Culture · Life in America

How do you distinguish Americans?


Here is what I think about the Americans:

  • They make fun of others A LOT. This is mostly seen on TV. It is very common to see a comedian makes a joke about the French or the British people. I don’t know why these two in particular more than others. I have seen it on American TV but hardly on other TVs.
  • It is okay to be a goof. Unlike in Asian countries, American school teachers and college professors may act goofy in class.
  • At work, relationships among employees and between the employees and their boss are not strictly formal. In universities, most professors are okay being addressed with their first name without the “Prof” or “Doctor” title.
  • In general, they are jolly and friendly.

Now, knowing the above traits about the Americans I believe they will be the least offended by this video than any other nation, if it was about them. Also, since they joke about other nations they accept being made fun of, I think. Or at least they are not easily offended. Still, I wonder what they think of this video.

Here are my thoughts about the video:

  • Loudness: Yes. But, maybe equally loud or even louder are Arab men. Arab women are not supposed to be loud. It is frowned upon for a woman to laugh or speak loudly.
  • Overweight: Yes. Only because food there is the cheapest in the entire planet earth.
  • Jolly & happy: Of course.
  • Confidence: Yes. Although, in some cases I would describe some individuals as cocky. A bad trait that some Americans and Arab men share maybe more than other nations.
  • Dressing: One young lady mentioned that some students go to class in their pajamas. This is TRUE! She wasn’t exaggerating. I know that many Europeans complain about how bad American tourists dress. I think they choose to be comfortable over being stylish. Some consider it being out of style others call it confidence. Of course going to class in a PJ is not confidence though.
  • Drinking: One too many! A German student once told me that Americans drink too much. Yes, you read that right a German said that.
  • Open & friendly: Yes, they are!

I like what one of the students perfectly described Americans:
“If you talk to American people, they smell like freedom.”

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16 thoughts on “How do you distinguish Americans?

  1. I posted an article that had this video, but I don’t think people watched the video. Instead they focused on the title and the article which were a bit more .. nasty, in my opinion. (Because we know being white and fat are far worse than being unkind or hypocritical.) I watched the full video to see what ELSE was said. And it wasn’t all bad!

    Thanks for sharing this post. I really liked reading your thoughts about American especially since you lived among us for a dozen years.

    The drinking comment is funny. I am more like a conservative Muslim or Mormon in that regard. I never drink alcohol! I like how you compared Americans with Arab men in a couple of instances, too. Super-interesting and fun post!

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    1. I always read your posts. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the one you mentioned.
      I think it is human nature not accepting others’ opinions when they are not flattering. I always rant about some bad Jordanian habits on Facebook. But, I may get defensive if it comes from a non-Jordanian.

      I hope everybody watches the video to the end because they go beyond the look. They did mention that Americans are happy, kind, positive and friendly which I agree with.

      I think. the video is made for fun nothing more. Also, all the individuals who appeared on the video are students. So, their stereotype is about American students abroad. Also, the German student I mentioned she made her comment about students on campus.

      I will check out your FB to find the article you mentioned. I would like to read it.

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      1. Did you see that I asked this on FB? It was fun seeing what others thought freedom smelled like. I would have probably said something about traveling.

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  2. Fat, big.. in size(s).. louder, <— I wrote these b4 reading yr thoughts.
    I do not know a lot of Americans, not even casually and honestly it is hard for me to ascertain almost any of the "traits" in the video.

    Thanks for sharing Malik.
    ———————
    * I never thought the Germany was known for high consumption of alcohol. I did a quick search and in 2014 they rated 7th! New info for sheeshany

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  3. The fat thing is kind of true. I see it all the time but it’s mostly because people are lazy. They don’t have to go to a gym or run 5 miles a day, but they’ll take the bus to only go a few stops. A lot of the time, they’ll wait 20 minutes or more for that bus when walking would have taken 5 minutes. Drives me crazy. I don’t like public transportation so if it’s at all possible to avoid having to take it, I will. I suppose I was sensitive about the weight thing because I used to be really skinny but then gained weight when I was 10. I lost the excess weight when I was 16, but now I’m really sensitive about that.

    The clothing thing is also true but the way the people were describing it made them sound incredibly shallow, like when one of them said or implied that Americans don’t care how they look. This isn’t a fashion show. The world is not a catwalk. You don’t need to be dressed up in uncomfortable clothes and shoes just to get from point A to point B. My usual outfit is yoga pants (*not* sweat pants), a t shirt and Converse sneakers. I can see being scornful of someone who is clearly in their pajamas, but for me, whenever I see people from other countries all dressed up just to go to the store or somewhere like that, my muscles start to clench up. I can’t help but wonder how they can move in those tight clothes and uncomfortable looking shoes.

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    1. Thank you Tina for your thoughts on the subject. It is interesting to hear some feedback from Americans about this video.

      Here in Jordan, for example, both boys and girls, dress up going to their classes in the university. I know that Americans usually dress more casual but here, as you mentioned, people choose look over being comfy.

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      1. I think what also stood out to me was the double standard. If Americans were to make a video like this about people from other countries, we’d be accused of being stupid, ignorant, racist, prejudiced, etc.

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  4. I enjoyed reading these comments. I tend to dress more for comfort, but I know plenty of folks who dress nicely to go out. Maybe not to some people’s standards, but that’s OK. I don’t mind people dressing up to go out even if I prefer not do so as much. I don’t wear my pajamas out in public…that’s for sure! 🙂

    Tina made an interesting point about how others would react if Americans made a video like this. Probably there are some out there, actually. I guess as Malik wrote above, we sometimes say negative things about ourselves, but get defensive when outsiders do so. That makes a lot of sense to me. It’s the same concept of my saying mean things to my brothers or sister, but God help the outsider who does the same thing! 🙂

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    1. I’ve seen people go out in pajamas, bedroom slippers, with their hair still in rollers or all three!! I’d love to be into dresses. Every summer I go out and get a ton of dresses, and then I wind up wearing yoga pants, t-shirts and Converse. 😀 The people that get all dressed up for no special occasion do look really nice but I just could not stand to be in those clothes/shoes all day.

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      1. Tina & Susanne, regarding “how others would react if Americans made a video like this” I did actually write something about this point but then decided to delete it before publishing the post. I wrote that if any country made a video like this about the Jordanians, it may start a war. Here in Jordan, we don’t take criticism lightly. We are easily offended. For example, when tourists come to Jordan we like to hear them say how friendly and hospital we are. But, we don’t like it when they school us about littering or about our insane driving habits 🙂

        Although some Americans may feel offended by this movie but in general I think they will be the less offended compared to other nations.

        Now, to be more specific to Tina’s comment: “Americans were to make a video like this about people from other countries, we’d be accused of being stupid, ignorant, racist, prejudiced, etc.” I do agree that some people may feel this way. I think the reason for this is because people all over the world watch American movies. Unfortunately, American movies are never friendly toward others. The image of Arabs, Indians, Africans, Russians, Chinese or even the French is never portrayed in a way that makes these nations say “Wow! Americans think high of us. We love how they portrayed us in this movie.”

        I do believe Hollywood movies damaged how other nations think of Americans. Imagine how a Russian or an African or worse an Arab feels being always portrayed as a Mafia member or terrorist in American movies. I was one of the Arabs who changed how I see Americans once I came to the USA. I found they are very friendly, helpful and nice people. At least in the Midwest where I lived 🙂

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      2. You definitely make an excellent point about how other people are portrayed in American movies. I guess we could all stand to take a step back and really get to know each other and let go of our preconceived notions about each other.

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