Do the Spanish like Americans?

Old Oct 12th, 2007, 07:21 AM
  #81  
 
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I think part of the issue is what we mean by pride, especially as applied to a country. I am thinking it is not the same for all of us. To some it means that a person has achieved something. To some it is the same as rooting for their team or their country to do well. For some it is a sense of gratitude to be in a place with a good life, and to appreciate the historical forces which brought them there. For some it is a feeling of unity against outside forces.

But when we hear somebody else say they are proud, we might be thinking they mean they are better than other people, even when that is not what they mean.
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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May somebody with a better command of (Scottish) English correct me - but this is exactly firring for the Burns quote:
O what the power the giftie give us,
to see ourselves as the other see us...
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Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 06:42 PM
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I have traveled through most of western Europe over the past 20 years but no where have people been nicer than on my recent trip to Spain. A friend and I spent a week in Andalucia and most places we went to had few American tourists so we stood out. Even if we were Bush supporters, we would have had the same experience.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:30 AM
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When in Spain, do like The Spaniards do. Don't bring your American high and mighty attitudes. We have been humble, listened more than we talked, and had nothing but wonderful experiences while in Spain. Politics and Religion is like drinking and driving, stay sober and enjoy their culture. God Bless America.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:19 AM
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"I am pleased to be Irish, but do not consider it an achievement, any more than I have achieved the colour of my eyes. It happened to me, and that is my good fortune.

More harm has come to the world as the consequence of national pride than has good."

Beautifully said! I feel much the same about being Canadian.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 09:33 AM
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As far as the question of "what to wear?", my husband hears that question from me often. So does my brother-in-law from his wife. Why should traveling be any different? Particularly when I am trying to make the best clothing choices to fit in a suitcase that I can carry myself.

For me, the whole "what to wear" question isn't so much trying to not be identified as an American but an extension of our everyday life. And sneakers... when I haul my @ss around any city I am visiting for the first time I need comfortable shoes. I'll wear style for dinner when we won't be walking for miles.

I consider myself fortunate that my basic needs are fulfilled to the extent that "what to wear" is one of my priorities both at work and on vacation.

As a sidenote... my husband's appearance reflects a diverse ethnic background and everywhere we have been in the world, people are fascinated by him and cannot resist asking him "what he is" and where he's from even though he has his American "uniform" of cell phone, i-pod, jeans, t-shirt and white tennies.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 01:44 PM
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I am an American living in Europe. I have been told that "being proud to be an American" is hard for Europeans to understand...In fact, I've been told this by many British people who I think understand what the word "proud" means as we use it.

I think Europeans associate "pride" and flag-flying with nationalism. Part of the American culture is to be "proud" of our country and to fly our flag. Some other cultures don't "get" this...

Let me say that I've been traveling alot all over Europe this past year and never once felt treated poorly because I was American. I don't feel the need to declare myself for or against Bush. I am a Democrat who votes across my party-line. My husband didn't vote for Bush but is a registered Republican (don't ask how this marriage is still together - there are children involved!!) and I have heard him start conversations by saying he doesn't like Bush...I have asked him to please stop doing this.

I haven't traveled in Spain but I have heard other American ex-pats living in Madrid say they aren't well-liked by the Spanish. Some of this negativity has been experienced by their children.

My children have been criticised for being Americans from children in their international schools here in Switzerland. My daughter is starting a unit on the American Revolution and her first comment was, "Great. I bet I'll get a lot of flack about this...." Her social studies teacher chose her to represent Iraq in the model UN they did. Coincidence? I think not... I thought it was a good learning experience for her to research the positions but also a little harsh for a 7th grader to personally feel the opposition from her peers.

I think American politics right now make it harder to be an American abroad. Also, Europeans aren't always as politically correct as Americans and will freely let you know what they think of your country's politics.

But, for the most part, you will still be treated in Europe with courtesy. I doubt anyone in Spain would spit in your food even if you did vote for Bush

And, IME, Europeans absolutely don't care what we think about them or their clothes when they visit our country. When I first moved abroad I was very sensitive (and sometimes hurt) about how people treated me. Then I realized lots of Europeans have stereotypes about their neighbors and no qualms about sharing them. The Germans don't seem too fond of the Swiss. Most people who work in hotels/restaurants the world over find the Germans difficult. No one seems to like the English! The French are defined as "special" and not in a good way... When I get together with a group of international ex-pats it really makes me laugh. Europe is definitely not a melting pot nor one big happy family. So, at least if someone doesn't like me just because I'm American, I'm in good company
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Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 02:25 PM
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gruezi wrote: "... Europeans aren't always as politically correct as Americans ..."

I am speechless.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 01:30 AM
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I prefer the formula: "God bless us all"
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 02:17 AM
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Gruezi, you are right. Europe is not a melting pot, not even the European Union is a melting pot. It's not meant to be one. The official EU motto is &quot;United in <b>diversity</b>&quot;.

But I would not describe the lack of political correctness as a shortcoming but rather as a virtue.

One misconception I often encountered with regard to visitors from the US was that support or rejection from governments gets mixed up with warm or hard feelings from those peoples.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 03:03 AM
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gruezi wrote:
&quot;I think Europeans associate &quot;pride&quot; and flag-flying with nationalism.&quot; .........Some other cultures don't &quot;get&quot; this&quot;

I think this is a fair summing up - When I read the prose posted by sansman earler in the post I felt mild distate.

This is not to suggest that I feel it is wrong to take pride in your country, but the subtest appears to suggest that ONLY the US can be proud. As though Pride, Freedom etc are somehow the sole preserve of one country.

It is a cultural thing.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 03:44 AM
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I agree that the freedom thing is a bit overdone in America, we aren't really any more free than many other countries though we do tend to believe that propaganda.

The one difference with America is that we aren't really a nation - meaning we don't have a national identity purely based on heritage, race, culture or even language. We are a mix of cultures, therefore the only thing that can bring us together is a common set of believes or principles. Thus, from the age of 5 or younger, these principles are drilled into you. Assimiliation in the US means accepting these general principles, it doesn't mean speaking a certain language or necessarily behaving a certain way or having a certain heritiage. Part of the offshoot of this is you really believe in these principles and this is generally where our national pride comes from. Without this national pride and belief in these principles, we wouldn't be a nation.

In Europe, it is completely different, nationalism has a connonation of believing that your inherent heritage is superior. Now, in Europe, things are changing due to immigration and this is why you get these recent campaigns such as in Switzerland. People want to protect their inherent culture and being a land of immigrants changes the foundation of your country. If you no longer have an inherent common culture and heritage, what do you have. This is a question every nation is grappling with nowdays (even America)


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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 04:25 AM
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&lt;&lt;&lt; We are a mix of cultures &gt;&gt;&gt;

Compared to even individual countries in Europe the US is very monoculture. You can go from one end of the US to the other and do exactly the same things as you used to do
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 04:35 AM
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I think we are using the word culture differently.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 04:40 AM
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that is part of the assimilation, while in the UK, the Scotts and the English have very different cultures and they don't try to assimilate. Likewise in Switzerland or Belgium. In the US, we assimiliate the various backgrounds into one monoculture which leads to lack of variety.


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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 05:18 AM
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gruezi wrote: &quot;Part of the American culture is to be &quot;proud&quot; of our country and to fly our flag. Some other cultures don't &quot;get&quot; this... &quot;

The flag! For Americans, it is such a potent symbol. People attack Barak Obama for declining to wear a pin depicting the flag.

But not all Americans buy into it. See http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/harry-wilmans/ and http://www.aol.bartleby.com/84/195.html
These were written almost a century ago.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 05:43 AM
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In spite of Gordon Brown's efforts to define &quot;Britishness&quot; in the UK, nobody needs to explain what it is to be English, Scottish or Welsh.
It's bred in the bone, as it is for other nationalities.
In the US, Europeans were uprooted and landed in a foreign country where no doubt many were homesick.
Many of the things we find amusing like the flag worship and the boasting about freedom, the American dream etc. are necessary for binding together these &quot;huddled masses&quot;.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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I lived in the US for a couple of years and enjoyed my stay there.
However, I remember saying to my husband, &quot;It is fun living here, but it isn't the promised land&quot;.
His reply was, &quot;It would be if you were fleeing a pogrom!&quot;
I remember that some of my American friends were amazed that I was keen to return to the UK in spite of having a Green Card. I got the impression that they really did think that everyone in the world was longing to go to the US.
I tried to explain that they might love to spend two years in Britain or France but they would be happy to go home. No British or French person would be the slightest bit surprised,
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 05:51 AM
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We were in Barcelona last year. There were two couples in our group and one was Spanish (parents from Mexico). We thought it would be nice having someone in our group who spoke Spanish. We were surprised at how rude some people were to her because she didn't speak CORRECT Spanish. People would correct her all the time which really annoyed her. You would think they would appreciate her speaking something &quot;close&quot; to their language w/out getting all hot and bothered if the word ended in an O vs. an A (that was something she was corrected on several times). Other than that we found the Spaniards to be quite friendly. Maybe this has changed as the anti war sentiment has grown.
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Old Oct 24th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Many European are chauvinistic in a different way. Many want to prove that their country and culture is still vital and important. They do not wave flags but speak with an urgency that they are not being heard.

Let us put in this into perspective, Chauvinism is derived from Nicole Chauvin, a soldier of Napoleon.

Jingoism is a British term.

DeGualle said how do you unite a people who produce 256 different cheeses.

There are strong separatist movements in Spain especially the Basques and Catalans.

There is a separatist movement in Belgium between the Flemish and French speaking people.

Italy was not united until the middle of the 1800's.

What about the Balkanization of Yugoslavia?

If all these people, plus others I have not cited, were not chauvanistic, why would these movements exist?

Assimiliation in America is somewhat of a myth. Today for example, you hear white politicans fretting over the hispanic influence and I am referring to language not illegal immigration.

In cities it is still not unusual to see neighborhoods where one group is predominate. This does not only pretain to poorer groups but to middle class ethnic groups as well.

American business wants a homogenous culture because it is easier to market and produce goods. Just look at malls. But this does not hold true to the varied ethnic groups who still celebrate their cultures.



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