Germans Don't Like America Anymore
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All Comments (21)
I can imagine how that would be discouraging as an American. When I was living in Germany I would always get a very positive response being from Canada however if I was with my American friends they would often get a negative response. And to be honest I think sometimes the American mentality of being "the best country in the world" frustrates people. Every country has their issues but a lot of Americans, maybe through how they were taught to think about their country, have a little bit of entitlement and arrogance about how they present their pride about being from the US. This combined with recent events in the US makes people from other countries confused about why so many American's don't see some of the big problems going on in their own country. Thanks for sharing your views and insights on the topic as a well traveled, culturally aware American!
As a dual citizen (Danish-American) I can honestly say that my Danish citizenship serves me well here in Germany, whereas nobody is impressed with my US affiliation. I don't blame the Germans at all. I lived in the US for almost 30 years, and I got so tired of the notion that the US was/is the best country on the planet, and no other country could possibly have anything to teach the US. Being proud of your own country is ok (I think it's sad if someone isn't proud of their home country), but the loud arrogance coming from a lot of Americans at home and abroad is getting old. Examples abound: noisy Americans in restaurants here in Germany - loud, obnoxious and using words like "strange," "weird," "odd" etc - so many words with negative connotations. American expats asking in various fora if they "really need to learn the language" - then complain about how hard it is to get into contact with the locals. American expats complaining about how weird/strange/quaint/different etc the local culture is from the culture they grew up in. It often seems to me that too many Americans want "the European Experience" so that they check that box and have that to refer to at some dinner/cocktail party/happy hour in the future. "Oh yeah - when I lived in Germany..." The thing is, if they don't learn the language and try really hard to assimilate into the German culture in their adopted area, they will have lived in an expat bubble and will return to the States having learned very little. Americans have been used to being automatically cool, and it just doesn't fly anymore - time to wake up and start actually learning about the rest of the world. America is bigger, best, first, fastest etc -- that mindset isn't gonna earn Americans many brownie points.
I have to agree that my personal view of the US as a German has also shifted to the negative a lot in the last 20 years. The lack of social and personal safety on many levels is really my main concern, including a lack of worker protection, affordable healthcare for most, gun violence, how easy it is to fall throw the cracks, affordable (good) education. When I visited the US last, I really loved the national parks and the open friendliness of many Americans. At the same time I felt really uncomfortable and quite unsafe in the bigger cities, especially LA, but also to my surprise San Francisco. It becomes very obvious that many American are being left behind and it creates many issues for the country.
As a U.S. Citizen age 55 I never thought that there would be other places in the world that I might want to live. In the last 5 years I have had the opportunity to travel to many European countries and have learned that there are many other countries which offer a less stressful, less political, less expensive and happier quality of life. I hope that many Americans get to visit Europe and can see for themselves that some of the problems in the US do not exist everywhere. Of course, there are good things about the U.S. which make it a great place to live. But my eyes were opened to some other countries that might be just as good or better.
What I think you often overlook AS a US American is that being a US citizen isn't just like being from any other country. Growing up in the US I think you don't fully grasp that your country is EVERYWHERE! Both literally in terms of military but also culturally. Hollywood movies are THE movies watched around the world, US tech companies make the most popular products, US brands have taken hold in every backwater region of the globe. Many of us know a Movie version of NY better than some of our mayor cities.
And what that does is it makes the US less 'romanticizable' than many other countries. French people don't think Paris is a dreamboat city of love. Most French people kind of dislike Paris yet around the world it's this magical place. But US culture is already everywhere so there is no faraway longing for an idea. Plus being everywhere also means your cultural impact is in a way always 'intruding' on other cultures and some people strongly dislike that. That's my quickfire take on why.
(And ofc this entire 'USA BEST IN THE WORLD' kind of mindset doesn't always help to endear yourself but that's just a side note 😄).
Don't worry, Nick. I think people like you are the best ambassadors to understanding and liking Americans! Of course, the public opinion is biased by the ludicrous things that are happening in the US these days. But it needs people like you to understand that not anybody over there is on the "wrong" side. And besides, the US is for the most part such an amazingly beautiful country, that's for sure!
“You’ve got the smartest, you’ve got the dumbest” the brotherly digs keep me watching your videos 🤣
Nick, don't worry about the image of America in the German population. The bad rating is predominantly political and can change again quickly. When it comes to US citizens from personal acquaintances and friends, the situation is completely different. The positive rating outweighs the negative here. I was often in the USA privately and professionally because the company I worked for is very international and I made many friends in the USA. The problem is that the great political and economic power of the US often means that it sometimes puts too much pressure on its European partners, and of course that doesn't always go over well with Europeans. Overall, I think that the relationship between Europe and the USA is still good and when it comes down to it, we stand together. As always, you, your brother and your US colleagues are very welcome in Germany and I also think that your family took away a positive image of Germany and its citizens from their visits to Germany. I see it the same way with the various visits my family members make to the USA.
Don't mix up "they don't like" and "they don't care". If someone doesn't immediately express their love and delight only because of meeting a living American - it's normal. It's how people usually behave.
And yes, values in Germany and the US are getting different now so... As a tourist I would love to go to the US, to live there - no, thank you.
I (a German) have often travelled to the US and I really love this country and its people. But not because everything is bright and shiny and excellent. I think it´s like with a person. We do not love because of the strengths but despite of the weaknesses. Affection is irrational. I think I am pretty aware of the light as well of the shadow in the US but this would never hinder me to love them.
I don't really care about US beer or about the fitness level of Americans, I care about the influence this huge important country has on the world. Regarding peace/ wars, environment, politics (the "leaders of the free world" restricting more and more freedoms) and so on. And in the last years I don't have the feeling anymore that there are stable, reliable politics. Also we have to look on the negatives because that's what will affect us negative, too. (Sometimes it has an opposite affect like with the whole abortion topic)
As a European living in the states for 20+ years I've come to the conclusion that it should be a part of everybody's life experience to spend time living in another country. Mandatorily!
Hey Nick. As a German who was in a relationship with an american woman I think one of the major problems all around the world is the lack of respect to each other especially nowadays. Although there is internet everywhere it seems like it's only about fighting with people of different nationalities which makes me sad.
I really enjoy visiting the USA - I have been there like 5 times and I was both fascinated and shocked about the extremes as you mentioned in the video.
When it comes to the Americans' views uf us Germans I noticed some faked up stories or narratives which seem to be created a lot by the media. I already have seen some Youtuber from the USA who live in Germany now just like you and they all said that the US media tell so many lies about the life overseas in Europe.
We are all people and we should stop narrating things without talking with the people first and just start connecting each other - start conversations again.
You are a part of this by doing these videos. Thanks and don't worry, there are a lot of people who loves to connect with people from the USA.
As an American living in Germany, I learned very quickly that I can't apologize or try to blue sky the US as it is now. I have to stay as informed as I possibly can because, whenever something happens there, who are my friends going to ask? Me. I just am as open and honest as I can be and explain things as best as I can. I have made many friendships with this one sentence:
"Ich habe für Ihn nicht gewählt."
I was fortunate enough to grow up here in Germany with parents, who introduced us to all things foreign that you could imagine. Naturally, your view sets on the US who as a whole is a lot more diverse, international etc. than Germany for many historic reasons that are self-explanatory. As a kid I used to idolize that huge melting pot, especially when I read historic fiction set around the 1900s in the US. The problem is the huge disparity between what the US could be and what it actually is. The downtrend on how Europeans view the US can be easily explained by the colossal failures of US foreign policy over the past 100 years, ranging from Vietnam to Irak, Iran, Afghanistan as well the numerous domestic issues such as a lack or inefficient access to universal healthcare and the ever looming spectre of gun violence. The election of Trump following the first Black president in American history is exactly both ends of the extremes that you mentioned in this video and which constantly leaves us Europeans baffled, trying to understand these huge inconsistencies.
I do want to cut the US some slack though for the simple reason that as a nation it is essentially not much older than a toddler, compared to its Europeans parents. A lot of these above mentioned issues take time to resolve. However, in our current reality where Autocracies are challenging Democracies ever so openly and China is on track to dethrone the US as the worlds hegemon, time might just be running out faster than the US can solve most of these issues, both domestic and foreign, to not only keep its hegemonic status but also advance to a more modern society and nation.
The trend towards a negative image of the United States in Europe may also have to do with the overall impact and influence of the US in the world and especially in social media and technology. Since everybody nowadays speaks english and american media is being consumed all over the world through the internet, people are a lot more aware of the problems within the US and the realities of its politics. Abstract generalizations and idealized/romanticized opinions of a country (e.g. "Land of opportunity") from the days of old generally do not hold up well when there is a certain level of exposure of problems and a tendency of the media to focus on controversies that is being broadcasted all over the world.
I was a kid in the 90s, when the US was still a land of marvel and wonder and it was a dream to go there. When everything coming from this land seemed to be great and new. It started to change slightly with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, that weren't seen as just amongst big parts of the german population. And Bush jr. didn't have an amazing reputation as well. Around 2006 I was an exchange student and lived close to Seattle, WA for a year - and not only did I experience the "melting pot" first hand, but I lived with and amongst the poor. Those who get left behind in the US. I saw what the lack of social security meant (be it homelessness for my classmates, no food, or being threatened to lose everything just because a storm threw a tree against your house). And at the same time - at the same freaking time - every US-born student would tell me how America is the greatest country on earth - and would fail to even name three other countries. I was in high school, Junior year, mind you. After active shooter drills, they'd say how the US is the safest nation on earth. Most kids failing basic maths and they'd say how america offers the best education (Harvard etc). And the list goes on - it isn't necessarily the extremes that made me rather skeptical about this country. It was its delusional conviction of how amazing it is, that makes it impossible for it to improve. Why change anything if I am the greatest nation on earth? Why change gun laws, if I am the safest? Why install social security systems if I am the richest? Why improve if I am perfect? This delusional (for lack of a better word) arrogance that the US installed into its citizens, not only keeps change and improvement from happening, but at some point the others can't hear it anymore. Nobody likes the arrogant bully on the playground. That's how it is. And I do like things about the US: the people there were incredibly friendly and hospitable and interested (some for real even). The people, individuals, are really really great. I experienced it as a mostly welcoming culture. Welcoming... and ignorant. The latter is what annoys the rest of the world. (On the up side: At least germans/europeans know about the US and have an opinion. I'm guessing more than 50% of the US-Citizens don't really have an oppinion on germany(countries in europe. Lack of interest/education/care. Not sure what's worse: Dislike or Indifference?)
I've spent my fair share of time abroad, my passport has an expired Austrian visa and stamps from all over. I've always summed it up to my friends like this: Not everybody likes America (this number is definitely seems to be increasing these days), but it seems like most people like meeting an American. It's a hard feeling to describe without rambling on for ten minutes, but just about everyone you meet is genuinely curious about and friendly towards an American.
I am a German living in the States and i have been living in Washington State for 20 years. And what I often say to my German friends is that the United States is incrediblly divers and that there are vast differences depending on where you are: West or East coast, Northern or Southern States. Oftentimes all is lumped into the ONE United States. Oh by the way, we have fantastic micro breweries here in WA and they are definitely in the same league as German beers. I have also watched more local and smaller bakeries pop up with much better bread :)
Not every American visiting not only Germany, but any country in the world, is as good an ambassador as you are. Ken Follett is an amazing writer and we all devour his books. Pillars of the Earth is my all time favorite, of which he has also written two prequels. The research Follett puts into his novels is simply amazing.