Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Americans - White, Fat, Loud......

I was a guest on an LA radio show yesterday talking about American stereotypes. It was a follow up to a video that's gone a bit viral, featuring foreign students talking about Americans. The video and the actual interview is all in this link right here, and I come in at about 9.30 mins. Have a listen if you're so inclined. By the way, the link is entitled "Americans: White, Fat, Loud, Slovenly, binge-drinking, overconfident elitists", which is most definitely not my quote.

Stereotypes are a funny thing really. There's probably no smoke without fire, and yet it seems ridiculous to paint everyone of a specific nationality with the same brush. And yet we do. Here's a quote I found on a rather good web site called "National Stereotypes".

"In heaven, the cops are British, the lovers are French, the food is Italian, the cars are German, and the whole thing is run by the Swiss.
In hell, the cops are German, the lovers are Swiss, the food is British, the cars are French, and the whole thing is run by the Italians." (Marcus Pessoa).

The other guest on the radio show, a well known travel author and TV personality, was slightly disapproving of Americans abroad, but I think some Brits give them a run for their money. He was talking about how American students go berserk at the opportunity to drink under the age of 21 and are often seen very drunk in the streets of Italy and France. Heck, has he been to the UK recently? Is there anything more cringe-worthy than the louts you see drinking in the airports at 8am, inebriated before they even get on their flights?

I mean, how embarrassing is the fact that not only have officials in Magaluf, Spain announced a crackdown on drunken British youths, those same British youths have declared that this will not deter them from getting "F***ing mortal". Sigh. Their parents must be so proud.

I would have posted a photo of drunken guys but (surprise, surprise) I couldn't find any. 

Hopefully, people of other nationalities realize that we're not all like that.


  1. LOL, I saw that video. I kept imagining my daughter and her group, traveling in Italy, and hoping they weren't coming off as inebriated, elitist assholes. Frankly, I doubt they were. That video is probably more instructive of the impression others have of Americans, than of Americans themselves. Still, they got that impression from somewhere...The movies maybe?

  2. 37 - I'm sure she was well behaved altho' my daughter said that when she was in Brussels, they weren't doing anything wrong but she was always aware of being louder than any other groups.

  3. Ha! Because I know Americans mostly through some lovely blogs I follow, I have a stereotype of wonderfulness and genius. Which can be disappointing at times, but at least I always give them the benefit of the doubt.

  4. Ha, the same comments are levied at Brits, although a lot of the time it's quite apposite!

  5. Badinage - don't know whether you listened to the interview, but the Brits don't escape criticism.

  6. I love that quote about heaven and hell! and yes, how proud are we in Britain of our binge drinking teenage culture....Lx

  7. I remember, as a teenager (early '70's), thinking that American tourists got a bad rap, much along the lines of the stereotype that American girls were second only to the Swedes in their willingness to hop into bed with any man at hand, which was inflicted on me.

    Then I made my first visit to Acapulco. At the Sanborn's on the main drag, I spotted an American couple, probably in their 60's. He was dressed in (I am not making this up) a flowered Hawaiian-style shirt, plaid Bermuda shorts which clashed with the shirt's colors, and dark socks with sandals. I was embarrassed for him. His wife, not to be outdone, was wearing, as I remember, a tropical blue flowered print shift-type dress, with nylon stockings to just above her knees (they peeked out regularly) and sandals. Their straw hats were fine, but their images were burned into my retinas and my memory.

    I cringed in my bikini and crocheted cover-up, hoping that maybe I would be taken for a Canadian...

    By the way, I really like to travel in the off season. ;-)

  8. Lordy lordy - the socks and sandals. Ugh.


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