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  #1  
Old 7th October 2006, 09:25
ameri-cannes ameri-cannes is offline
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Default Why do so many French dislike Americans?

What is it about Americans that many French people dislike so much? I can't figure that one out. I have not met with alot of people who feel this way, but for ANYONE to dislike me simply because I am American really confuses me. I have met people and had conversations with them on the street, at cafe's, the beach, etc. and a few have actually WALKED AWAY without anouther word once they realized I am American. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?
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  #2  
Old 7th October 2006, 11:51
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samdebretagne samdebretagne is offline
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I've never really felt that they disliked us, more so our government.
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  #3  
Old 7th October 2006, 11:53
ameri-cannes ameri-cannes is offline
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I can't say I'M all that crazy about it, either.
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  #4  
Old 7th October 2006, 18:24
eldragon eldragon is offline
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There should be no reason why we don't accept each other on a person to person basis. Stereotypes hurt everyone. So if someone walks away from you because of preconceived notions about America or America's government, which is also subjective, just ignore them. Or try to.
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  #5  
Old 9th October 2006, 01:59
Jomichka Jomichka is offline
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It's too bad people have to deal with stereotypes like that, but the good news is that not every French person would walk away as soon as they know you're American

Now if only I can make sure my French is good enough that I don't end up insulting them while trying to say hi lol
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  #6  
Old 9th October 2006, 06:25
sweet_mayhem sweet_mayhem is offline
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yeah, a lot of people are narrow-minded and can be too rude just because of the misconceptions they get from media. americans are not only the ones stereotyped. i myself am very infuriated to find some nasty comments about asians.

Last edited by sweet_mayhem : 9th October 2006 at 06:28.
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  #7  
Old 15th November 2006, 13:34
parisiannewyorker parisiannewyorker is offline
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Hi everyone
I'm new to the forum...a bit of background about me before I reply - I'm American, from NYC, and I've been living in Paris for quite some time now. I first came as a student, and now I'm living with my (French) partner. I'm also pretty much bilingual in French and English.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I don't think that the French hate Americans per se, but they have their own ideas and they stick stubbornly to them whether they are right or wrong. In case you have not noticed, the French do not like anything that suggests change. They do not feel comfortable in settings that are un-French-like. Most do not feel this need for adventure that many Americans have - they are comfortable where they are and they do not want anymore than that. A majority of the French are from the suburbs around Paris or from rural areas. When the French go on vacation, a majority of them like to go with other French people, notably on those club med type vacations of which my family in law is so fond of, because then you are with other French people even if you are in a foreign country.

I guess it makes them feel safe? Anyway, my family in law is a prime example of typical Franco-American relations. (BTW, I love them very much, and they are very good people with good hearts and intentions). But...they have these preconceived notions of the US and anglophones (that are totally incorrect) and nothing I say can convince them otherwise (despite the fact that I am American). We spend a lot of time talking about the differences between France and the US. One of the biggest debates is how Americans are much more open and friendly, and how in the US our society is not as classist as here in France - that is, you can be from the ghetto and totally become successful in life and rise above the ghetto.

My in-laws are forever telling me that I am totally wrong about that, because "everyone knows that these "success stories" are not true - everyone knows that these people who claim to be from the ghetto were actually born very rich and they just made up that part about being from the ghetto so that the masses feel that they have a chance to become successful too, but everyone knows that this is not possible". (I should point out that the in-laws have never lived anywhere except in France, and the only time they visited the US was back in something like 1972 with a bunch of their French friends.

Also using Bill Clinton as an example did not help because they don't believe me about how he's from a broken home in Arkansas - they insist that he's from a family like the Bushes). Another big argument at the family dinner table is that my in-laws keep telling me that Puerto Rico is the 51st state...I have tried every possible way to tell them that it's just not true - it's not a state! But they are just SO convinced that they just refuse to believe me. They also have these weird theories about how the Americans are barbaric because we can buy vitamins in any store without a prescription, and how we drive so much slower than in Europe, yet there are more accidents, or because we are a country that is very pro-Israel when it comes to the Middle East, or how we Americans think we are the Rulers of the World because we think we saved everyone from WWII.

Anyway, I'm not trying to put anyone down and I am not saying that EVERYONE in France thinks the same way, but from my personal experience a majority of them do. It's just a lot to do with the French culture that is very hard for us Americans to understand, even if you speak the language or have a French spouse or whatever (a lot of it has to do with the whole concept of friends here, which I won't go into now). I mean, my in-laws definitely do not hate me because of my American-ness nor do they hate Americans, but they just have their ideas about things and they stick to them, regardless of whether they are true or not.

Last edited by david-giorgi : 16th November 2006 at 07:30. Reason: added paragraph spacing :)
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  #8  
Old 6th December 2006, 18:42
Vinotas Vinotas is offline
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Hello all,

This is my first post but I've been following this thread with lots of interest.

Like the previous poster, I am a native NYer (born and bred in Manhattan!) of Franco-Lebanese descent who attended the Lycee Francais in NY. How's that for multi-culturalism?

I am also completely bilingual English/French and travel to France 3-4 times a year for pleasure/business. In addition, I recently got married outside of Paris, with most of my family, friends and business associates coming from the US, many for the 1st time.

To make life easier for them, I wrote a 32-page guide to Paris and France that highlighted the cultural differences more than the tourist sites. By doing so, I realized several things about the differences between these two great nations.

The French have a love/hate relationship with the US, and it's been like this for years (and vice versa, frankly). Recent political events have exacerbated these differences, of course.

But I don't think the French really hate the US. There is a sense of both jealousy and admiration for the American capability for re-invention and success. However, there is also a pre-disposition to see all Americans as loud, rude, crude and arrogant. And if you spend an extended period of time in Europe, you start to notice that Americans (and Germans) are usually the loudest people around. But that's just a reaction from a culture that tends to be pretty formal.

As parisiannewyorker said, the French hate change (ironic, from a nation that had so many convulsions from the late 18th to early 20th centuries!), while Americans tend to embrace change as an opportunity. This makes the US culture rather scarily unpredicatable for most French.

So there are some fundamental world-view differences.

But it isn't hate.

And as an American, if you show some basic considerations for the French culture (such as saying "Bonjour" when you enter a shop or not wondering why your waiter isn't asking you how the meal's going every five minutes), things smooth out considerably.

I mentioned a lot of these things in my guide and everyone said that it had helped them get a better grasp of French culture.

If anything, I've seen more anti-French sentiment in the US than anti-US sentiment in France.
Someone mentioned bumper stickers, but that's just a reaction from narrow-minded folks who don't have access to international experiences. In NYC, we're blessed with folks from all over the world, but the rest of the nation is quite different. And don't get me started on the talking idiots on Fox...

Cheers!
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Last edited by david-giorgi : 7th December 2006 at 01:58. Reason: Great post! I added paragraph spacing for legibility :)
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  #9  
Old 8th December 2006, 14:25
ameri-cannes ameri-cannes is offline
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Impressive, Vinotas! And very interesting.

(pls see pvt msg.)
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  #10  
Old 8th December 2006, 16:41
Vinotas Vinotas is offline
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Thanks, Ameri-Cannes.

It is sometimes very frustrating for me because I feel caught in the middle between two parents who are divorcing. I love both countries and cultures, heck, I grew up watching the Brady Bunch and reading Tintin!

So it's very annoying when I hear terms like "Surrender Monkey" or hear about the cold-hearted American way of business and life from French friends and family. Now there's an argument