sonicruiser
Posts: 529
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:18 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:55 am

For a long time I thought it was a common misconception that Americans are completely unaware of what's going on outside the US. Then a few days ago, I was talking with some people about some random big ticket issues in the news lately, ie. Hong Kong, Iran, Brexit, Kashmir, Israel, China, etc. I mean people were clueless like you wouldn't believe, literally deer in headlights look as if I was speaking another language. I'm not denying that there is in fact a small group of people like us that keep ourselves fairly updated on global news but it really opened my eyes as to how isolated some people in America are from the turmoil unfolding around the globe and how common it actually is amongst many people to only know about domestic affairs. I'm not going to pretend that I know everything but I'm reasonably aware of what's going on in Asia and Europe for the most part. I was fairly taken aback that this misconception is the reality because I didn't think it was actually possible for most people here to live in such a parallel universe as to not know of a world outside the US but it comprises a far larger segment of our population than most will actually believe.

I guess I too am guilty of falling into echo chambers like A.net and Reddit where everyone more or less has some decent understanding of global affairs or at least the topic being discussed that can give the illusion of a far larger number of people being knowledgeable than the actual ratio of informed/uninformed Americans in the real world would represent. From a political angle, I guess the reason Trump won is because America first is a pretty easy concept to get behind if you don't care/know about the rest of the world.

I should give a disclaimer that I am an immigrant living in America that travels abroad with some frequency so maybe I have a different worldview but still very jarring and a bit alarming nonetheless...
 
User avatar
Aaron747
Posts: 9717
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:07 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:40 am

^ I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself for being surprised.

A fishbowl worldview is awfully common in the US among anyone not living / growing up in and around the 10-12 largest metro areas.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
Airstud
Posts: 4682
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2000 11:57 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:01 am

"If Barraco Barner[sic] is our[sic] president[sic] then why is he getting involved in Russia" - a British girl

America is simply one of the more visible countries in the global consciousness. Therefore our idiots are more visible as well. (One of them currently occupies the Oval Office for shitsake.)

But every country has them.
Pancakes are delicious.
 
zakuivcustom
Posts: 2806
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:32 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:11 am

UAUA wrote:
I believe the majority of Americans are good at geography and are aware of what's going on around the globe. But a certain group no. I speak to Europeans and most of them are aware of these facts. They won't make such funny comments

I am in LAX awaiting to fly to LAS. Over the past few days I have heard something as below:

1) oh I didn't know that Hong Kong was British before?

2) I thought Singapore is part of China

3) oh you are from Australia????? You speak very good English

Speechless......

I love the US and I respect Americans a lot. Many Americans here on airliners and none of you will get these wrong

Both 3 places are so famous. Australia is a natural beauty while Hong Kong is the third largest business and financial centre on earth after New York and London. Singapore is a major world class major financial bub too

No offense to a certain US group but why is that? And it was Los Angeles which flies multiple flights to Australia and Hong Kong (it is on every US media like CNN, ABC, New York Times etc due to the protests) daily..... 1 has been to Hong Kong before.


I will chime in about this.

1. As far as HK goes - I live in Indiana right now, and while some of my coworkers heard of HK, most people don’t really know where exactly it is. But at least they have heard about the city, unlike its neighbor Shenzhen (who none of my coworker know where it is located until I tell them that it is literally across the river from HK).
2. While I am in HK - trust me, for every person that have good geographical sense there is one that have no idea where they are traveling to. This applied even for ultra popular tourist destination (for HKer) like Japan and Taiwan.
2b. Oh, and good luck explaining where Indiana is to an average HKer. I just say “I live ‘near’ Chicago”.
3. For comparison to American, most HKer doesn’t travel beyond NE Asia (Japan/SK/Taiwan) or SE Asia (Thailand/Malaysia/Singapore) for leisure, either. And good luck telling them to “experience” the culture (they don’t - majority just eat, shop, and eat more - not too different than American going to Mexico/Caribbean for those all-inclusive resorts).
4. Oh, and many HKer doesn’t really know global politics all that much, either.
Free Hong Kong! Free China!
 
UAUA
Topic Author
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:50 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:41 am

But Americans I meet on cruises know a lot about the world

zakuivcustom wrote:
UAUA wrote:
I believe the majority of Americans are good at geography and are aware of what's going on around the globe. But a certain group no. I speak to Europeans and most of them are aware of these facts. They won't make such funny comments

I am in LAX awaiting to fly to LAS. Over the past few days I have heard something as below:

1) oh I didn't know that Hong Kong was British before?

2) I thought Singapore is part of China

3) oh you are from Australia????? You speak very good English

Speechless......

I love the US and I respect Americans a lot. Many Americans here on airliners and none of you will get these wrong

Both 3 places are so famous. Australia is a natural beauty while Hong Kong is the third largest business and financial centre on earth after New York and London. Singapore is a major world class major financial bub too

No offense to a certain US group but why is that? And it was Los Angeles which flies multiple flights to Australia and Hong Kong (it is on every US media like CNN, ABC, New York Times etc due to the protests) daily..... 1 has been to Hong Kong before.


I will chime in about this.

1. As far as HK goes - I live in Indiana right now, and while some of my coworkers heard of HK, most people don’t really know where exactly it is. But at least they have heard about the city, unlike its neighbor Shenzhen (who none of my coworker know where it is located until I tell them that it is literally across the river from HK).
2. While I am in HK - trust me, for every person that have good geographical sense there is one that have no idea where they are traveling to. This applied even for ultra popular tourist destination (for HKer) like Japan and Taiwan.
2b. Oh, and good luck explaining where Indiana is to an average HKer. I just say “I live ‘near’ Chicago”.
3. For comparison to American, most HKer doesn’t travel beyond NE Asia (Japan/SK/Taiwan) or SE Asia (Thailand/Malaysia/Singapore) for leisure, either. And good luck telling them to “experience” the culture (they don’t - majority just eat, shop, and eat more - not too different than American going to Mexico/Caribbean for those all-inclusive resorts).
4. Oh, and many HKer doesn’t really know global politics all that much, either.


Huh? Plenty of Hong Kong people travelling to Europe, USA, Canada, Australia for vacation. Most know about this globe well. At least they know Australia is english speaking.
My former profile name was United Airline.
 
User avatar
vhqpa
Posts: 1619
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:21 pm

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:09 am

Last year in Iceland while waiting for the bus back to Reykjavik. I meet a young American lady, while she seemed very nice let's just say she was a little geography challenged. After I told her that I was from Australia, she told me that she lives in Seattle and she was so jealous that I live much closer to Europe than she does.
"There you go ladies and gentleman we're through Mach 1 the speed of sound no bumps no bangs... CONCORDE"
 
zakuivcustom
Posts: 2806
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:32 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:38 am

UAUA wrote:
But Americans I meet on cruises know a lot about the world

zakuivcustom wrote:
UAUA wrote:
I believe the majority of Americans are good at geography and are aware of what's going on around the globe. But a certain group no. I speak to Europeans and most of them are aware of these facts. They won't make such funny comments

I am in LAX awaiting to fly to LAS. Over the past few days I have heard something as below:

1) oh I didn't know that Hong Kong was British before?

2) I thought Singapore is part of China

3) oh you are from Australia????? You speak very good English

Speechless......

I love the US and I respect Americans a lot. Many Americans here on airliners and none of you will get these wrong

Both 3 places are so famous. Australia is a natural beauty while Hong Kong is the third largest business and financial centre on earth after New York and London. Singapore is a major world class major financial bub too

No offense to a certain US group but why is that? And it was Los Angeles which flies multiple flights to Australia and Hong Kong (it is on every US media like CNN, ABC, New York Times etc due to the protests) daily..... 1 has been to Hong Kong before.


I will chime in about this.

1. As far as HK goes - I live in Indiana right now, and while some of my coworkers heard of HK, most people don’t really know where exactly it is. But at least they have heard about the city, unlike its neighbor Shenzhen (who none of my coworker know where it is located until I tell them that it is literally across the river from HK).
2. While I am in HK - trust me, for every person that have good geographical sense there is one that have no idea where they are traveling to. This applied even for ultra popular tourist destination (for HKer) like Japan and Taiwan.
2b. Oh, and good luck explaining where Indiana is to an average HKer. I just say “I live ‘near’ Chicago”.
3. For comparison to American, most HKer doesn’t travel beyond NE Asia (Japan/SK/Taiwan) or SE Asia (Thailand/Malaysia/Singapore) for leisure, either. And good luck telling them to “experience” the culture (they don’t - majority just eat, shop, and eat more - not too different than American going to Mexico/Caribbean for those all-inclusive resorts).
4. Oh, and many HKer doesn’t really know global politics all that much, either.


Huh? Plenty of Hong Kong people travelling to Europe, USA, Canada, Australia for vacation. Most know about this globe well. At least they know Australia is english speaking.


To be really fair, tons of Americans travel to Europe also. The immigration pattern of HK helps with recognizing the countries you speak of also, as things like studying or migrating (via investment) in a “western” countries like AusNZ, US/Canada, and UK had been advertised for decades.

Ultimately, being geographically challenge is far from an American-exclusive thing. There are world travelers from US also.
Free Hong Kong! Free China!
 
UAUA
Topic Author
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:50 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Wed Sep 25, 2019 5:00 pm

Americans are definitely the most well travelled group around the group in absolute terms. Also well educated (i think 70% of Americans hold at least 1 tertiary degree?)
My former profile name was United Airline.
 
WIederling
Posts: 8888
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:42 pm

UAUA wrote:
Americans are definitely the most well travelled group around the group in absolute terms. Also well educated (i think 70% of Americans hold at least 1 tertiary degree?)


Just from following this site and some other more "American" forum sites you would not notice that distinction.
Few other places are so effectively filter bubbled.
Murphy is an optimist
 
User avatar
CitizenJustin
Posts: 502
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:12 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:30 am

MaverickM11 wrote:
Some? Try most.

Some Americans think having no idea what's going on is a virtue.



The glorification of ignorance is alive and well.

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov
 
oldannyboy
Posts: 2383
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:28 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:01 am

OMG. Where do we start from... The 3 main issues I have with Americans in general - which to me are at the basis of the acutely problematic view they have of the rest of the universe (including the lack of any geographical sense of awareness), are:

Issue 1) most Americans think that the US is the center of the universe
Issue 2) most Americans believe that the US is the best country in the world - no "ifs", no "buts"
Issue 3) most Americans believe foreigners in general will want to come to the US and live there "'cause it's better" than anywhere else

I could go on (I have many more issues - including how "the American way of life" is literally ruining and destroying the way of life of most other countries, and how American greed is at the base of most wars and poverty on the planet...), but I perhaps better not....
 
N757ST
Posts: 734
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2002 6:00 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:16 am

oldannyboy wrote:
OMG. Where do we start from... The 3 main issues I have with Americans in general - which to me are at the basis of the acutely problematic view they have of the rest of the universe (including the lack of any geographical sense of awareness), are:

Issue 1) most Americans think that the US is the center of the universe
Issue 2) most Americans believe that the US is the best country in the world - no "ifs", no "buts"
Issue 3) most Americans believe foreigners in general will want to come to the US and live there "'cause it's better" than anywhere else

I could go on (I have many more issues - including how "the American way of life" is literally ruining and destroying the way of life of most other countries, and how American greed is at the base of most wars and poverty on the planet...), but I perhaps better not....


American way of life? As an American I have no idea what you’re talking about. Like my friends abroad I go to work, provide for my family, etc. American greed? Yeah, in ways we are. And in others our country is the most giving in the world. Do I think America is the greatest nation on earth? Yeah, probably. There are many places I could live besides here, and after marrying my wife who has a EU passport I guess I possibly could, but I am pretty content in little Connecticut. I’ve traveled pretty extensively, and do so for work, sometimes though you just have to admit, there’s no place like home.

Back on topic, this entire thread is one giant generalization. While I’m sure there are ignorant Americans spread throughout, many Americans are also well traveled and well versed in world affairs. My guess is that this goes for many countries, though obviously in Europe being that the countries are so small and interconnected that people are more willing to leave their comfort zone and explore cultures. The US is a big place, and has a lot to offer. For some that’s simply enough, which is too bad. I think it should be the goal of everyone world wide to experience each other’s cultures before simply judging them on 3rd person views, but it is what it is.
 
ZKSUJ
Posts: 6870
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 5:15 pm

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:11 am

I live in NZ and have travelled to the States on numerous occasions. Before going there for the first time, I was lead to believe many generalisations about Americans being percieved as 'ignorant and even arrogant'.

However in my experience this could not be further from the truth. Many Americans I came across were genuinely friendly and welcoming, and knew where NZ was on the map. In fact I was asked numerous times why Id ever want to leave NZ and go all the way to the USA for a holiday (thanks Lord of the Rings) which dispells any theories that Americans dont know where anything is.

Only 1 person I encountered didnt know where NZ was, but said it was part of Australia (close enough)

My experiences alone and I think that depending on where you go, many Americans particularily where Ive been are aware of global surroundings
 
rbrownleec
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:24 am

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:20 pm

What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual
What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual
What do you call someone who speaks only one language? American

My background for perspective: I grew up in Michigan (near Detroit), lived in many parts of the US, and travel on vacation to Canada at least yearly and occasionally to Mexico. Courtesy of the US government, I've been to many countries in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere, and to the extent that I could, I experienced the culture, attractions, and such.

As others have mentioned, Americans generally believe we are the center of the world, everyone should speak English, and we have everything we could ever want here, so little need to travel internationally or pay attention to the rest of the world. Also as mentioned, limited vacation time for many folks and a good number of extended families being located far away from each other plays a part in this. Education plays a part as well - Geography is just not taught to the extent that it was a few decades ago, if at all.

My opinion is that Americans are somewhat more prone to having little knowledge or care of things outside of the US than non-Americans are of things outside of their respective country. A fault of ours perhaps.
 
Olddog
Posts: 1236
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:41 pm

Re: Some Americans have no idea what's going on outside the US?

Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:50 am

I can say that CNN is not helping you with theses erroneous maps they display regularly.

Yesterday France was displayed without Alsace-Lorraine, last week they located Strasbourg in Germany, and sometime ago Cannes left the south of France to appear at Bilbao location.....
When UK was in it wanted a lot of opt-outs, now it is out it wants opt-ins

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: BN747 and 54 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos