very double-sided one, as you say. Nice to think I had single-handedly redeemed an entire nation… but we should really get over this thing of racial stereotypes.

  12. Tilly Bud August 28, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Not everyone feels the same way, I promise; though the BBC has a lot to answer for. Your ‘friends’ are racists; it’s that simple: to denigrate a whole race of people is racism. I’m not denying there are awful Americans, but there are awful people of every nation (your ‘friend’s’ blogs refer).

    The exception they gave you reminds me of when Sidney Poitier was made an ‘honorary white’ by South Africa.

    I apologise for my fellowcountrymen’s ignorance and I hope they read your blog and feel ashamed.

  13. Annie August 28, 2010 at 1:26 am

    I am about to marry my British fiance in December. I’ve been to England three times and he’s been to America since knowing me three times. We were going to settle here and started the visa process but because he’s established himself as a jazz pianist in the UK (Essex and London), we decided that I was the more mobile one. But that’s beside the point. I’ve met his family and friends and have met with nothing but polite, warm, loving people. However, and I don’t mean to point fingers here, I have felt that my American nationality is only patronizingly tolerated at times and seen as something that can’t be helped “poor thing.” Interestingly, my family is pretty rabid about the evil socialist Soviet republic of the UK, to hear them tell it, and moving there is tantamount to pronouncing a death sentence upon me. I find it disheartening that instead of being proud of each of our countries, we have to be polarized by those who see nothing but ill motives in the other. We have to point fingers at someone else to make ourselves feel better. When I move there, I hope that my response will be, if confronted by such ill-thought out feelings expressed in my presence, “Gee, I’m sorry you feel that way. You must have extensively traveled in America and realized that we all don’t think and act the same way. It’s such a huge country and there are as many opinions as there are people. I wish you would have asked my opinion before making such a statement.” Or something to that effect. I just only hope I can practice what I preach when I get there. I hope I can say to whoever asks, “I can make fun of my own country, but don’t even try to do it for me!” Thanks for writing about this. :-)

  14. thechubbygrl August 28, 2010 at 1:01 am

    A cup a tea is always the answer. Those ding-dang Brits ;)

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