Living abroad for the past 6 months, I come to one conclusion: Hollywood might be more powerful than Obama. Traveling through all of my pit stops, I can enter any store and hear American music playing. Enter any movie theater and see American movies. English may be spoken widely for this reason. I continuously am asked, “How far away do you live from Los Angeles?” Or “Have you met any celebrities?”
But I have come to realize, a majority of the world knows the United States only through the movies and music. American stereotypes are not only continued in the U.S., but are publicized around the world. Whether it is good or bad, I will let you debate. But we all can conclude Hollywood America is not the diverse and lively America lived in all of its timezones. Every questioned received, I often found myself chuckling. Trying not to embarrass the questioner, I realized how difficult some of the songs, movies, and T.V. shows have many subtle references, expressions, and layers of American culture that is difficult to explain to the outside world.
We all know that American rap music may say the N word, but as Americans we accept it in rap music, but in public due to its history. It was answering this question, “Where do all the N****** live in the U.S.?” that I contemplated discussing the historical nature of that word.
It was answering this question, “When I come stateside, can we drive down Route 66 in my Honda and then hit up San Francisco?” That I had to explain, that the U.S. is big enough that I had never been there and secondly, I had to break his heart to explain it does not exist anymore.
Many are funny and some get right at the heart of issues and struggles in the U.S. I decided I wanted to share with my American friends exactly what the rest of the world sees of us through music and movie.
So, I will share with each of you some of the questions and/ statements I have heard that have made me chuckle, ponder, or just say “What in the world?” And maybe it might answer some of our very own questions
- Where do all the gangsters live in the U.S.?
- “Only black Americans do drugs.”
- Only gangsters have guns.
- “I visited San Francisco and California… wait, is California a state or a city?”
- Will you marry a white or black American?
- “Wait, America has agriculture? It grows crops?”
- The U.S. has winter?
- What does O.T. mean?
- Are you sad Donald Trump won?
- Are there actual racists in America?
- Wait, you don’t have free health care?
- I hear schooling is expensive in the U.S. Does it cost more than $100?
- Do you think I could get a visa to the U.S.?
- You have not been to every state?
- Can you understand English and Australian accents?
- “Why are you celebrating Indians giving you food if you then resettled them to reservation?”
- “I did not want to visit the United States because of all of the music videos I saw, but now that I met you, I might visit. You seem more normal.”
- “You are very American. You wear tennis shoes.”
- Are all parties in the U.S. like Project X?
- If a man in the street came up to you with a gun, what would happen?
- If you are English and German ancestry, why don’t you know German?
- Do people actually walk around with guns?
- “White Americans can’t dance.”
- Do you participate in those dance offs?
- If most people voted for Hillary Clinton, why isn’t she President?
- Do Americans know Reunion Island exists?
- Why do people like American football? Doesn’t it hurt?
- “Are you one of those extreme patriotic Americans?”
- “I prefer American accents over the classy English. It’s lazier.”
- Do people actually drink those huge XL drinks that don’t fit into cupholders?