I was just wondering if anybody has come across any anti-americanism in their travels.
I currently live in Korea, and have seen a little bit, but not nearly as much as I expected. I have seen a few fairly large anti-american protest, but they were unorganized and civil and so posed little threat.
Anbody have any thoughts?
Good question.... and my answer would be yes, to a certain extent. I lived in Australia for a while and had some Americans as roommates and they really felt like they were judged on their nation's behalf (this was already nearly three years ago so it hasn't gotten any better), although it wasn't anything really threatening. More recently I hear it is more threatening, especially in say France with people being kicked out of restaurants because they were American (not quite sure how true this is though). I really don't understand this kind of thing!
My humble opinion is to travel (and receive travellers) with an open mind. No two people are the same, and the country they are from is totally irrelevant in my opinion. There are annoying travellers from all countries in the world, but that is because there will always be annoying people in general.... and if they aren't my type of people, there are plenty of others out there who are.
The Americans I have met travelling were always great fun and nothing like the existing stereo types (but that might be because of the type of travel)....just my two pence
Hmm, interesting question and certainly something to consider when travelling. There
are definately anti-american sentiments out there and you can be judged and treated
accordingly. Even I am guilty of anti-american feelings while on the road, although I
do take the attitude that each individual should be treated as that - an individual. The
feelings of anti-americanism in my experience are not so much from the US
government's policies (although I'm sure they play a part), but rather from a perceived
indifference to other cultures.
On a large-scale level there is a lot of ill feeling over the war in Iraq and a sense that
America is being too authoritarian in its handling of foreign affairs. I don't believe this
affects individuals that much though, as people genuinely recognise that individuals
don't always believe the same as their governments.
On an individual level Americans have a reputation of being obnoxious and self-
righteous in my experience. This is mostly based on misunderstandings, but my
advice to Americans would be to act with as much humility as you can possibly
muster. Judging other countries' ways of doing things loudly while in public (which I
have encountered numerous times - mostly, but not only, from Americans) will not
make anything work more like what you're used to and will certainly not make any
friends. Keep your voice down, because loud people stand out and are seen as
obnoxious by many, particularly when they are speaking in another language. In other
countries, the American adage of 'customer is king' is not true - don't expect to be
treated like one unless you are in a 5 star hotel. The fact of the matter is that you
aren't in your own country and shouldn't expect others to do things the same as you
are used to. Finally, make sure you learn some of the local language - this will win
many brownie points and make a great difference to how you are treated.
Just some thoughts to keep in mind. On a recent bus trip from Montpellier to
Barcelona nothing was more annoying than the Americans talking loudly about how
strange it was to have a toilet down the steps on the bus rather than at the back!
Essentially, one of the hardest and most essential rules to keep in mind for anyone
while travelling is to travel humbly and not make a fuss when things don't happen the
ways you are used to them happening. Save that for when you're in private.
I had a bit of unpleasantness in Florence, May 2002. We had been out for dinner and were walking on the sidewalk, across the bridge back to our B&B. A carload of young-20s looking men drove up very close to me with their windows down, threw a food wrapper of some kind and shouted, "Go home, Yankee." I don't recall ever having seen them anywhere, so I believe it was random act, but it was a little scary. Everyone else (except for the German lady with the mop, see embarrassing moments) in my travels has been very nice. I've not been out of the US since then, so I don't have any experience of the current climate.
I also live in South Korea. I've been here for about 8 months now. Some of the anti-Americanism caused by the acquital of two GIs who ran a tank over a pair of schoolgirls and the Iraq war has died down. That is, died down from the crazy mess it was 6 or 8 months ago. For a while in a lot of major cities, especially in and surrounding Seoul, it was hard for any westerner to get a taxi and possibly a little difficult to find a cheap hotel room. Some restaurants had also posted signs that they didn't serve Americans. I believe there were a couple of occasions where Soldiers were attacked in Seoul.
I visited some friends in Gumi for New Year's Eve. After a night of heavy drinking we went to a public sauna to sleep out the night. When we walked in they told us that Americans couldn't stay there. My friends were all Korean and Australian, so we lied and told them that I was Australian and they let us all in.
Right now, the sentiment isn't at all violent as much as it's annoying. I'd like to talk to more of the locals every now and then, but as soon as they find out I'm American, they kindly end the conversation and go about their business. At times I've told cab drivers that I was Canadian or Australian just to see what they do. They go crazy asking me about kangaroos and boomerangs, real chatty. If I say I'm American, they just nod their heads...
I´m a Canadian but have never indicated publicly that I was.
Most Americans i´ve met were polite people who did not raise the hackles of other people. My last time in Panama I mistaken by people there as an American, one was a Panamanian woman taxi driver who really chewed me out for all the problems of the world. When a lady friend (a Panamana) pointed out that I was a Canadian --the bigot responded that was the same!
Later I was to be harassed by a person in David who ranted and raved against Americans in Spanish --a close look at the guy revealed that he was obviously not native to Panama but from the middle east.
Later I watched some anti-american shows on TV Channel 5 where annoncers were obviously from Arabia and their hatred had religious origins. Since I have French, American,and Canadian grandparents with ancestors from Brittany, Ireland and native Quebec (Iroquois) I find bigots of any kind really something primitive and stupid.
Having been on the recieving end of religious and language bigotry I dont usually ignore it but comfront it -at home, while travelling i keep a low profile. People who hate another nation or race usually know nothing about the people they hate --propaganda by clerics and politicians is usually the root cause of bigotry, -and loudmouth braggarts.
i haven't experienced any anti american feelings while traveling recently... but i have in the past.
when i was 13, traveling through mexico, the fact that our car had california driver's plates on it was a draw back. california was trying to pass a law that enforced teachers to turn students who had no green cards into immigration, so that was the root of that. we actually had one group of men (close to nogales, Mexico) threaten us.
also, in hawaii, the feeling i got from the natives was "we'll take your money, but then get the fuck outta here." which is odd, because technically, they're american! but i've heard they feel that way about all mainlanders.
i'd be interested to find out if non-americans have been "hated on" while traveling through the US...
the only contact i have with any americans is through the internet and thats all it took for me to become an anti-american i dont know if its just the people on the net or all americans but i've noticed that most of the americans i've come in contact with are rude pretentious small minded borish holier than thou fools who see only what they want to.i dont mean to offend anyone but this is just what i've seen
It's wrong to assume all americans live up to their stereotype, even though a lot do. We travellers should be pointing out at every opportunity just how similar all human beings are when it comes down to it.
Bigotry and religious hatred are all down to a lack of education in the ways of other people, possibly brought about by repression of information within a country.
I have several american friends who are wonderful human beings - but they are travellers and broader-minded because of that. In fact, one of them deliberately travels using english tour companies, so as to avoid his compatriots.
America is such a huge and varied place that many feel no need to travel beyond their shores (is it true that 90% don't have a passport?). This is a grave mistake. Whilst they may not find 'bigger and better', they will find 'different'.
I was asked by an american whether the UK was using the Euro, and the same person thought Australia and NZ were in the EU ! This was a graduate who turns businesses around for a living. God help the rest.
One major cause of this is the diabolical news coverage. They have the most TV channels on the planet, and they're all crap. The robbery at the drugstore near the TV studio gets more coverage than international affairs. American people are not educated about the outside world by their own media. We should salute those who go out and discover for themselves.
Something I discovered on the west coast last year was that americans who were working in customer-facing jobs thought that they were being polite as long as they said the right words. But if those words are spoken in an agressive tone, they are far from polite. Calling me 'Sir' is irrelevant when you are shouting at me.
It's good advice generally when travelling to be humble and respect the country you are in. As long as we remember this, sensible people will greet us warmly, but bigots will be bigots wherever we are.
I would have to say that whoever you are, you're going to get an anti-being you experience. We all know it's wrong so why do we stereotype? Everyone wants to blame someone else for problems in the world, the west blame the east, the east blame the west. Like Stevie said, we should be looking at the similarities and stop being paranoid or judgemental. Stop thinking that our way is the best way and have a little forgiveness and patience.