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    (Original post by frost105)
    I'd say it was ignorance to assume all Americans are the same. I'd hate for someone to say I was a lacoste wearing, dole collecting, tan loving, blonde permed liverpudlian!
    Obviously. I am not saying that every individual from the US is ignorant and unintelligent. That does not mean, however, that this is not the case of Americans as a people.
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    (Original post by oldthrashbarg)
    I think Europeans generally have a greater capacity for understanding other cultures,
    understanding or appreciating? again, from my experience, the Frenchman and the Brit whine their way through a vacation abroad about how its 'not like home'. If youve ever been on holiday and met other Britons you cannot honestly say they embrace the native culture. While an American may not blend in, their enthusiasm and humility for what they believe is a fantasticially culture rich environment is unparalled. You can tell the US tourists to Paris a mile off, they are usually smiling or looking upbeat, spend all day trying everything native, and in awe of the various attractions. Every Brit Ive met is in the Irish bar, moaning about the food or can we get the Premiership on. The Americans are proud to be American and display this with often loud joviality. Preferable to sulking with an england shirt on.

    and accepting them as equal to their own.
    such as American culture? or Chinese culture? or Russian culture? i think not.

    Americans seem to consider their own country and (lack of) culture the norm.
    evidently, theyre American. this is essentially the point, all these assessments of American attitudes is taken from a position that European culture is the norm and to be appreciated by default and arent the Americans so ignorant to not actually realise this from birth. It is highly arrogant to talk of American ignorance of European culture, when most Europeans believe their own culture to be superior to that of the US(practically everyone on this thread has expressed such a sentiment) and have actually very little knowledge of any of the US states. For instance, a French colleague was telling a story about how an American he knew came to spend some time in Paris, and when informing his friends of the journey, had needed to correct them when they believed he was going to Paris, Texas. Of course, how could those ignorant Americans possibly mistake a popular tourist Texan town for the centre of the world???
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    such as American culture? or Chinese culture? or Russian culture? i think not.


    evidently, theyre American. this is essentially the point, all these assessments of American attitudes is taken from a position that European culture is the norm and to be appreciated by default and arent the Americans so ignorant to not actually realise this from birth. It is highly arrogant to talk of American ignorance of European culture, when most Europeans believe their own culture to be superior to that of the US(practically everyone on this thread has expressed such a sentiment) and have actually very little knowledge of any of the US states. For instance, a French colleague was telling a story about how an American he knew came to spend some time in Paris, and when informing his friends of the journey, had needed to correct them when they believed he was going to Paris, Texas. Of course, how could those ignorant Americans possibly mistake a popular tourist Texan town for the centre of the world???
    I would say that Europeans consider Chinese culture as equal to their own. Russian culture is a messy mix of European and Asian, and so is a little hard to pin down. The crux, I think, is that many Europeans don't acknowledge the existence (or worth) of such a thing as American culture. Whether this is cultural arrogance or a justified position, is very much a question of opinion.
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    (Original post by oldthrashbarg)
    I would say that Europeans consider Chinese culture as equal to their own.
    i dont believe Americans see it as inferior either

    The crux, I think, is that many Europeans don't acknowledge the existence (or worth) of such a thing as American culture..
    which says a great deal to me. American culture exists, not least by the fact that we relate it to European culture.
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    (Original post by frost105)
    I met loads of great americans when i was there in California and it really changed my views on the people of america. I had the stereotype of fat, dull lazy, loud, ignorant people in my head and met soem really cool people instead.
    I dont agree with all of Americas policies and I didnt agree with the invasion of Iraq but there are lots of things I disagree with in different countries including my own.
    I'd say it was ignorance to assume all Americans are the same. I'd hate for someone to say I was a lacoste wearing, dole collecting, tan loving, blonde permed liverpudlian!
    I'm glad to hear that you're not stereotyping all Americans and dumping them in one basket. Yes, there are plenty of ugly Americans, but you find that everwhere. I've never met an American that disliked the Brits, we consider them our staunchest ally, and most americans appreciate that and realize that we need the UK. We thank you, though I can't speak for all
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    which says a great deal to me. American culture exists, not least by the fact that we relate it to European culture.
    Possibly, but that does not mean that it should be viewed as comparable in worth to European or Chinese culture.
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    understanding or appreciating? again, from my experience, the Frenchman and the Brit whine their way through a vacation abroad about how its 'not like home'. If youve ever been on holiday and met other Britons you cannot honestly say they embrace the native culture. While an American may not blend in, their enthusiasm and humility for what they believe is a fantasticially culture rich environment is unparalled. You can tell the US tourists to Paris a mile off, they are usually smiling or looking upbeat, spend all day trying everything native, and in awe of the various attractions. Every Brit Ive met is in the Irish bar, moaning about the food or can we get the Premiership on. The Americans are proud to be American and display this with often loud joviality. Preferable to sulking with an england shirt on.
    You know, you're drawing an interesting parallel to Britain in the 19th Century.
    Back then we were like the Americans when abroad - mixing with the natives and trying out their stuff; adopting their words and so on. We did this far more than any other European country, who tended to look down their noses so much at other cultures that they became hated by these cultures before the British began to get kicked out of India and other colonies.
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    (Original post by oldthrashbarg)
    Possibly, but that does not mean that it should be viewed as comparable in worth to European or Chinese culture.
    oh?
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    which countries? European ones? From my experience the average American has a better knowledge of a continent such as Asia than the average European.
    Well, you're experience must be extremely limited. I've lived in the US for over 3 years now and in my experience the majority of Americans can't name the State next door let alone demonstrate a "better knowledge of a continent such as Asia than the average European"

    Get real Vienna. 70 odd % of Americans don't even have a passport.
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    oh?
    Its had nowhere near the same impact as the aforementioned obviously. Not to say it wont be considered in the same context in a century or two (its hard to imagine it not.)
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    (Original post by oldthrashbarg)
    As I said, I'm only talking about my (limited) experience. Perhaps "knowledge" is not the correct word. I think Europeans generally have a greater capacity for understanding other cultures, and accepting them as equal to their own. Americans seem to consider their own country and (lack of) culture the norm.
    Europeans inevitably have a greater capacity for udnerstanding other cultures, the US would be the same if each state had its own language and truly distinct culture with over a millenia of interaction.
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    (Original post by Howard)
    I've lived in the US for over 3 years now and in my experience the majority of Americans can't name the State next door let alone demonstrate a "better knowledge of a continent such as Asia than the average European"
    neither can the majority of Britain.
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    Well, sorry, but the truth is, when pertaining to countries/geography, Americans score lower than Europeans.

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geosurvey/

    In a nation called the world's superpower, only 17 percent of young adults in the United States could find Afghanistan on a map, according to a new worldwide survey released today.

    The young U.S. citizens received poor marks generally in geography. But then, as results showed, their counterparts in other countries were hardly star students.

    The National Geographic–Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.

    John Fahey, National Geographic CEO and president

    John Fahey, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society, presented results of the The National Geographic–2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey, which polled more than 3,000 18- to-24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.

    Sweden scored highest; Mexico, lowest. The U.S. was next to last.

    "The survey demonstrates the geographic illiteracy of the United States," said Robert Pastor, professor of International Relations at American University, in Washington, D.C. "The results are particularly appalling in light of September 11, which traumatized America and revealed that our destiny is connected to the rest of the world."

    About 11 percent of young citizens of the U.S. couldn't even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean's location was a mystery to 29 percent; Japan, to 58 percent; France, to 65 percent; and the United Kingdom, to 69 percent.

    Are Young U.S. Citizens Americentric?

    Despite the threat of war in Iraq and the daily reports of suicide bombers in Israel, less than 15 percent of the young U.S. citizens could locate either country.

    More young U.S. citizens in the study knew that the island featured in last season's TV show "Survivor" is in the South Pacific than could find Israel.

    Particularly humiliating was that all countries were better able to identify the U.S. population than many young U.S. citizens. Within the U.S., almost one-third said that population was between one billion and two billion; the answer is 289 million.

    "It gives the sense that there is this Americentric thing going on—that we are big and powerful and have all these people in our country," said John Fahey, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society.

    On the other hand, Pastor suggests that the results could mean that most young Americans just have no idea of the total world population (about six billion).

    Poor Geographic Literacy Worldwide

    Young adults worldwide are not markedly more literate about geography than the Americans.

    On average, fewer than 25 percent of young people worldwide could locate Israel on the map. Only about 20 percent could identify hotspots like Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

    Of all the young adults in the survey, only about one-third in Germany, Sweden and Japan, could name four countries that officially acknowledge having nuclear weapons. In the rest of the countries that number dropped to less than a quarter. In France 24 percent did not know that that their own country was a nuclear nation.

    The survey results are not all bleak, says Roger Downs, head of the geography department at Pennsylvania State University, in State College, and a National Geographic geographer-in-residence in 1995-1996.

    Geography Not Valued in Schools

    Since the last Geographic-sponsored survey in 1988, said Downs, the percentage of young U.S. citizens who reported taking a geography course in school rose from 30 to 55 percent. And students who had studied geography did better on the current survey.

    U.S. schools generally have slighted geography. "If geography is not in the curriculum," Downs said, "it's not tested—and that says to the students that it is not valued."

    The schools are not solely to blame, either. "Wouldn't it be nice if parents also read atlases to their children?" Downs says.

    Questions covering current events or practical activities yielded more promising results.

    Most young U.S. citizens knew that Africa was most affected by the AIDS epidemic, and about half knew that El Niño caused erratic weather.

    "When geography and life intersect, people pay attention," said Nick Boyon, senior vice president for international research at RoperASW, in Manhattan.

    Boosting Geography

    Geographic knowledge increases through travel and language proficiency, among other factors.

    In the highest-scoring countries—Sweden, Germany and Italy—at least 70 percent of the young adults had traveled internationally in the last three years, and the majority spoke more than one language (in Sweden, 92 and 89 percent, respectively).

    In the U.S. and Mexico only about 20 percent had traveled abroad during the same period and the majority spoke only one language.

    To fight geographic ignorance, and apathy, among young people in the U.S. and around the world, the National Geographic Society will convene an international coalition of leaders in American business, education and media.

    Next year the panel will recommend initiatives to policymakers in those areas—and to parents and children.
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    (Original post by Howard)
    70 odd % of Americans don't even have a passport.
    Don't equate a lack of passport for not knowing about other countries. I know lots about a variety of countries that I've never been to.
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    (Original post by daiquiri)
    Well, sorry, but the truth is, when pertaining to countries/geography, Americans score lower than Europeans.

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geosurvey/
    doesnt really tell us anything that we didnt already know. where does it say Americans score lower?

    the fact that a Swede is more internationally travelled is hardly surprising bearing in mind he only has to pop across the border. the nature of Europe is permissive of cross-border travel and a diversity of languages, but does not really suggest that they are less ignorant on the whole than any other national, US or otherwise.
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    I don't dislike Americans.
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    (Original post by vienna95)
    doesnt really tell us anything that we didnt already know. where does it say Americans score lower?

    the fact that a Swede is more internationally travelled is hardly surprising bearing in mind he only has to pop across the border. the nature of Europe is permissive of cross-border travel and a diversity of languages, but does not really suggest that they are less ignorant on the whole than any other national, US or otherwise.
    Even when Europeans knew the US population better than Americans did?

    And please, take some time to read the survey before criticizing. The National Geographic is a world-renowned source of information.
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    (Original post by oldthrashbarg)
    I don't think this explains it entirely. In my experience Europeans are generally better informed about other countries than people from the US, even those that they have never visited. Europeans don't seem to have the same feeling that their home is the centre of the world.
    Many of the European posters don't know the first thing about the United States. This whole forum is filled with distortions, misrepresentations, and outright lies.

    I would be really surprised if the majority of Europeans weren't knowledgable about all the countries Europe is comprised of. Europe is a small continent and is several times smaller than the United States, so it is very easy to visit a variety of different countries due to their close proximity.
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    (Original post by daiquiri)
    Even when Europeans knew the US population better than Americans did?

    And please, take some time to read the survey before criticizing. The National Geographic is a world-renowned source of information.
    Why should anyone care about the population estimate? It seems like a pointless fact to memorize. I can't think of a practical purpose for knowing that
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    Knowlege of geography means very little. Anyone can memorize a map. It's doesn't make them any more/less ignorant than someone that hasn't spent the time memorizing a map.

    When I was in the 8th grade, we had an exam where we were all handed a blank map and were required to fill in the names of all 50 states. Each correctly labeled state was worth 2 points, so getting them all would score you 100%. I only needed to spend about 2 hours to study and get a perfect score. Did that make someone like me, with (at the time) an eight grade education, less ignorant than a rhodes scholar that might only be able to name 49 of the 50 states? This discussion is ridiculous. How can one judge the people of an entire nation based on some statistics on reading a map?
 
 
 
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