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The Lake News Online
  • My view: Looking at America from an outside perspective

  • When you stitch together the metaphorical fabrics of the various cultures of the world, you get a vibrant, confused mess of a tapestry.
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  • When you stitch together the metaphorical fabrics of the various cultures of the world, you get a vibrant, confused mess of a tapestry.
    It’s a wonderful thing that we aren’t all alike — what a boring life that would be.
    I find diversity to be a boon of opportunity for personal growth and greater understanding. One of my biggest pet peeves is assuming your way is the right way without considering the alternative. As we’ve all heard before, if you haven’t tried it, don’t knock it.
    One of the best ways to look at oneself is through the lens of another.
    For example, if foreigners looked at Americans’ opinions of them, they might see that the Japanese have strange interests, the British are sullen and that Australians are aloof.
    I came across an project on www.thoughtcatalog.com that asked foreigners who live in the U.S. or visited the U.S. for an extended period of time what American norms they found strange or odd.
    The results may be surprising to some.
    One of the most common observations by foreigners is the inordinate amount of patriotism Americans have.
    What a compliment!
    We in America have a lot of unbridled pride in our country — heck, we became a world superpower in just two centuries. It’s a little sad to me that other countries don’t have that source of national pride.
    We have flags on just about everything, another observation from the foreigners. Well, we know one business that certainly isn’t hurting.
    A pretty hilarious and all-too-common complaint is the design of public restrooms. Stalls in America, as noted by the participants, have sizable gaps between the walls and the door.
    This seems like a “problem” that could be resolved with a redesign.
    Other concerns include the quality of bread in the states. It’s too sweet and airy. And there’s too many varieties.
    Oh, and the chocolate in America is no good either. Except for M&Ms, as someone noticed.
    To each his own.
    Looking at education, some participants had serious concers about the social hierarchies seemingly engrained in the system.
    “In other countries, parents and teacherst try to encourage kids to treat everyone the same, but in the U.S., they actually seem to reinforce the idea that some are better than others,” one person noted.
    Citing the common display of voting for a prom king and queen and sorority/fraternity selection processes, the participant observed that no one even notices that Americans seem to support a societal divide and don’t try to shore the gap.
    Page 2 of 2 - I had never thought of it that way. Voting for Homecoming royalty always seemed like an innocent ritual, but I see why an outsider might be appalled.
    Some noticed that Americans seemed nervous about foreigners or those who looked different than themselves. That’s a concern worth evaluating.
    The last observation I found fascinating is that Americans are perceived as loud, easily excitable and generally a little invasive of personal space. These observations could be considered a detriment to Americans, were it not for the preface that all of those personal characteristics weren’t obnoxious or rude, but marked with friendliness and joviality.
    America has its flaws. Working in the news business, I get to hear — sometimes unwillingly — many people’s assessment of the downfalls of our county, state and nation as a whole. We have this notion that outsiders look at us with disgust and disapproval.
    But if the observations noted in the project mirror the cross-section of a worldly opinion of Americans, I think we’re doing all right.

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