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Thread: America - Perception vs Reality

  1. #1
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    America - Perception vs Reality

    Namaste,

    Americans have a reputation and an image of being self centred and generally ignorant of the rest of world. They are thought of being rude and arrogant. I had the same impression about them.

    Over the past few years I have had many personal and work related opportunities to visit the US and interact with americans and my impression of them has completely changed.

    Wherever I visited in America, I found the Americans to be kind and welcoming, knowledgeable and hard working, polite and courteous.

    I often vacation in the state of Minnesota. My experiences their were the first ones that started this change in my impression of the Americans. After regularly meeting polite and welcoming people, I thought to myself, what's going on here, these people are supposed to rude and ignorant. I thought that Minnesotans might be exhibiting this unexpected behaviour because they are in the prairie region and that historic farmer hospitality and attitude has survived somehow in the residents of this metropolitan area, until I visited the state of South Carolina. Wow! What hospitality and attitude the people of South Carolina have. Wherever I visited, I found generosity and kindness that blew me away. I have never met such kind people before. If you want to see what politeness is go visit South Carolina.

    I had similar good experiences in the state of California, state of Nevada, Arizona and north/south Dakota.

    Recently, I was in the state of Colorado on a work related trip where I saw the American ingenuity and business ideas at its best. The geniuses I met changed my generic impression of Americans being usually lazy and not so smart when it comes to work.

    All of this made me have a deeper thought about the the american people and I realize now why they are number one in so many things that they do. It is the hardworking, innovative, business minded ness of the people along with the pride of being Americans that has made America the superpower of the world. America might really truly be the land of opportunity.
    Last edited by satay; 05 July 2013 at 09:41 PM.
    satay

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    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Hari Om

    Namaste

    Am from the States and so in vogue think for last 40 years to bash U.S. from inside. Certainly there exists room for this if this is what one desires but good to hear some positive. Thanks.

    Satay and others, my paradigm shifting moment was spending time in Mississippi. Had preconceived notion and what observed shattered this. The hospitality was humbling and appreciated and what saw regarding racial interactions was not what had been taught over many years.

    Think media plays a part in perception and what is exported by way of entertainment. For me, right or wrong, am observing in my travels around country a subtle shift away from grabbing for last piece of pizza and more awareness by way of actions if not stated beliefs.

    Om Shanti

    FFTW

  3. #3

    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Namaste

    Since I never paid attention to / had low awareness of media and "images" or perhaps coffee-table chatter, there was nothing to be undone (opinion shifts) when I met the beautiful, caring, loving, hard-working, responsible people of the United States of America and grew with them, learned many things from them, till they became as mine as those who were my fellow-countrymen since birth. I lived in America for most of my adult years so far. (I am not there anymore, but that does not stop me from saying Americans are my people.)

    Why, now that I think of it, the whole world is mine on a general level, and I am theirs. Well, how about tadAtmic bhAv with the E.T.s ? not just in the home galaxy, but Andromeda and ... how must it be on Dhruva loka ? ...

    He VAsudevA Shri KRshNa! JanArdanA Shri RangA!
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

  4. #4

    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by satay View Post
    Namaste,

    Americans have a reputation and an image of being self centred and generally ignorant of the rest of world. They are thought of being rude and arrogant. I had the same impression about them.

    ....

    All of this made me have a deeper thought about the the american people and I realize now why they are number one in so many things that they do. It is the hardworking, innovative, business minded ness of the people along with the pride of being Americans that has made America the superpower of the world. America might really truly be the land of opportunity.
    People have this impression because America's foreign policy can be summarized by a simple, single credo: "Your business isn't your business. It's our business too." For the last 60 years, America has involved itself in the affairs of foreign nations in every corner of the world, supporting friendly dictators, pressuring other nations into compliance with its edicts, rattling its saber at any and all who don't play their game, etc all ostensibly to protect its "interests." This of course, is not the fault of the people, but of the Ruling Class, who are completely out of touch with the reality of the citizens, except and save those citizens who happen to be the leaders of big, multinational corporations with deep pockets for campaign donations.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

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    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Well, Thanks, Satay

    There's good and bad in every society wherever you go. I know for a while (Late 90s - 2005ish), they were telling Americans traveling abroad to claim they were Canadian, because our reputation was supposedly so bad.

    Even as an American who has lived all over the U.S., I know I harbor unfair assumptions about people from various regions. It takes exposure, more than anything, to break these perceptions.

    I think our largest weakness as a whole is that we don't make a point of being knowledgeable about what's going on in the rest of the world. I don't know if it's necessarily a self-centered attitude as it is a lack of curiosity for most people. This is changing rapidly though. The younger generations are what more connected and way more invested in learning about other countries and cultures so that's a turn in the right direction.

    Another factor is American Politics - the politicians rarely speak for the majority anymore. So American Politics has a (much deserved) negative reputation and unfortunately this gets applied to the whole population.
    "God will not have his work made manifest by cowards."
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


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    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Namaste

    I have travelled most of the lower 48 states, also Hawaii (50th) but not yet Alaska (49th) but that may soon change and may be part of a side trip with my upcoming trip to BC Canada next week (an Air Canada flight was just cancelled out of SFO due to a Asiana plane crash at the airport), Puerto Rico may become the 51st State, I have been there to PR as well as a number of Caribbean islands. It is all sort of America actually... even those Jamaicans. And especially the Cubans here in Florida, which by the way are the most loyal Republicans.

    I agree with Satay's observations on Americans, and as an American I am very proud to hear this coming from a 100 Percent Hindu exampler as his good self. Americans do want to be seen as described, and actually contray to what some others have implied, most Americans do have a good interest and concern and follow the world, want the best for all people, for example the events currently in Egypt are on the minds of everyone I know including Americans who want peace and freedom and self rule and the hopes and dreams of others are also the desire of Americans. And, just as I have observed all over the world that most people are friendly, which I think is the nature of most souls, so too are Americans.

    Except I might say, Canadians are "too friendly". And I have been to Canada many times, and UK and Europe (opps! haven't been to France yet, but if they are like French Canadians some of whom I have worked with in IT, I know they must be very friendly and great dancers), Greece, and so on, the only problem I ever had (and that includes the entire world) was in Italy when I was mugged by gypsies outside the Colosseum one esrly morning and had to beat them off with an umbrella. But adding India, Nepal and all over Asia, I would say there are so many friendly and nice people all over the world! One of the smartest person's I ever met was a shoeshine.

    Let me not forget America's other neighbor Mexico, also been there and very nice people! Though I don't have to go to Mexico to know that, here in California they are now almost the majority population.

    Everyone is welcome to have a stay in America, it is a big and diverse "wedding party". I can say one thing for sure, and most Americans agree and say so in private, the smartest people on Earth are Indians!

    So if and when an Indian gives a good word for America, that makes us Americans feel very "smart" too! Just don't mind our fondness for apples! And, from California, let me thruw grapes in there too. We are very, very proud of our friuts! Even though some are called fruits by way of nutty or cupcake natures.

    Om Namah Sivaya

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    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Namaste.
    Certainly nice to hear that so many of you have had positive experiences with America & Americans I agree with previous posts that said the majority of us don't feel like our political leaders and foreign policies reflect the attitudes of most Americans.
    "Faith is to believe what you do not see. Faith's reward is to see what you believed." -Swami Chinmayananda

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    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Vannakkam: I too have traveled somewhat in the US. Other than a couple of minor being in the wrong place at the wrong time situations, I have had nothing but warm hospitality. We'll definitely be going on more road trips.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Namaste,
    Quote Originally Posted by revati9 View Post
    .....the majority of us don't feel like our political leaders and foreign policies reflect the attitudes of most Americans.....
    How does the above statement hold water considering that the political leaders were elected by a majority of the voters?
    Did the majority of voters make a mistake?
    Would they like to recall (through impeachment or a recall vote) their political leaders?
    Does that happen with every administration?
    Are we hopeless judges of the character of our leadership before we cast out ballots?
    Are we always given choices only of incompetent buffoons for candidates?
    And........?

    Pranam.

  10. #10

    Re: America - Perception vs Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Namaste,

    How does the above statement hold water considering that the political leaders were elected by a majority of the voters?
    The majority of voters make bad decisions. They assume that their favored party's candidate is "different" from the other party, and are willing to tolerate all sorts of moral and legal transgressions on the part of their favored candidate on the premise that the other guy is "worse." In other words, they are voting for the "lesser of two evils." What they don't realize is that when you vote for the "lesser of two evils," you still get... evil.

    The two mainstream parties in America are beholden to the wealthy special interests, and that's no surprise considering that the government is empowered to regulate those same special interests. It has been famously observed that once legislators gain the power to regulate the ability to buy and sell, the first things to be bought and sold are the legislators themselves.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

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