Growing up in Russia and Armenia, I had my stereotypes about Americans. They were mainly constructed by Hollywood movies and the local media which was in the early stage of formation after the Soviet Union collapse.
Now living in America, I found that some of the stereotypes are accurate, while the others are wrong. Here are four stereotypes about Americans that are very far from being true.
Americans are dumb
Well, this is wrong. I think this stereotype arose in the post-Soviet countries because Americans have always had signs and instructions on how to do things. In a mind of a former Soviet resident, one is not smart enough if one needs to be told what to do. You just have to figure out how to do things rather than just read instructions.
But trust me, Americans are not dumb! Your nation can’t be dumb when your scientists are among the best in the world. I also think America has one of the best educational systems in the world. (That’s why I came here to study!).
Americans are rich
This is another stereotype shaped by Hollywood. No, not all Americans are rich. Of course, the quality of life is higher here than in many other countries. Also, America has a significant middle class layer, but it doesn’t mean that everyone is rich. Only about 25 percent of American families even break that magic $100,000/year level or more, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nowadays, it becomes even harder to reach the American Dream of having a big house, good-paying jobs, send kids to elite schools, etc.
Americans are naive
I don’t know where this one comes from. Maybe because Americans are also believed to be positive and kind. The stereotype about naivete is that it is easy to deceive Americans, they will believe anything! This stereotype is also directly related to the “Americans are dumb” one.
Well, that’s a myth. Americans can be kind, positive and friendly, but they know when they are being played tricks on.
Americans only eat fast food and all the food they have is tasteless
Once again, thank Hollywood and fast food corporations for promoting this stereotype abroad. It is a complete nonsense.
Because fast food is cheap, it is primarily popular among low-income students and families. McDonald’s is NOT a popular or prestigious place, like people in many post-Soviet countries like to think.
People also think that the food in America (vegetables, fruits, meat) tastes like a ‘plastic.’ Once again, no idea where that came from. Probably Soviet propaganda.
Well, that’s a myth. There is some very low quality produce in American grocery stores, but if you buy decent brands, food tastes just like back home.