Picture by Toodlepip

Oh no… here come more broad sweeping generalisation from people who I thought were my friends…

Posted on May 3, 2011 by yankeebean

Every time America is in the news, I find myself unfriending someone else from  Facebook.  I’m starting to see a pattern here…

As we all now know, Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan – it’s big big big news.  Some people are celebrating, some are anxious about the possible retaliation that we have to prepare for and pretty much everyone I know is talking about it on Facebook.

Comments on my Facebook page are all fairly similar.  People are talking about Obama’s speech and several people have mentioned that they think this will cinch his re-election.  Anyway, it’s obvious that Bin Laden won’t be missed…

But there was also this:

Alright – place your bets. Who’s going to be the next bete noire for the USA? There must always be a figurehead to strike fear into the witless populace and make them willingly give up their freedom.

WHY do people think it’s ok to make broad sweeping generalisations about Americans??  If something like this was said about someone’s race, gender or sexuality it would be completely unacceptable.  But not the Americans… we’re open game to anyone with a chip on their shoulder.

The truth is, I expect to hear stupid comments like this sometimes – it’s all part of the joys of being an expat no matter where you live or where you’re from. The thing that throws me is when someone that I like(d) says crap like this…

Sigh…

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Zestos December 17, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Hey. I know I’m months late, but – don’t hate me for this – I’d actually like to stick up for your “friend”. It does seem that America always has a bogey man who is, or course, the devil incarnate. It’s not the American people of course… Not all of them, at least. It’s the politicians. They need a common enemy to distract the masses from the problems at home, and to unite people with massively contrasting political ideals – whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, you know that Bin Laden was a monster. From the comment that you quoted, I would have assumed that your friend was taking a jab at American politics rather than the American people. He’s saying that American politicians see the masses as “witless” drones who can be controlled and manipulated through fear.

    • yankeebean December 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      I kind of see what you mean. But anyone that calls me and my family ‘the witless populace’ can shove it up their witless arse.

  2. Kat October 18, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Frankly, Americans make the exact same posts and comments. I think British people figure it’s OK because Americans say the same thing, but they haven’t quite figured out that it’s kinda like making fun of someone’s mother. Sure, your best friend might go on about how fat their mother is, but you can’t make the same comments. You don’t know her like he does. I’ll insult America all the time, but I know it’s just a joke and isn’t always true….When someone not from America does it, you can tell they really mean it.

    • yankeebean October 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

      You’ve completely hit the nail on the head. I friendly-bash America all the time (and the UK, too, now that I think about it), but I consider both countries as MINE. If someone else does it, though, the alarm bells start a-ringin’.

      Maybe we should start coming up with some ‘Yo economy’ jokes instead of ‘Yo mamma’…

    • yankeebean October 19, 2012 at 10:12 am

      I’ve got one, I’ve got one:

      “Yo economy’s so po it can’t even afford the last two letters.”

      Ok, I confess. I stole it from the interwebs.

  3. Lia June 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    It’s politics. There’s nothing wrong with stating your opinion on your political point of view.  You know what bothers me? The political correctness of this world. It is becoming increasingly difficult to exercise your right to speak your mind, despite the subject matter, all because it will offend *SOMEONE* And this annoys me to no end.

    Besides, depending on how you look at it, that comment made on your facebook account wasn’t exactly wrong if you look at the States from an outsider’s perspective. Here’s a question for you: why do you let someone’s opinion of America’s leadership influence your mood and/or friendships? Let them have their say just as they let you have yours. Friendship is about acceptance isn’t it? Not conformity. But I do understand your impatience with stereotyping. Every country says something about another, especially the world’s leading military, economic, and political powers.  But I personally couldn’t care less what others think/say. Most people, it seems, aren’t even educated enough about a topic to make an informed remark so it’s all hearsay.

    @Steve Shawcross: Actually, what exactly makes up North America is debatable and I could argue that  it wouldn’t include Jamaica or Mexico (or the U.S.A. since North America is considered by some to be a subcontinent of the U.S.). But the point is, culture is made up of more than just political beliefs or geographical landmarks. It’s made up of economic structures, religions, history, trends, social expectations, taboos, fashion, dialect, etc. So lumping people together by geographical location is always a mistake. Anyway, you’re arguing semantics here, mate. And if you want to unify Europe under something, try historical wars (history in general), or religions and Europe’s reverence of the Pope. (You’ll find that all European countries (at one point or another), have or had all of these things in common.)

    • Steve Shawcross July 30, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      You’re sadly right about PC; many have forgotten that offence is taken, not given.

      You’re quite right about varying definitions of North America, very good point. You could definitely argue semantics with that. Do we take NA in the NAFTA sense of the defintion, or the geological plate definition? And so on.

      I’m not sure about arguing semantics with Europe on the issue of culture, but hey-ho. Well certainly Catholicism did hold great sway over Europe historically, but Europe does have a very diverse religious make-up now. Some countries in Europe remain devoutly Catholic (Ireland and Italy), others much less so (UK for instance, more inclined to Anglicanism!)

      Europe does have a reputation for penchant for war; ironically this been nearly been due to autocrats trying to unify it under a superstate/empire, so I have no wish to unify the continent ;-) I think Europe’s greatest quality, is its great diversity

  4. Anonymous June 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Lumping people together unfairly is the same regardless of the presence of a constitution.

  5. Steve_Shawcross June 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Hello BecahFromBama,Sorry to hear about your experiences in Ireland. Yes I find it annoying that Americans are somehow seen as fair game for casual xenophobia.However, a useful tip. If you want to endear yourself to Brits, the Irish etc, then please don’t talk of “Europeans”, as if Europe is one cultural lump. Europe is a continent with at least as many cultures as countries. It’s like lumping Americans to together with the rest of North America, when the USA, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica etc all have different identities and cultures.I hope if you visit Eire again, you encounter the man lovely Irish people there.

    • Anonymous June 7, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      Gotta be honest, Steve-O… I think lumping all Americans together is reasonably similar to lumping all Europeans together.  I have first-hand experience with how different the cultures can be in the States having lived in the mid west, the south and on east coast…

      I know we speak the same language, but sometimes only barely…

  6. BecahFromBama May 29, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Thank you, yankeebean! I am an American that just got back from an 8 day horticultural study tour in Ireland. I had such a lovely time, but I cannot tell you how tired I got of hearing the phrases “You Americans…” and “All Americans are (fill in the blank)”. This being my first time to visit Europe, I was shocked! How rude? I would *never* say that to another person, especially a foreigner visiting my country. Let me stress that not all of the Europeans I met in Ireland treated me this way, but the majority definitely had a prejudice of me, which was really kind of hurtful. Try and get to know me first, then form your opinion, right??

    Anyways, I did meet some really great people (after I basically had to charm them with in an inch of my life! Haha!), and had a spectacular time! Next time I go to Europe, I’ll be a little more prepared to be chastised that much. ;)

  7. yankeebean May 5, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for commiserating, Susan :) I’ve calmed down after the exchange. I blogged this RIGHT after it happened and I was all wound up about it. I’ve blocked his arse now. Ahhhhh, the joys of Facebook…

  8. Susan May 4, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Hi,
    I am also an American expat and I live in Ireland. That was rude of your “friend” to make a remark like that. But I do know that often times, we get criticized for being who we are, and it leaves me scratching my head! Sometimes I think it’s jealousy, other times I think it’s just plain ole’ ignorance. Thankfully not all Brits hate us….I think the only reason I haven’t come across such rude comments is that the Irish and the Americans traditionally have a “friendlier” relationship with each other…we love them and they like us.

    Sorry you had to have that unpleasant experience.

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