What are some things about Americans and America that foreigners find really annoying?
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Koushik Venkatasubramanian, In the US since 2015.
From my interaction with Americans at the work place and elsewhere, I've found that even highly educated Americans with enough access to knowledge have not bothered to know about other countries and cultures. It's an unreasonable high number. Here are some examples:
- While going to the airport, an Uber driver (also a school teacher): Told me that he loved India and wanted to know what th weather was like. I told him it could range from perma-frost to tropical weather. Then discovered that he didn't know India had access to the open sea. That there was a big ocean named Indian Ocean. Btw, this guy expected me to know where Lake Tahoe was, and I did.
- AT&T Rep while inquiring about international roaming rates. Me: I am going to Dubai. Rep: I love Dubai it's my dream to holiday there. Me: mmm... (After a while) Rep: Sir, the rates to INDIA are blah blah blah in the plan. Me: But I am going to Dubai. Rep: Oh (realizing quickly that Dubai was not in India).
- Someone at the work place (I work for a reputable consulting firm): So like India has a King? Me: No, we're a democracy. Guy: Hmm.. So like you elect the King? Me: What?? Guy: Oh.. Sorry... But are elections free and fair? Me: rolling my eyes.
I've also found that a lot of Americans are simpletons in thought. They may appear sophisticated, but the average American joe Is not very good at nuanced discussions. I don't say it's a wrong thing, but a lot of them keep having black and white opinions on stuff and they consider these as "values". I've found discussions with common Europeans, Russians and Middle Easteners far more nuanced and have the willingness to go into the gray. The common American doesn't.
Another interesting discussion:
I was waiting outside the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). I was there for a good two hours waiting with / for somebody. An older guy was sitting and had some paper and was trying to get people to sign it. I had time and wanted to find out what he was doing. Apparently he was collecting signatures for a petition. I told him I wasn't a citizen but we still were talking. We gravitated towards discussing American politics and Donald Trump. He waved off Trump. Curious, I asked him if he was a democrat. Our discussion then gravitated to Bernie Sanders and his policies on healthcare. He said, "But he is a socialist". Since I had time and wanted to understand how the guy thought, I asked him -
I've had a few more discussions like this. It appeared to me that the common American had very little understanding of government and governance in comparison to their European counterparts. This in itself isn't annoying, but the generalization bit and thinking of themselves as superior in their understanding does annoy me a little bit.
Marco Javier, Studied in SF for a semester, visited 12 states + counting
During the first few days of my study abroad semester in San Francisco back in fall 2014, I was bombarded with well-intentioned but offensive questions that made me realize Americans in general don't really know much about other countries and that their standard notion of how other countries were like was something akin to backwater swamps.
I've been asked if there was YouTube in my country (yup), if we had Starbucks (I have two in my village alone), if we have buildings (this one actually made me laugh out loud), etc.
But the thing that annoyed me the most was when people asked me why I had such good English, a "compliment" that I received dozens of times. I hate the underlying assumption they hold that only Americans or Westerners can have good English, or that a top-notch English education in an Asian country is unthinkable.
What makes it worse is that I come from a former American colony, one that was under its control for around 50 years.