There are a lot of common stereotypes about America. Since it’s myth busting time again we’ll examine the most popular ones and try to see what is the truth about the land of freedom. In one of my previous posts I’ve tackled common stereotypes about Russia. Now the time has come to take a closer look at another huge country – the United States of America. Here they are – five most common stereotypes and myths about USA:
Myth № 1 Americans are stupid
I really like this myth. Because it shows people’s way of thinking and behaving: in order to feel better about themselves they depreciate other people and nationalities around them. The fact is that there are a lot of stupid people in America. But there are also plenty of absolutely brilliant people as well. I believe it’s just a matter of statistics. In a country as huge as the US, there has to be a lot of both. And since it’s easier to spot bad thing, the less intelligent people are the ones who are being noticed faster (and it helps, that they’re usually broadcasting their opinions loudly. Stupid opinions, might I add.).
Myth № 2 People in America are ignorant and poorly educated
This stereotype also came out as a result of America’s size. It is among the biggest countries in the world and as such it has a lot of internal issues to focus on. The big part of american education (for instance geography) is focused on the country and other continents are not as important as North America. So you probably shouldn’t be upset, if you know that Washington DC is the capital city of the US, but the American you’ve just met can’t tell the difference between Slovenia and Slovakia, Austria and Australia, the Hague and Prague etc.
Myth № 3 In America everyone is obese
There is a lot of truth in that statement. The latest studies show, that the percentage of obese and overweight adults in USA has reached 35% – this means that statistically every third person in America weighs more than they should. The situation is serious but restrain your imagination – it’s not like there are just fat people wandering every single street of every one of 50 states. A lot of Americans maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating properly and exercising, giving a good example to their fellow Americans as well as to other nations.
Myth № 4 Everyone in the US owns a gun
This one is exagerrated. But let me explain how this myth even came to life. First of all – it has a lot to do with Hollywood. American movie industry did a lot of good promoting the country, but the popularity of the movies also made people all over the world aware of America’s problems. And firearms is definitely one of them. Especially, since for example in Texas as well as in some different states there still is a huge tolerance towards owning a gun and that’s no secret. Also, the US has the highest rate of deaths by gunshots among developed countries. It is safe to say, that almost everyone who wants to own a gun in America is allowed to. Some must move to another state, but it’s possible. So this myth, unfortunately is dangerously close to being true.
Myth № 5 America is full of racists
With such a mixture of races residing in the country and constantly growing population of immigrants, as well as taking into consideration american history it doesn’t come as a surprise that some signs of racial injustice exist. But this diversity also makes people understand each other better and so I like to think it’s not as bad as it seems. And three of my friends who live in different parts of US agree with me on this. So the fifth myth is going to stay a myth.
Well, it looks like most of the myths that exist about the America and Americans are at least partially true. The important thing to remember, in my opinion, is that thing are never black or white – the scale of problems is much wider than just “exists-doesn’t exist”. So you shouldn’t judge and jump to conclusions before you get into the core of the matter. And remember that being open-minded is the first quality of a traveler. You can find out how to avoid trouble discovering different cultures in our recent post.