Monday, August 18, 2008

British anti-Americanism

British anti-Americanism 'based on misconceptions' British attitudes towards the United States are governed by ignorance of the facts on key issues such as crime, health care and foreign policy, according to a new survey. The article from The Telegraph goes on to say: A poll of nearly 2,000 Britons by YouGov/PHI found that 70 per cent of respondents incorrectly said it was true that the US had done a worse job than the European Union in reducing carbon emissions since 2000. More than 50 per cent presumed that polygamy was legal in the US, when it is illegal in all 50 states. The poll was commissioned by America In The World , an independent pressure group that launches on Monday and aims to improve understanding and appreciation of the US in Britain and around the world. Tim Montgomerie, its director, said factual inaccuracies and mistaken assumptions have contributed to Britons and Europeans taking a hostile stance towards their most powerful ally, which often acted against national interests. Please follow the link to read the rest of the article. I am so pleased that at last there is an article in the British media about the US that provides a clear and balanced view. It's very difficult to listen to so many Brits disparage the USA and say things that just aren't true. As stated in the article: Apart from US-bashing being a favourite topic around European dinner tables, it has serious affects on national policy. I am really excited to learn about the new pressure group, called America in the World: America isn't a perfect nation but it's not had a fair press in recent times. AmericaInTheWorld.com is an attempt by a few London-based friends of America to make the case that the USA is a fundamentally good nation. We believe that a world without America would be considerably poorer, less healthy and more dangerous and we consequently reject American isolationism as much as we reject anti-Americanism. What are your thoughts about the USA? If you have mostly negative views, what have you based your views on? If you have visited the USA, did the visit change your views either way - bad to good or vice versa?

6 comments:

  1. Hi Maureen - I found my visit to Los Alamos a few years back very enlightening. The majority of American citizens signing the 'peace book' had very different views and they didn't concern peace.

    And I had a very interesting conversation in the Rockies re the right to bear arms and the death penalty. Both American men I talked to had misconceptions about the British from my viewpoint.

    I guess there's 'ignorant' people of all nationalities depending on your point of view and the way you're brought up (and it's withing a country, not just between countries), but as long as we can debate and talk about our differences and similarities, then that's all to the good.

    Thanks for your visit over at my place - hope to see you again soon :)

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  2. Hello VP, Thanks for your candid comments. It sounds like you met some typical "red neck" types on your visits to the USA which is unfortunate and certainly doesn't represent the views of all Americans!

    I agree that there are ignorant people of all nationalitis plus it's easy for stereotypes and misconceptions to colour each other's views.

    In an ideal world, people of all nations would make the effort to find out more about each other. Knowledge is the key.

    Yes indeed, it's very good if we can debate and talk about our differences and similarities.

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  3. So Maureen, my view that I should have the right to bear arms automatically makes me a "redneck" does it? So by that reasoning, should my assumption you are opposed to that makes you a fascist leftist?

    Pity.

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  4. I probably shouldn't have used the term, "redneck" (which is a derogatory stereotype) however I do feel that vp got a skewered view of Americans about guns and peace.

    The "right to bear arms" is always going to be a controversial topic as is the death penalty. It's a shame that these two particular inflammatory topics would become subjects for conversation with a foreign visitor.

    I'm more disturbed by vp's observation that "The majority of American citizens signing the 'peace book' had very different views and they didn't concern peace." That, plus listening to Americans talk about the right to own guns, makes it easy to see why vp and other foreign visitors might not leave with a particularly favourable view of Americans!

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  5. I was born and raised in a very diverse environment in a large northeastern American city; my mom is (was, she's American now) English and I grew up surrounded by many English relatives and cultural attitudes.

    NO AMERICAN should tolerate for one millisecond attitude or lip from an Englishman or woman, or any other non-American, regarding culture, intelligence, tolerance, etcetera

    vp needs to GROW UP and realize what the word "tolerance" and "diversity" of thought (among other things)really means; there's a big world outside little England or Europe for that matter and a little genuine respect and courtesy goes a long way. Reminds me of an English tourist being interviewed on local NY TV awhile back about the architecture he saw on his trip to America (NYC,Boston,DC); he had absolutely NOTHING good to say, just a long stream of criticisms and how everything was better where he came from. This was played live prime time. Needless to say it didn't do a damn thing for the "Natives" opinions of the English.

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  6. Dear anonymous "from a large northeastern American city", It seems to me that when you wrote, "NO AMERICAN should tolerate for one millisecond attitude or lip from an Englishman or woman, or any other non-American, regarding culture, intelligence, tolerance, etcetera", that you are saying that non-Americans (ie. foreigners) should never be allowed to criticise American culture, intelligence, tolerance, etc. If that is indeed what you are saying, then you are showing how intolerant you are and I have to say that such an arrogant and narrow-minded view is only going to support a lot of foreigners bad opinions of Americans! And I'm saddened to read this comment from you: "vp needs to GROW UP and realize what the word "tolerance" and "diversity" of thought (among other things)really means; there's a big world outside little England or Europe for that matter and a little genuine respect and courtesy goes a long way." I don't think vp needs to 'grow up' since he was only describing his personal experiences and his comments are his honest views based on his visits to the USA.

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