Americans Explain Why They Do These Things Differently Than Non-Americans
The United States has a huge presence across the entire world, and people from every country have their own way of looking at the world's richest country. As a result, many Americans haven taken a lot of flak for a lot of things that they feel are just a part of living in America.
These Americans took specific clichs about America and went on Reddit to state their case for them. Feel free to agree or disagree!
[Sources listed at the end of the article.]
The fact that a lot of Americans haven't traveled to another country. It's considerably more difficult and expensive for us to do it, especially if you live in the middle of the country. Plus there's so much to see here (for the record, I have traveled).
Our restaurant food portion sizes. A lot of people in other countries don't take home their leftovers. That $12.00 Fiesta Platter is three meals right there.
Everyone gets so upset when we call ourselves "Americans."
"What Jerks! There's South America, Central America, we're all 'Americans.'"
Yea, except Brazilians have the luxury of calling themselves Brazilians ... You know what sounds ridiculous? United Statesian. That's what.
That's why we call ourselves Americans guys, it was the easiest thing to say.
We have very different laws in different states. Heck, some of our states have legalized marijuana, while others have no intention of ever doing so. What people need to keep in mind is how incredibly large the US is. Texas is bigger than France, and the distance between Maine and California is 3,300 miles (5,400 km), twice the distance from England to Russia!
The fact that we don't have mass public transportation everywhere. Our country is simply too large and spread out to have the kind of rail or bus network that European countries have. Outside of the northeast, our major cities are hundreds of miles apart, with very little in between. It just isn't feasible to connect all of our cities with a nice, frequent train service that's going to be anywhere near affordable.
Hollywood. As much as people complain about the industry, the stars, etc. America is a powerhouse for entertainment, not just for ourselves, but for the rest of the world.
That we drive everywhere. People don't realize that the US is so sprawled out that it's impossible to get around without a car. Outside of a major city nothing is going to be within walking distance from anything else. And even inside most cities the public transportation just isn't there because it's too expensive to cover such sprawled out cities. Only in the handful of very dense American cities (NYC, SF, Chicago) do you find public transportation good enough to go without your own car, and in those cities a lot of people actually do go without a car.
Beer. I was so excited to try beer in England. To my dismay they mostly drink a beverage that is identical to Bud/Miller/Coors only they call it Carlsberg/Carsling/ or 1664.
I admit that the cask ales were amazing.
As for craft beers the average pub had less than a dozen choices. In America it's easy to find places with over a hundred to choose from. The US is a total beer haven right now.
I'm not even American, but those little square packaged cheese things you guys have are actually delicious. I'm Dutch and my family is a bit of a cheese snob, but if I'm in the States, I will proudly order a grilled cheese sandwich just for the processed cheese.
I find that many foreigners find our food to be processed and low-quality. When I ask them where they ate, they'll usually just start naming off the first cheap, gross quick food places they happened to walk by.
There's a ton of amazing food in America, but there's also a lot of junk food to sift through too. If you just start eating the first thing you see, it'll probably be crappy. Ask a local what restaurants in their city they recommend!
It irritates me when people make fun of America for having bizarre laws like "it's illegal to whistle underwater" or "it's illegal to carry ice cream in your back pocket". These tend to be laws in specific cities, not all of America, and they're usually instituted because some specific incident made them necessary.
The latter one, for example, is an attempt to deter livestock theft; if any animal who wanders onto your land becomes your property, all you have to do to steal an animal is lure it onto your property with a tasty treat, and if it's in your pocket you can claim that you didn't do so intentionally.
Not having a passport or speaking a second language. This place is HUGE (and classy) and everyone more or less speaks English. You couldn't explore everything there is here in one lifetime much less the world.
The United States is not one legal entity/government, ONLY in foreign affairs is it one entity. Also, the federal government can make rules governing interstate commerce and trade or issues that affect commerce/trade between two different US states. All internal affairs/laws/rules are the realm of the individual states per the 10th amendment.
When you tell me "You should be ashamed as an American for the law Mississippi put into place" when I live in Arizona, a different state, it's ridiculous.
That would be like ME saying "You, a guy from the UK, should be ashamed at the new law put into place in Romania. After all you're both in the EU."
Maybe this is more of being from a big city, but when being asked where you're from saying the city or the state instead The United States.
I travel a lot and constantly introduce myself to people from all over. When asked where I'm from I just say Chicago... everyone knows Chicago.
If I say "the States," then it's "where?" "Illinois." "Where in Illinois?" "Cook Country." "Oh, and where in Cook County?" "Chicago"... "why didn't you just say Chicago?"
A lot of people give me crap for it. I know people from Paris will Say Paris...I feel like Londoners do as well.
Red Solo cups. Buzzfeed did an article showing all these pictures of Europeans throwing parties making fun of it. What's the deal with the red solo cups? You know what's not fun at parties? Picking up broken glass. You know what's easy to pick up at parties? Red Solo Cups.
I'm not an American, but the stereotypical overuse of words and concepts like liberty, freedom, and the American Dream gets joked about a lot, but when you think about it they are really very beautiful and great ideals.
That Americans don't know much about other countries (political systems, cultures, languages etc.).
Here's the deal: America is the cultural hegemon of the world. Everyone watches American movies and TV shows and listens to American music. If you turn on a radio in France, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, or Japan, you'll be able to find at least one American Pop station, that might play some local music too. They also talk about American politics (generally at least) in most countries (e.g., I listened to Obama's first inaugural speech with a cabbie Amman).
The fact is, citizens of most countries only know a lot about two cultures: (1) their regional/national culture and (2) American culture. Most Europeans are just as oblivious about Chinese culture/politics as most Americans. It's not our fault that Brazilian TV shows haven't gotten the international "star power" to make it on American TV stations, so we can't learn about their culture that way.
This also leads to the language thing. Most people learn English (or want to learn English) by watching US TV/movies. If China made 90% of the global blockbuster movies and music, I would probably have picked up quite a bit of Mandarin over the years.
Lawsuits. For example, accidents happen, but so do the medical bills that often follow, and not everyone has adequate/any insurance to pay those bills.
We don't only eat the most-common brands of chocolate! I know the mass-produced American milk chocolate is cheap, overly processed, and not very high on the quality chart. But if you don't like it, look on the shelf to the left and to the right and you'll see another fifteen different bars from various companies, all ranging in quality and price. America is the land of the $120 steak at a 5 star restaurant or the $6 steak at the chain restaurant down the street. Good or bad, we've got it!
People like to point out how expensive it is to get sick, and how rich the insurance companies are and how much money big pharma makes off selling it's medicine in the US, especially when those same meds are sold cheaper outside the US.
Basically, all I should say is "you're welcome rest-of-the-world."
We spend huge amounts of money on our medical system, yes, and I'm not arguing that parts of that system aren't broken. But a good chunk of all that money we're shoveling in there goes to developing those fancy medicines and medical tech, so that you all can use it in your countries too. We'll cover the r&d costs on this stuff, so you don't have to.
Yes, there are other people in the world doing research and creating medical breakthroughs, I don't want to ignore that. But no other individual nation is doing it on the scale that we are.
The general perception is that football athletes are just big dumb brutes running into each other for a few hours on a Sunday, but it actually is a highly strategic and cooperative sport. People also complain that it moves too slowly. We just need short breaks to eat tortilla chips and drink our beer.
When you say "Hey guys," sometimes people in Sweden/ Russia think you are referring to males only, but here it of course just means "people."
Air conditioning. Recently read an article about how apparently the rest of the world think we are wasteful for enjoying cool air indoors.
I would like to personally invite those folks to come live in Texas between April - September with no air conditioning.
Enjoying ice in our drinks. After all, we have machines that dispense ice so we usually pour some out. Cold water is way better than lukewarm.
The ubiquity of fast food drive-thrus.
You can, of course, buck the system, but American life isn't really structured where you have a lot of time. Between both parents working full time, all the after school activities kids are expected to have, trying to have a social life, etc. It isn't laziness that hinders home cooked meals, it's over booking.