I feel ashamed to be American

This forum is to learn about foreign cultures and habits, because language skills are not everything you need as a world citizen...

Moderator: Forum Administrators

User avatar
WallOfStuff
Posts: 619
Joined: 2011-09-20, 0:33
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

I feel ashamed to be American

Postby WallOfStuff » 2016-01-21, 8:15

Okay so I know I'm like the king of angsty emo rants but I just can't get past this.

I'm not gonna be that 14 year old kid who read good things about a European or east Asian country online and now is anti-American even though I've never even been to another country. Plus I[m 9 years older than that but anyway...

I just feel ashamed. After hearing complaints of American tourists, visitors, exchange, etc. And it wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't the stereotype, but I am. Like...

1. I'm stupid. Like, incredibly stupid. My American family, friends, etc. call me stupid. I'm also autistic and apparently borderline mentally retarded (but not quite there). I feel uneducated, ignorant, etc. Trying to change it does nothing. I know nothing about politics. It just doesn't interest me.

2. I'm not in shape and "lazy" but the lazy part could be depression. But I've always been this way. Always hated physical activity. Only reason I'm not fat is my metabolism, and when I get older, I guarentee I will be. I don't feel so bad about this actually because I'm not attracted to people who are too skinny (no offense, skinny people). My sister's boyfriend is Japanese and he loves that she's heavier, he doesn't like skinny girls.

3. I like gossip, drama, getting into people's business sometimes. Idk it's just what I do. When I hear that most Europeans don't do this, it seems weird to me. I love this stuff, I find it hilarious, and makes my own boring life more exciting.

4. I do stereotype a lot (obviously) but trying to cut that down. It's just hard to since everyone here kinda does.

5. I love the supposedly terrible and unhealthy chemical food here. Well, some of it. I hate Twinkies and McDonald's, but like some other fast food. I mean I try to eat healthy sometimes, it's just hard in the situation I'm in right now (long story). Not to mention, nutritionalists disagree with each other so much on what is and isn't healthy. Especially the people saying grains and starches are unhealthy... so any people who eat pasta and rice a lot are screwed. But anyway, if I traveled abroad, I'd have to bring suitcases full of food. Food from most other countries that I see or hear of seems so gross to me. I'm not even that picky. Though there is a lot of foods here I won't eat too... ketchup, tuna, mustard, "fake" cheese and meats, etc.

6. I only know one language. Of course nobody on this forum likes being like that so I don't need further explanation. And any attempt to learn has pretty much failed.

7. America has the most internet users on English websites (I think China is #1 overall IIRC? but on Chinese sites I'd assume moreso). So I'm pretty disposable.

8. I hate my "accent" and voice and suck at doing foreign accents. I mean I sound like a typical autistic kid honestly. Not to be derogatory but I do.

Tbh I just hate myself to begin with. So this is just one of many things I hate. I'd honestly feel bad if I traveled to another country and the people there had to put up with me... even though I'm concious of all this shit and would try to behave well, I think my social anxiety and whatnot would kick in. I know people worldwide have this but still. Hell, I hate how people here have to put up with me.

Also, I've said this before, if I was traveling abroad, I'd be tempted to tell people I was Canadian if they asked. But I wouldn't want to make Canadians look bad if I was the only one they met. This shit makes me afraid to travel and I do plan on traveling to France but mostly just to meet an online friend. I figure if I'm with him the whole time, he can help me behave acceptably. But like I'd fear if I'm too quiet, it'd be awkward and if I'm too social, I'd be awkward so it's messed up either way.

Ugh sorry I get moody in the late evenings. But most of this is just paranoia I guess.

User avatar
Levike
Posts: 6153
Joined: 2013-04-22, 19:26
Real Name: Levi
Gender: male
Location: Budapest
Country: HU Hungary (Magyarország)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby Levike » 2016-01-21, 15:37

If it helps you feel better, whilst in Warsaw, American students (the ones I've met) were actually great.

They had their flaws (which were more like just cultural differences), but they were definitely not ignorant, stupid or disrespectful. And they actually behaved better than some Erasmus students from certain European countries.

And in comparison to other foreign students they didn't do that thing which I really dislike, which is to isolate yourself and hang out with people mainly from your own country. They actively tried interacting with other students from other countries, not like some who never got out of their bubble.
Nem egy nap alatt épült Buda vára.

User avatar
Meera
Posts: 8740
Joined: 2008-05-27, 22:01
Real Name: Meera
Gender: female
Location: Philadelphia
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby Meera » 2016-01-21, 18:15

Hey WallOfStuff, I am an Afghan who moved to America and now I am an American citizen. Sometimes America does things that make me embarrassed but I want to tell you you should be thankful you are in America and not a country like Afghanistan. No country is the greatest in the world, but you have the right to free education here, you have a right to whatever religion you want to be, you have freedom of speech, you have the opportunity to learn another language. I'm an atheist and I could never say this publicly in Afghanistan (I could actually go to jail for saying I'm atheist in Afghanistan), in some parts of Afghanistan girls do not even have the right to go to school. And honestly since I have lived in America, Americans have been overwhelming kind to me and respectful to me. Remember every country on earth has it's own problems.
अहिंसा/เจ
True Love: (hi)
TAC 2017: (hi) (ja) (ko)

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24460
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-21, 18:32

WallOfStuff wrote:Okay so I know I'm like the king of angsty emo rants but I just can't get past this.

I know what you mean because I've felt similarly before about when I wanted to rant about something, but it's not really an angsty emo rant. I find that when we're anxious and have difficulty overcoming it, part of the reason for that can be because we have a lot we want to get off our chest, but we're scared to say it because of how people may judge us for saying it. In reality, though, I think we feel it's more of a nuisance to people than it really is. The truth is that if people don't want to read it, well then, they just don't have to read it! ;) And it is important for us to get things off our chest at some point instead of just bottling them up inside forever, so kudos to you for doing that!
I just feel ashamed. After hearing complaints of American tourists, visitors, exchange, etc.

I don't think I've ever seen a single American user on this forum say they were proud to be American. If anything, I feel as if all of us fellow American users know what you mean by that. Shit is fucked up in this country, man. I mean, for instance, I guess there are some things I like about this country, but there have always been certain things that deeply bothered me about it. It's difficult to be a language learner in a country where everybody seems to assume the whole world just speaks English.
And it wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't the stereotype, but I am. Like...

1. I'm stupid. Like, incredibly stupid. My American family, friends, etc. call me stupid. I'm also autistic and apparently borderline mentally retarded (but not quite there). I feel uneducated, ignorant, etc. Trying to change it does nothing. I know nothing about politics. It just doesn't interest me.

Non-autistic people frequently think of autistic people as being stupid. In reality, they could hardly be more wrong. Take yourself as an example: If you really were stupid, you wouldn't be capable of introspection. You wouldn't be able to say, "This and that is what's wrong with me." You also wouldn't be able to question things because that requires a certain level of intelligence as well; instead, you'd just blindly believe whatever you were told. You're really just stuck in a world that treats autistic people like shit. That's terrible, but it isn't your fault. It really shouldn't have to be that way.
2. I'm not in shape and "lazy" but the lazy part could be depression. But I've always been this way. Always hated physical activity. Only reason I'm not fat is my metabolism, and when I get older, I guarentee I will be. I don't feel so bad about this actually because I'm not attracted to people who are too skinny (no offense, skinny people). My sister's boyfriend is Japanese and he loves that she's heavier, he doesn't like skinny girls.

I never exercise, either, and I'm sure lots of people think I'm lazy for spending like most of the day on UniLang. :lol: I also have no problem eating a lot (I can't help it if there's tons of food right in front of me!) and have heard people saying the only reason why I could do that was because of my high metabolism and warning me that it would come back to bite me in the ass later, basically. IMO it's not really something to be ashamed of, though. Depression is an entirely valid reason for not being able to do stuff, and I think I can only wish you the best of luck fighting that. In my case, I don't go outside to exercise because I live in the allergy capital of the world and my allergies are bad enough when I'm indoors, and I don't exercise indoors because I never remember to. :P And I spend most of the day here because I can relate to people a hell of a lot more easily here than I've ever (well, almost ever) managed to in real life.
3. I like gossip, drama, getting into people's business sometimes. Idk it's just what I do. When I hear that most Europeans don't do this, it seems weird to me. I love this stuff, I find it hilarious, and makes my own boring life more exciting.

Where'd you hear that most Europeans don't do this? Don't get me wrong, I can believe you have heard it before (I probably have heard something to that effect, too, though I can't seem to remember from where), but I don't think it's true that they don't.
4. I do stereotype a lot (obviously) but trying to cut that down. It's just hard to since everyone here kinda does.

That's okay. Everybody everywhere has their stereotypes. At least you're trying! That's more than I can say for a lot of non-Americans (and Americans, of course).
5. I love the supposedly terrible and unhealthy chemical food here. Well, some of it.

Me, too! And so do lots of foreigners.
I hate Twinkies and McDonald's, but like some other fast food. I mean I try to eat healthy sometimes, it's just hard in the situation I'm in right now (long story). Not to mention, nutritionalists disagree with each other so much on what is and isn't healthy. Especially the people saying grains and starches are unhealthy... so any people who eat pasta and rice a lot are screwed. But anyway, if I traveled abroad, I'd have to bring suitcases full of food. Food from most other countries that I see or hear of seems so gross to me. I'm not even that picky. Though there is a lot of foods here I won't eat too... ketchup, tuna, mustard, "fake" cheese and meats, etc.

I think all of this is really subject to change over time, though. When I was little, pretty much all I ever ate all day were Cheetos and Coke, and now both of those things disgust me. At least in my case, I think it was a matter of gradually getting used to things I would otherwise never touch and figuring out over time what I did or didn't like about certain foods.
6. I only know one language. Of course nobody on this forum likes being like that so I don't need further explanation. And any attempt to learn has pretty much failed.

Actually, you're not alone on this forum. Like I said, being a language learner in this country is hard. People can be really hostile to the idea; I speak from personal experience. I'm lucky I have a family that encourages my interest in languages, but I know a lot of language learners don't.
7. America has the most internet users on English websites (I think China is #1 overall IIRC? but on Chinese sites I'd assume moreso). So I'm pretty disposable.

Well, there's also tons of people around the world (and on this forum) who are trying to learn English, and there's lots of pressure on them to do it, too. The fact that we're native speakers of American English means that we're in a position to help people who are trying to learn it, too. :)
8. I hate my "accent" and voice and suck at doing foreign accents. I mean I sound like a typical autistic kid honestly. Not to be derogatory but I do.

I'm sorry to hear you feel so bad about your voice (among other things) because it's really not something you should have to be ashamed of even though people do often get shamed for their voice. I don't think I'm any good at doing foreign accents either. I've certainly been told I'm not. :P
Tbh I just hate myself to begin with. So this is just one of many things I hate. I'd honestly feel bad if I traveled to another country and the people there had to put up with me... even though I'm concious of all this shit and would try to behave well, I think my social anxiety and whatnot would kick in. I know people worldwide have this but still. Hell, I hate how people here have to put up with me.

I know all of these feelings and didn't even know other people were like this until I was at least two years older than you are now.
Also, I've said this before, if I was traveling abroad, I'd be tempted to tell people I was Canadian if they asked. But I wouldn't want to make Canadians look bad if I was the only one they met. This shit makes me afraid to travel and I do plan on traveling to France but mostly just to meet an online friend. I figure if I'm with him the whole time, he can help me behave acceptably. But like I'd fear if I'm too quiet, it'd be awkward and if I'm too social, I'd be awkward so it's messed up either way.

If it helps at all, I don't think you're the kind of person who makes anyone look bad. I've known that feeling before, too - thinking that I'd embarrass people if they were seen in public with me. It's not true, though. You seem like a nice guy, so I hope that someday, you do feel better about who you are because I think you deserve to. I hope your trip to France goes well, and I'm sure your friend will love hosting you! :)
Ugh sorry I get moody in the late evenings. But most of this is just paranoia I guess.

It's okay. Lots of us are emotional and stuff late at night, including me. It sucks because it can easily prevent me from going to sleep. :x But yeah, you're not alone. Want a hug? :)

User avatar
Meera
Posts: 8740
Joined: 2008-05-27, 22:01
Real Name: Meera
Gender: female
Location: Philadelphia
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby Meera » 2016-01-21, 19:12

vijayjohn wrote:Actually, you're not alone on this forum. Like I said, being a language learner in this country is hard. People can be really hostile to the idea; I speak from personal experience. I'm lucky I have a family that encourages my interest in languages, but I know a lot of language learners don't.


Actually though, I find people way more supportive of language learning here than some other countries. I am honestly not sure about Europe, but In Afghanistan people would support you learning an Afghan language or Arabic but if you wanted to learn something like Chinese people would be like "That is impossible, you are crazy!" :lol:
अहिंसा/เจ
True Love: (hi)
TAC 2017: (hi) (ja) (ko)

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24460
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-21, 19:20

That reminds me of when I told people in India that I was learning Mandarin Chinese. Then some old middle-class lady asked me what gung hei faat choi is (that's not even Mandarin, it's Cantonese! Maybe she spent some time in Hong Kong or something). Then I said, "Well, I don't know the tones, but in Mandarin, it would be gōngxĭ fācái" and they made fun of me for using tones! :lol: It's a traditional Chinese New Year's greeting, and I said that it literally means 'congratulations and prosper'. Then this woman said, "No it means Happy New Year!" :P

User avatar
WallOfStuff
Posts: 619
Joined: 2011-09-20, 0:33
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby WallOfStuff » 2016-01-21, 19:51

Levike wrote:And they actually behaved better than some Erasmus students from certain European countries.
Which ones? :3

Meera wrote:Hey WallOfStuff, I am an Afghan who moved to America and now I am an American citizen. Sometimes America does things that make me embarrassed but I want to tell you you should be thankful you are in America and not a country like Afghanistan. No country is the greatest in the world, but you have the right to free education here, you have a right to whatever religion you want to be, you have freedom of speech, you have the opportunity to learn another language. I'm an atheist and I could never say this publicly in Afghanistan (I could actually go to jail for saying I'm atheist in Afghanistan), in some parts of Afghanistan girls do not even have the right to go to school. And honestly since I have lived in America, Americans have been overwhelming kind to me and respectful to me. Remember every country on earth has it's own problems.
What you say is very agreeable; however, I will point out a few things:

1. "Free education"- a high school diploma won't get you anywhere in life unless you get really lucky. I understand that a lot of countries charge a lot of tuition for even primary education where the USA usually doesn't. But still, without affordable college, it's not useful at all. I can't get a job making a living right now.

2. "Freedom of religion"- with how Muslims are treated here... ehhhhh.

vijayjohn wrote:
WallOfStuff wrote:Okay so I know I'm like the king of angsty emo rants but I just can't get past this.

I know what you mean because I've felt similarly before about when I wanted to rant about something, but it's not really an angsty emo rant. I find that when we're anxious and have difficulty overcoming it, part of the reason for that can be because we have a lot we want to get off our chest, but we're scared to say it because of how people may judge us for saying it. In reality, though, I think we feel it's more of a nuisance to people than it really is. The truth is that if people don't want to read it, well then, they just don't have to read it! ;) And it is important for us to get things off our chest at some point instead of just bottling them up inside forever, so kudos to you for doing that!
See, you're already a lot smarter than almost anybody I interact with.
vijayjohn wrote:
I just feel ashamed. After hearing complaints of American tourists, visitors, exchange, etc.

I don't think I've ever seen a single American user on this forum say they were proud to be American. If anything, I feel as if all of us fellow American users know what you mean by that. Shit is fucked up in this country, man. I mean, for instance, I guess there are some things I like about this country, but there have always been certain things that deeply bothered me about it. It's difficult to be a language learner in a country where everybody seems to assume the whole world just speaks English.
Well yeah, the forum users here are not the stereotype at all. But they're an exception.
vijayjohn wrote:
3. I like gossip, drama, getting into people's business sometimes. Idk it's just what I do. When I hear that most Europeans don't do this, it seems weird to me. I love this stuff, I find it hilarious, and makes my own boring life more exciting.

Where'd you hear that most Europeans don't do this? Don't get me wrong, I can believe you have heard it before (I probably have heard something to that effect, too, though I can't seem to remember from where), but I don't think it's true that they don't.
I talk to a lot of Finns especially, they hate this kinda stuff from what I'm told. And some from other European countries hate it too.
vijayjohn wrote:
6. I only know one language. Of course nobody on this forum likes being like that so I don't need further explanation. And any attempt to learn has pretty much failed.

Actually, you're not alone on this forum. Like I said, being a language learner in this country is hard. People can be really hostile to the idea; I speak from personal experience. I'm lucky I have a family that encourages my interest in languages, but I know a lot of language learners don't.
Well also, you said your family is from India, right? Maybe that's why. My American white family discourages it, pretty much.
vijayjohn wrote:
7. America has the most internet users on English websites (I think China is #1 overall IIRC? but on Chinese sites I'd assume moreso). So I'm pretty disposable.

Well, there's also tons of people around the world (and on this forum) who are trying to learn English, and there's lots of pressure on them to do it, too. The fact that we're native speakers of American English means that we're in a position to help people who are trying to learn it, too. :)
I suck a teaching but have helped a few people.
vijayjohn wrote:
Tbh I just hate myself to begin with. So this is just one of many things I hate. I'd honestly feel bad if I traveled to another country and the people there had to put up with me... even though I'm concious of all this shit and would try to behave well, I think my social anxiety and whatnot would kick in. I know people worldwide have this but still. Hell, I hate how people here have to put up with me.

I know all of these feelings and didn't even know other people were like this until I was at least two years older than you are now.
I wish nobody had to feel this way, honestly. =\
vijayjohn wrote:
Ugh sorry I get moody in the late evenings. But most of this is just paranoia I guess.

It's okay. Lots of us are emotional and stuff late at night, including me. It sucks because it can easily prevent me from going to sleep. :x But yeah, you're not alone. Want a hug? :)
My sleep pattern is awful. x.x And yes, kinda. >.<

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24460
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-21, 20:40

WallOfStuff wrote:See, you're already a lot smarter than almost anybody I interact with.

Aww, thanks! :D I've had pretty similar experiences to you, so...and the only people I interact with all day long in real life are my parents, so yeah. :lol:
Well also, you said your family is from India, right? Maybe that's why. My American white family discourages it, pretty much.

Yeah, that's part of the reason. Also, it's my dad's side of the family in particular that encourages it because it's more intellectually oriented and stuff.
I suck a teaching but have helped a few people.

Yeah, that's what I mean. Just helping, you know, by saying stuff like "oh actually we'd say X rather than Y." :)
vijayjohn wrote:It's okay. Lots of us are emotional and stuff late at night, including me. It sucks because it can easily prevent me from going to sleep. :x But yeah, you're not alone. Want a hug? :)
My sleep pattern is awful. x.x And yes, kinda. >.<

:hug:

User avatar
Levike
Posts: 6153
Joined: 2013-04-22, 19:26
Real Name: Levi
Gender: male
Location: Budapest
Country: HU Hungary (Magyarország)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby Levike » 2016-01-21, 20:55

WallOfStuff wrote:
Levike wrote:And they actually behaved better than some Erasmus students from certain European countries.
Which ones? :3

Let's not gossip! :nope:
Nem egy nap alatt épült Buda vára.

User avatar
TheStrayCat
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2596
Joined: 2010-12-23, 11:49
Real Name: Max
Gender: male
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby TheStrayCat » 2016-01-22, 4:24

First of all, WallOfStuff, I'm sorry that your mental condition makes you feels worse about yourself. I know that feeling, and I believe you're definitely not the bad person you think you are.

You see, we often pay much more attention to our weakness than to others', and it just means that others probably pay far less attention to ours than we might expect. As long as you see your bad sides and are open about them, what should you be ashamed of? Nobody's perfect.

Now, about America and Americans. As Meera said, each country and each nationality has its good and bad sides. It is only up to us to decide who we want to be in this society. No one can force you to be mean, stupid or ignorant. If you are interested in reading this, I can compare my experiences with people in America and in my home country, just because your topic looks very suitable for this.

WallOfStuff wrote:1. I'm stupid. Like, incredibly stupid. My American family, friends, etc. call me stupid. I'm also autistic and apparently borderline mentally retarded (but not quite there). I feel uneducated, ignorant, etc. Trying to change it does nothing. I know nothing about politics. It just doesn't interest me.


If you are seriously autistic (I'll trust you here), this does not make you stupid. It is a medical condition you can live with. In case you wonder, in most countries people stigmatize mental health more than they do in the States.

WallOfStuff wrote:2. I'm not in shape and "lazy" but the lazy part could be depression. But I've always been this way. Always hated physical activity. Only reason I'm not fat is my metabolism, and when I get older, I guarentee I will be. I don't feel so bad about this actually because I'm not attracted to people who are too skinny (no offense, skinny people). My sister's boyfriend is Japanese and he loves that she's heavier, he doesn't like skinny girls.


Well, when I was back in Ukraine, I didn't like it either (I was born with some heart issues and I had to attend a special class). After moving to America, I decided to exercise regularly and I'm still doing it without any aversion. When I feel depressed, it's sometimes helpful too. It's just about willpower and overcoming yourself.

WallOfStuff wrote:3. I like gossip, drama, getting into people's business sometimes. Idk it's just what I do. When I hear that most Europeans don't do this, it seems weird to me. I love this stuff, I find it hilarious, and makes my own boring life more exciting.

4. I do stereotype a lot (obviously) but trying to cut that down. It's just hard to since everyone here kinda does.


From my experience, Americans are generally more tactful than many other people. If in a conversation you tell an American that you don't want to discuss something, most likely you won't have to. Unfortunately, it's not the case with many Ukrainians I know. As for stereotyping, I think, its prevalence in this country is exaggerated because of people's own intention to minimize it for the sake of absolute tolerance. Come on, in America you'll never find a magazine with jokes about Russians/Brits/Frenchmen/whatever nationalities. Even Europeans are usually more comfortable with this.

WallOfStuff wrote:5. I love the supposedly terrible and unhealthy chemical food here. Well, some of it. I hate Twinkies and McDonald's, but like some other fast food. I mean I try to eat healthy sometimes, it's just hard in the situation I'm in right now (long story). Not to mention, nutritionalists disagree with each other so much on what is and isn't healthy. Especially the people saying grains and starches are unhealthy... so any people who eat pasta and rice a lot are screwed. But anyway, if I traveled abroad, I'd have to bring suitcases full of food. Food from most other countries that I see or hear of seems so gross to me. I'm not even that picky. Though there is a lot of foods here I won't eat too... ketchup, tuna, mustard, "fake" cheese and meats, etc.


True, America has a wide variety of junk food places, but just as well it has a lot of restaurants designed for serving fresh and healthy food. It looks like the people's awareness of their own health is gradually growing. In the city where I live, for example, there is only one McDonalds in the outskirts where it's not easy to get without a car, and one Burger King in downtown, which never looks overcrowded.

WallOfStuff wrote:I only know one language. Of course nobody on this forum likes being like that so I don't need further explanation. And any attempt to learn has pretty much failed.

8. I hate my "accent" and voice and suck at doing foreign accents. I mean I sound like a typical autistic kid honestly. Not to be derogatory but I do.


I'm not sure either of these has to do with you being American. I obviously know very little about your background, talents, attitudes and so on, but the main reason why Europeans speak more languages is that they need it, with some other, less evident, reasons being directly related to this. I know a lot of Americans who are proficient in other languages because they were motivated to learn them for certain reasons, and similarly a lot of Europeans (outside of English-speaking countries) who only speak their native tongue. It is true that your surroundings can influence you to some extent, but not to the point where they'll decide what you should do. By the way, I do have a Slavic accent in English and it doesn't make me feel ashamed. Why should it if it's another part of my identity?

I could write here about some different things which I dislike about America, but overall I think my answer is comprehensive enough to let others see how I view some basic differences between the US and my home country (or Europe in general). So, WallOfStuff, if you'd happened to be born in France or China, how do you know that you wouldn't be ashamed of being French or Chinese?

User avatar
WallOfStuff
Posts: 619
Joined: 2011-09-20, 0:33
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby WallOfStuff » 2016-01-22, 9:43

TheStrayCat wrote:I'm not sure either of these has to do with you being American. I obviously know very little about your background, talents, attitudes and so on, but the main reason why Europeans speak more languages is that they need it, with some other, less evident, reasons being directly related to this. I know a lot of Americans who are proficient in other languages because they were motivated to learn them for certain reasons, and similarly a lot of Europeans (outside of English-speaking countries) who only speak their native tongue. It is true that your surroundings can influence you to some extent, but not to the point where they'll decide what you should do. By the way, I do have a Slavic accent in English and it doesn't make me feel ashamed. Why should it if it's another part of my identity?

I could write here about some different things which I dislike about America, but overall I think my answer is comprehensive enough to let others see how I view some basic differences between the US and my home country (or Europe in general). So, WallOfStuff, if you'd happened to be born in France or China, how do you know that you wouldn't be ashamed of being French or Chinese?

All you need to know about my talents is they don't exist. Lol.

And I love French and Chinese people but I get what you're saying. I can't know any "what if" questions for sure.

By the way, I have a question. I have a friend who claims he's from Ukraine... I told him about how my great grandparents were from Odessa, and he had no idea what that was. Is that normal? I thought that was kind of a big city. I mean, the guy was an alcoholic so maybe that's why, but still.

User avatar
TheStrayCat
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2596
Joined: 2010-12-23, 11:49
Real Name: Max
Gender: male
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby TheStrayCat » 2016-01-22, 21:30

WallOfStuff wrote:By the way, I have a question. I have a friend who claims he's from Ukraine... I told him about how my great grandparents were from Odessa, and he had no idea what that was. Is that normal? I thought that was kind of a big city. I mean, the guy was an alcoholic so maybe that's why, but still.


It's the third largest city of the country and quite a popular summer resort, not to mention its cultural significance. I cannot imagine a Ukrainian citizen who would never have heard of it. It's like an American who doesn't know what Chicago is. Are you sure that guy wasn't dead drunk when he told you that? :)

User avatar
WallOfStuff
Posts: 619
Joined: 2011-09-20, 0:33
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby WallOfStuff » 2016-01-23, 6:27

TheStrayCat wrote:
WallOfStuff wrote:By the way, I have a question. I have a friend who claims he's from Ukraine... I told him about how my great grandparents were from Odessa, and he had no idea what that was. Is that normal? I thought that was kind of a big city. I mean, the guy was an alcoholic so maybe that's why, but still.


It's the third largest city of the country and quite a popular summer resort, not to mention its cultural significance. I cannot imagine a Ukrainian citizen who would never have heard of it. It's like an American who doesn't know what Chicago is. Are you sure that guy wasn't dead drunk when he told you that? :)

I only met him after he went to rehab. So he doesn't drink anymore. He's a straight-edge now. And he definitely was not drunk. If I recall correctly, we were at an event doing wood burning... a drunk doing that isn't a good idea, he could burn himself. Plus he didn't seem drunk at all.

I meant, maybe the alcohol in the past gave him permanent brain damage. It did to my mom too. =(

Koko
Posts: 5358
Joined: 2013-11-29, 6:50
Real Name: Jon Stockman
Gender: male
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby Koko » 2016-01-24, 7:20

I'm a little bit of an antinationalismist (self-coined term :whistle: ), so I'm actually glad that there's another person who refuses to identify themselves as/with a nation. Albeit, the way it seems to be affecting you isn't great, but you should try accepting it.

Rather than being ashamed of being an "American," you can just think of it as shame as being born in the same country as a bunch of idiots. Heck, being in BC right now with this fricking monster Christy Clark as our unfortunate premier is absolutely, utterly embarrassing! But since I don't feel any sense of pride towards the term "British Columbian," let alone "Canadian" (k, sometimes I am a little proud of being Canadian, but I never understand what exactly makes me proud when those once-in-a-blue-moon instances occur), it just means I won't feel like I'm really betraying anybody if I move to another province/country. (Florence, Tuscany, Italy is waiting for me :twisted: )

Own this feeling, WallOfStuff! Become another antinationalismist! Join me in my reign of tyranny as we conquer the Koreas and form SRK/SRCK!! :twisted:

User avatar
TheStrayCat
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 2596
Joined: 2010-12-23, 11:49
Real Name: Max
Gender: male
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby TheStrayCat » 2016-01-26, 4:18

WallOfStuff wrote:I only met him after he went to rehab. So he doesn't drink anymore. He's a straight-edge now. And he definitely was not drunk. If I recall correctly, we were at an event doing wood burning... a drunk doing that isn't a good idea, he could burn himself. Plus he didn't seem drunk at all.

I meant, maybe the alcohol in the past gave him permanent brain damage. It did to my mom too. =(


Sadly, that's also possible. :( I assume he also might have misheard the name, but I cannot make any reliable suggestions without hearing the whole conversation.

User avatar
WallOfStuff
Posts: 619
Joined: 2011-09-20, 0:33
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby WallOfStuff » 2016-01-26, 4:57

TheStrayCat wrote:
WallOfStuff wrote:I only met him after he went to rehab. So he doesn't drink anymore. He's a straight-edge now. And he definitely was not drunk. If I recall correctly, we were at an event doing wood burning... a drunk doing that isn't a good idea, he could burn himself. Plus he didn't seem drunk at all.

I meant, maybe the alcohol in the past gave him permanent brain damage. It did to my mom too. =(


Sadly, that's also possible. :( I assume he also might have misheard the name, but I cannot make any reliable suggestions without hearing the whole conversation.
I don't know how long he's been in the USA- he speaks perfect American English without a Ukranian or foreign accent. Maybe just his parents are from Ukraine, or he came here as a young child, so he never learned the history. I think he speaks the language... I'm not even sure, but if he does, I don't think he's fluent. I don't think he's lying at all because his name (both first and last) is obviously Slavic in origin... coincidentally, the current mayor of Odessa, according to Wikipedia, shares the same first name as him.

uzferry

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby uzferry » 2016-04-02, 13:14

I'm lost. Excuse me for not being the sharpest tool in the shed, but what does this have to do with being American? You mean there are some standards inherent to the USA and you don't feel like you're meeting those standards?
If so, I don't know, you've just described 80% of people I know, including myself. We all have some negative attributes, but that's not what makes person a person (or not).
Not everyone is a genius and we all have our "hurr durr" moments, but does that mean that we all generally are stupid? Probably not. And I don't know anyone with an endless motivation to do stuff, but somehow eventually they just force themselves. Or not. It's just the nature of human being I guess, most people I know are like that. Don't oversaturate the colors it I would say, but that's just me. :hmm:

User avatar
WallOfStuff
Posts: 619
Joined: 2011-09-20, 0:33
Gender: male
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby WallOfStuff » 2016-04-07, 4:18

uzferry wrote:I'm lost. Excuse me for not being the sharpest tool in the shed, but what does this have to do with being American? You mean there are some standards inherent to the USA and you don't feel like you're meeting those standards?
If so, I don't know, you've just described 80% of people I know, including myself. We all have some negative attributes, but that's not what makes person a person (or not).
Not everyone is a genius and we all have our "hurr durr" moments, but does that mean that we all generally are stupid? Probably not. And I don't know anyone with an endless motivation to do stuff, but somehow eventually they just force themselves. Or not. It's just the nature of human being I guess, most people I know are like that. Don't oversaturate the colors it I would say, but that's just me. :hmm:

Idk, I just feel like I've talked to a few people from other countries who always bring up bad things about Americans for seemingly no reason... maybe they're just trolling.

User avatar
johnklepac
Posts: 2809
Joined: 2012-12-06, 2:18
Real Name: Your Onions
Gender: male
Location: Chicago/Southwest Ohio
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby johnklepac » 2016-04-26, 14:47

WallOfStuff wrote:
uzferry wrote:I'm lost. Excuse me for not being the sharpest tool in the shed, but what does this have to do with being American? You mean there are some standards inherent to the USA and you don't feel like you're meeting those standards?
If so, I don't know, you've just described 80% of people I know, including myself. We all have some negative attributes, but that's not what makes person a person (or not).
Not everyone is a genius and we all have our "hurr durr" moments, but does that mean that we all generally are stupid? Probably not. And I don't know anyone with an endless motivation to do stuff, but somehow eventually they just force themselves. Or not. It's just the nature of human being I guess, most people I know are like that. Don't oversaturate the colors it I would say, but that's just me. :hmm:

Idk, I just feel like I've talked to a few people from other countries who always bring up bad things about Americans for seemingly no reason... maybe they're just trolling.

Maybe they just have a bad impression of Americans from the jerks who have tended to come to their country or what they've seen from American movies and TV shows. More than likely there's a bit of values dissonance at work: things Americans find acceptable (or not) are the other way around in their society, and they blame this on the individual. Either way, hating Americans is a pastime like no other, so I find it most helpful to own my identity and be proud of it. "Yeah, I'm an American and I'm actively trying to be nice to you, so if you're still being hostile, who's the insensitive jerk here?"

Anyway, I've read through this thread and though I'm not sure I really have anything concrete to add, I just want to encourage you not to give up. The US has to be one of the least friendly countries towards language learning in the world, not only because of the hegemony of English but our latent xenophobia in many cases, and despite all the progress in educating average citizens about what being autistic means, there's still a gigantic amount of ignorance.

If it helps, I'm not the person to naturally know what's going on in the world either, beyond basic facts like you'll see on the Yahoo homepage or people discussing them on Facebook. I always get embarrassed when I'm with political buffs and they try holding a conversation about history or politics beyond just what's happened in the 2016 election (like, I didn't even know what Martin O'Malley looked like until the first or second Democratic debate). I'm trying to remedy this by picking up the New York Times whenever possible, since they have free copies at my school cafeteria, and setting my Google Chrome browser to open up the BBC homepage whenever I open a new window. As for language learning, I'll assume you're not in any classes right now, so I mainly use online tools like Duolingo and Memrise, as well as flashcards, to learn; I'm learning Arabic that way. Believe me, I am NOT naturally that good at languages, but by making a routine of practicing every single day (and trying to talk to people online and having them correct my mistakes), I'm getting sort of conversational after a couple years. No one learns the same way, so if you want to learn a foreign language (and I am convinced you are intelligent enough if you managed to type all of this out), you need to just try as many methods as you can and keep plugging away at it until you start seeing results.

Hope this was helpful; I just empathize very greatly with the struggles of being "out-of-it".

User avatar
Prowler
Posts: 1958
Joined: 2013-07-19, 5:09
Gender: male
Country: PT Portugal (Portugal)

Re: I feel ashamed to be American

Postby Prowler » 2016-06-09, 0:53

You're just an individual. You can't control others.

A lot of people are stupid and/or ignorant. It's not your fault.

Who cares, really? No need to let your nationality hurt your self-esteem to such a point.


Return to “Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron