Perceptions

Today, in our world, there are very few things that do not have an international counterpart. Businesses, entertainers, and even families travel across the globe. We, as Americans, are exposed to the ways of other civilizations; we are cultured. From what I know on the topic though, America is looked down upon by other countries. We are perceived as loud, crass, lazy, and aggressive. Even though we have a “less-than” reputation, we still have managed to be successful economically, politically, and culturally.

According to Geoff Dyer, an Englishman, who wrote an article entitled, “Letter from London” for the New York Times, America is so successful internationally simply because the stereotype we’ve been assigned is false. Sure, there is some truth to it, i.e., naturally being loud, but Dyer describes America as hospitable and polite. “When I finally got to America myself, I found that not only were the natives friendly and hospitable, they were also incredibly polite. No one tells you this about Americans, but once you notice it, it becomes one of their defining characteristics, especially when they’re abroad,” he says. Think about it, if no other country had given America a chance, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

This example of America goes to show how perceptions can make or break a culture. Naturally, as humans, we judge everything, not bothering to dig deeper, we just form our opinions based on hearsay and first impressions. If it were not for our perceptions, some cultures would either be in much better places or be far worse than they are right now. Our perceptions determine how societies succeed in the game of life.

“Letter from London”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/books/review/Dyer-t.html?_r=0

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One thought on “Perceptions

  1. I love that you quote Geoff Dyer! And I really appreciate that you posted the web address at the bottom of your post. I’ve gone ahead and embedded a hyperlink into the text where you first mention the article. I would like to show you how to do this, if you don’t already know.

    A couple things that I would like clarified include the following: Regarding Dyer’s idea about American reputation — is the best word to use “simply” or does he convey more that it’s “precisely” because of our bad rep abroad that we’ve been so successful? In addition, at the end of that paragraph, you invite the reader to “Think about it,” but I’m not sure what the “it” refers to, and as a result, your concluding idea for the paragraph remains unclear.

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