Ive traveled around this country a lot and I’ll say that America is a huge collection of different cultures with long histories.

One thing we get a lot from the rest of the world is “America is such a new nation and doesn’t have a cultural history.” Which is completely untrue. In fact America is older than most modern nations.

Each state I’ve been to has some really unique cultural aspects to it and when you spend enough time there you realize that people from bordering states can be just as different as people from bordering European countries.

euphoria avatar

I suppose I dislike the stereotype that Americans are all overly patriotic and gun obsessed, that's a good chunk of Americans, but I'd like to think they are just a very loud minority who """"somehow"""" keep getting to make the laws unfortunately. Many of us are reasonable, many of us are anti-gun, many of us are certainly not patriotic, and most of us are not alt-right fuckfaces.

rasterweb avatar

Over and over I hear reports like "The majority of Americans support ___" (be it gun control, or abortion rights) but lobbyists and politicians for sale (and voter suppression) means that the laws tend to not reflect what the people really want.

wjrii avatar

I'll start with one. I've frequently run across the notion that American friendliness must be "fake." I'm sure that happens, but I find that it's more about being raised with a different standard for the baseline of a social interaction, and particularly of the acceptable ceiling. An English person and an American could each have roughly the same emotional response to a stranger, but the American will have been socialized that the proper way (or at least a proper way) to express a sort of general appreciation of another's humanity is to make them feel welcome and seen, by engaging in conversation, where our equally good-natured English friend will have been told that it's more polite and respectful to give the other person space to get on with their day. It's true that the American, despite in engaging in behavior that would seem to imply otherwise, doesn't really want to be your best friend any more than the English person (though they might... America is an extrovert's dream), but neither are they being fake. There is simply a different set of cultural expectations.

euphoria avatar

Never thought about this, but it's quite true. You are very right that the average American is generally pretty friendly and helpful, some may say overly friendly, but yea, it's not fake, it's just our standard haha. This is a great answer!

ttmrichter, avatar

I’m not sure I follow this answer. Distilled into a nutshell it reads:

Sure, none of the behaviour is real, but it’s cultural so it’s not fake.

Do the words “real” and “fake” have different definitions in the USA as well?

The fact that it’s cultural to display fake friendly behaviour doesn’t stop it from being fake in my books. It just explains why the fake exists.

wjrii avatar

"Real" is almost all cultural anyway. I think "fake" implies that the person doesn't want to do it, that they'd feel better if they didn't have to do it. What I'm saying is that this is just the level of interaction that our hypothetical American finds natural and polite for a person they don't know well but have no reason to dislike.

The cultural difference is simply that the intensity of the interaction doesn't map to the level of interpersonal familiarity (whether present or hoped-for) that the non-American in this scenario might assume. The same thing happens the other way; our intrepid American may encounter a cool reaction from their new English colleague and think the guy hates their guts, when in fact that's simply his ingrained way to treat new people with whom he has no particularly strong bond. It's really on both people to make an effort, if genuine understanding is the goal.

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