Topic Author
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Attitudes Towards Americans

Wed Sep 13, 2000 11:38 am

As we have seen before in innocent posts such as the "Terry Fox Run" post that went around a few days ago...we see anger ignited when Canadians feel they are being ignored by Americans. In the past there have been similar flames between Austrailians and Americans.

My own opinion is that we Canadians generally feel that we are not sufficiently acknowledged by Americans. Example: How many Americans know that the first passenger jet outside of the UK was built in Canada? Probably not many. I don't think anyone seriously expects American schoolchildren to be able to recite volumes about Canadian history. But we do get annoyed when trated as if we are not signifigant.

I think Canadians usually feel smug in these areas and feel offended when not recognized by Americans:

-Publicly funded healthcare
-Human rights advancement
-Lack of fundamentalist religious movements
-Lower crime rates (in certain cases)
-Less racism, more open to immigrants
-A "more responsible" world citizen in military matters and in the UN (peacekeeping and paying full dues)
-Military contributions: Joining WWI and WWII from the start, War of 1812
-Less pollution (in some areas)
-A multiude of actors and recording artists that are highly visible throughout the world
-Engineering accomplishments: JetLiner, Avro Arrow, CN tower, development of nuclear power and weapons

However, we usually feel insecure over America's superiority in these areas:

-Current military strength
-Economic power and influence over Canada
-Immense power in global politics

I'm sure we can all think of more to add to each list. But what I would like to know is your opinion of Americans and their country. And if you are American, please feel free to share your view on how fairly/unfairly the rest of the world views you and your country.

In my own experience Americans are generally very kind people, in most cases more so than Canadians. I don't want to start an all-out war but would rather try to gather opinions worldwide why negative attitudes towards Americans exist.


RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Wed Sep 13, 2000 12:21 pm

I know I will be shouted at for this comment but the way I feel is the US shelters there students from many things, you only learn about when the US did good!
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RE: CPDC10-30

Wed Sep 13, 2000 3:21 pm

what you say about feelings towards Americans may be applied to almost every other nation (except from France!).
I am Italian and I would like that Americans thoughts to Italy in a pleasant way not only about governmental crisis, mafia and so on....
Anyway, who really matters what American thinks about other Country?


I love Canadians
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Wed Sep 13, 2000 7:26 pm

I like Canada and Canadians per se', and visit often and spend weeks at a time there. While there I don't see other of my fellow countrymen being "ugly Americans", nor do I notice Canadians that I meet with any kind of inferiority complex, nor chips on their shoulders. In short, I don't see why it's an issue, other than internet conversation ( argument ) fodder. If one starts crowing about his/her own country while bashing another, what do you think will happen? Instant argument...It's human nature. Also, One must be cautioned not to allow themselves to get trapped into thinking that a country's media is a microcosm of the nation itself...especially the US, where ( collectively ) the media is a growth industry and entity unto itself. It should be noted that my exposure to Canada is not from big cities but smaller cities, towns and rural areas. BTW: Another interesting thing I notice about Canada is that while metric is the "official" "spoken" system, the public does not seem to ( IMO ) accept it unconditionally. Most people I see tend to use a curious mixture of systems when they refer to measureents/distances/temperatures, and in a rather tongue-and-cheek manner...so I know they're not "Amercanizing" for me just because I'm "from the states".
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Addenum To My Post

Wed Sep 13, 2000 7:45 pm

As an addendum to the above post. Going to school ( as a young 'un ) I recall profuse coverage in social studies classes on history/civics of the worlds nations, with a lot of emphasis on Canada and Latin America. If someone is ignorant then they were lousy students...that's their problem. -- Anyway the American arrogance/ignorance theory is a bunch of you-know-what based on perceptions gathered peripherally...with a little help from the media and entertainment "industries". A valid comparison cannot be made between the two countries as they had different backgrounds and were fouded on different principles. If Canada values an activist federal gov't, and the US doesn't...So be it. We're different...get over it-- "globalist" poppycock notwithstanding. Nothing wrong with sovereignty, or, dare I say, some nationalism. Lot's of grey areas. The world's big enough for evryone. We'll protect our interests...and I expect other nations to do likewise. What's the problem?

RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Thu Sep 14, 2000 2:48 am

>>As an addendum to the above post. Going to school (as a young 'un) I recall profuse coverage in social studies classes on history/civics of the worlds nations, with a lot of emphasis on Canada and Latin America. If someone is ignorant then they were lousy students...that's their problem.<<

I told you I was going to in trouble for this. But after going to school in 2 countries (UK and US) I am sharing on what I see.

Watch the news out here in the US. There is no such thing as world news out here! Last night on the news there was nothing about the fuel crisis in Europe, but the top story was the large waves crashing on our coast!

In school I found that I learnt nothing about the world. There was less then a chapter on Latin America and Canada. If over a semester is the past 50 years it shows how little you really learn about world history!

Look how the high school diploma is looked at in the eyes of other countries. In the UK it is the same as GSCE’s, which you get when you are 16. Reason being you can take woodshop and art and very little academic classes, and real remedial ones if you want. The person with 5.0 GPA gets the same piece of paper saying they are educated as the person who ditch many classes and got mostly D's.

The US is a great country do not get me wrong. It probably has more millionaires’ who used to live on welfare then any other country.

RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Thu Sep 14, 2000 3:50 am

I have also found Americans to be genuine, and very friendly people.

However, I am from the UK, which has good relations with it's Atlantic neighbour. I *might* think differently of the US Government (not it's people), if I was an Iraqui.

As far as I have experienced, citizens of all races and nationalities can get on with each other just fine. Let the politicians trade insults, let's act civilised at the individual level!!

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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Thu Sep 14, 2000 7:17 am

How can you have a GPA of 5.0? You'd have to have an average of 125%. From what I've always been told, it's on a scale from 0-4 because you take your average mark and divide by 25.

I choose to remain silent on the other issues in order not to start a war. However, most americans are quite nice.
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans/AC-A340

Thu Sep 14, 2000 10:37 am

AC_A340, it is possible to have a 5.0 in America, if you take all honors courses and make A's in them. An A is worth a 4.0 in any other subject, but with the 1.25 multiplyer, it is a 5.0 in honors subjects.
I agree, also that Americans tend to be ignorant. I am the exception rather than the norm for Americans, since I know alot about other cultures and countries, and that Canada was actually ranked the #1 country to live in by an organization whom I have forgotten its name, and the US ranked 3rd.
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Thu Sep 14, 2000 10:53 am

Sn330, modest, ain't ya? 

What's the language spoken in Wales? How about Scotland?? What is the currency of Ireland other than the €? How about the currency in Austria? (again other than the €?)

Americans on the whole tend to know what they are taught. What we are taught we retain, so if we're not taught it or learn in, then we don't know it. People such as Iainhol get to make opinions as they have lived on both sides of that large cold stretch of water. But it is true that we are not taught much about foreign affairs. The British are taught much more about stuff that goes on in the world... largely because in Britain there are contacts with the entire world thru their history.

The British education system up to age 18 is generally regarded as the best in the world, and I think most people would agree with that.. (that is, without forking out $50k a year to send your kid to private school) the US schools are not a patch on their transatlantic counterparts. However, the Colleges in the US are every bit as good as those in the UK. (Altho I guess I would say that as I am at one in the US.... having gone to school in England for eleven years.)

I would rank Canada, the US and UK as the top places to live in this world, if you speak English, (or Spanish) and probably Germany and Italy if you don't. (but I have never been to either Germany or Italy)

Anyway, sn330, just remember, you regard yourself as 'worldly' but there are people out there from outside of the US, namely our better educated, but albeit socialist, cousins in Europe, (maybe there's a link there, but if there is, I don't want to know about it!!!  ) who know a whole lot more about this world that we do here in the US. We are, ultimately, and always have been, insular.


N 8 6 3 D A
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Thu Sep 14, 2000 12:30 pm

I am puzzled here.

I thought America was (is) a continent. I lived in Central and South America, and I now live in North America. Are we all (from this continent) Americans?

Perhaps this annoys Canadians but truly Canadians ARE Americans (like it or not). Mexicans are Americans. A Brizilian is an American.

If you are from a country in American you have a right to call yourself an American. However, you do not have to identify with a US citizen. This is up to you.


Now to answer. I was in Germany once and had to tell some young US Marines to put their pocket knives back in their pockets and stop even thinking about marking their names in a thousand year old wall around Rotenburg. I was ashamed of them.

US citizens sometimes act like they own everywhere. For this I am ashamed. However, I am proud too.

There is probably no more innovative and giving people than those from the American continent and the USA.

But we can do better. However, we could do worse.


RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Fri Sep 15, 2000 2:48 am


Geographically, North America is a continent on it's own, which includes the US, Canada and Alaska.

South America is another continent. Central America is a region, and mostly regarded as belonging to the North American continent.

However, you are right to say that Brazilians, Canadians etc. are "Americans". Theoretically, this is correct, because even though N+S America are different continents, they are collectively known (at least here in the UK) as "The Americas".

In practise though, most people in the UK would regard a Brazilian as being "South American", instead of simply "American", which would imply a US citizen.

Hope this hasn't confused you!
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Fri Sep 15, 2000 3:13 am

Thank you for explaining that GPA thing. I never knew that before.

And I am a North American, not an Ameican.
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Fri Sep 15, 2000 3:52 am

We are a product of our education systems and our media. We know what we are fed by these systems. It is up to us to ask questions and learn about other countries. There are many who don't know very much about their own countries and/or other countries. This is not limited to United Statesians. As a Canadian, I know of some Canadians who know more about the US than their own country. Sad, I know. I guess United Statesians are good at marketing themselves through pop culture...
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Fri Sep 15, 2000 4:06 am

The official name of my country is the United States of America. The official name of Brazil is the United States of Brazil. The official name of Mexico is the United States of Mexico.

Hence, citizens of the USA are called Americans. Citizens of the USM are Mexicans. Citizens of USB are Brazilians.

The official name of the continent I reside on is North America. The official name of the continent directly to the south is South America.

The confusion lies in that the word "America" is part of the name of my country, as well as part of the name of two continents. However, it is absolutely correct to say that citizens of the USA are "Americans". We are also "North Americans". Technically though, is not accurate to say that Canadians or Mexicans are Americans. They are "North Americans," just as a citizen of North Dakota normally wouldn't be referred to as a "Dakotan". He/she is a "North Dakotan". Same with North/South Carolina.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Fri Sep 15, 2000 4:15 am

I am a Michiganian (Michigander)
I am an American (Damn proud of it, not radical though)
I am a North American
I am a Western Hemispherian
I am a Northern Hemispherian

Now you people are starting to split hairs!
My views as expressed above are my views alone and do not constitute the views of my employer.
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Fri Sep 15, 2000 4:32 am

Michigander is a female from Michigan; Michigoose is a male.
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What's Good For The Michigoose...

Fri Sep 15, 2000 5:29 am


Shouldn't that be the other way around?

The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Fri Sep 15, 2000 5:49 am

Oops...you're right. Is that egg on my face?
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Fri Sep 15, 2000 7:52 am

from an American stand point, I think we do tend to think of ourselves higher than other people because we have a good economy and a good president so we tend to feel a little higher than our northern neighbors. I have been to Canada and I would much rather live there than in the states, Canada is a pretty country and was ranked the best place to live,the economy maybe a little weaker than the US but it is a lot cleaner(air and racially) and I would live there in a second.I have learned a lot about other cultures and I think that we tend to take how fortunate we are, for granted.
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Sat Sep 16, 2000 7:53 am

I think mexico is called the "Democratic Republic of Mexico" not "United States of Mexico", Mexico doesn't even have states, they got regions.
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RE: Bombstar

Sat Sep 16, 2000 7:55 am

Sorry dude. You're incorrect. 'Estados Unitos Mexicanos' or something like that. They most definitely have states. Even have a federal district, much like our D.C.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
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RE: Attitudes Towards Americans

Sat Sep 16, 2000 8:08 am

TWFirst, you are correct   Mexico's official name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos, and we have 31 states and 1 federal district.

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