The Blog of Dabido (the Baka one). Everything in this blog is copyrighted. Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006 by D. Stevenson.

10 January, 2005

"We Don't Want To Be Americans"

I just received a SPAM from a Greencard Lotteries company, which started "Don't Miss your chance to become an American". Obviously it is aimed at people who want to become Americans, but it did bring up two pet hates I have regarding some (yes, I said SOME not ALL) Americans. I keep running into two favourite beliefs these Americans have. The first is the belief that "everyone in the world wants to be an American". The second is "those who don't want to be an American, secretly do, but are jealous of America". (In fact, the second one crops up anytime someone has any sort of grievance with the US or one of it's citizens. They always fall back on the "You're just jealous" argument). Now, do not take this the wrong way. I am not bringing these up as an American Bashing exercise (another favourite for Americans to fall back on to supplement the "you're just jealous" argument). I am bringing it up, as these beliefs are pretty much fallacies, and most non-Americans I know, are pretty much sick and tired of hearing them. I am not even sure if it is a majority or a minority of Americans who believe these lies. If it is a minority they are pretty vocal about it. First of all, let me explain something. I have lived in more countries than just Australia. I lived in Malaysia and Singapore for 3.5 years. As well as having been to the US (Hawaii) and Europe. (Which hopefully I will get to again one day, stopping off in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan along the way). Never have I met anyone who wanted to be an American. (Except Americans). I am not saying these people do not exist, but I sincerely doubt that they are a majority, and I certainly know for a fact that most non-American people I have met on my travels do not want to be Americans. In fact, most people I have met, are very proud of the nationality that they are. (With possible exceptions of some Germans who are still hung up on WWII. If you are under Sixty Five years of age, stop apologising. You were not there!) I used to play American Football. That does not mean I want to be an American. I also used to do Karate. No one would suggest that I wanted to be Japanese because of that. Anyway, one day, I was approached to play Baseball. Now, I hate watching bat and ball sports. I find both Cricket and Baseball to be boring to watch. I can play them, but can not stand it if I am on the sideline waiting for my turn to bat. So, when this guy approached me to play Baseball (he knew I was playing American Football), I had to say, "No". He replied, "But, don't you want to be an American?" "No!" "But everyone wants to be an American!" Do they teach this in US schools? I hope not. I hope it is just a fallacy that has come about over time, that will one day correct itself. You do not hear non-Americans telling people that you want to be their nationality. In fact, I was told by some Japanese people that they find they idea of Gaijin (non-Japanese) wanting to become Japanese very strange. Yet, time and time again, I and many of my friends have had Americans tell us that we supposedly want to be Americans. Aaaarrrrggghhh! Now, most Americans whom I know, usually have travelled a bit, and realise the truth. They do not come out with the "But, everyone wants to be an American" line. I'm not sure if they made a few faux pas along the way and learned from it, or if they were smart enough to know it before they left the US. I do not have a problem with these people. They are pretty cool. (As are all my friends). The ones I have a problem with, are the ones who keep perpetuating these myths. They also have trouble understanding why people get upset when they make these statements. Statement one: "But everyone wants to be an American." Do Americans really believe the rest of the world are so unpatriotic towards their own country? Surely the US has fought enough wars to realise that people in foreign countries do care what happens to their country. If the statement was true, there would not have been a Vietnam war. People care passionately about their countries, and when it gets suggested that they want to be an American, of course it will rub them the wrong way. My suggestion to any American who likes to use this statement, is think before you put your foot in your mouth. Unless the person has actually said they would like to be an American, then do not even suggest that they might. You will save yourself some embarrassment and will stop you aggravating foreigners. Statement Two: "You're just Jealous." Why? Just because I tell an American that I am happy being an Aussie, somehow they jump to the conclusion I am jealous and secretly want to be an American. Is it so unbelievable that the majority of the world likes being who they are? If I ever go to the US, it will either be on a holiday, or for work reasons. Possibly, I might go there to study one day, but I have no intention of doing that yet. Other than that, I doubt there is any other reason for me to go to the US. Well, maybe if they offer me a free Space Shuttle flight, but that would come under the holiday category. My suggestion to any American, if someone says they don't want to be an American, regardless of how incredible this may seem to you, try to believe it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that people on this planet all have different views and different opinions. Most people, and I am talking five billion people plus, like being who they are, and that includes the fact that they are not American. It is not anti-American to be happy being a non-American, so don't assume there is some hidden agenda. Just stick yourselves in their shoes for a minute. Would you not find it incredible if someone from another country claimed you wanted to secretly be their nationality. Then when you deny it, they claim you are secretly jealous. So please, if you ever meet me, or my fellow non-Americans out there, don't assume we want to be you. We do not. We are happy being us, not US.