This article was originally published on www.theoutbound.com
What comes to mind when you think of the United States? Star studded Hollywood, supersized fast food meals, New York City? There are plenty of things that make this nation stand out, including a handful of myths that surround the cultures of the people who live here. This article is here to debunk the top 5 and tell you what America is really like.
1. The US is Homogenous, Lacking Diversity Both Culturally and Regionally
This country holds 50 individual states in its 3.8 million square miles. With all that space, it can be hard to imagine that there isn’t some diversity here, right? Myth number one comes from the fact that people travelling to the United States often only visit one region.
The US is divided into four different regions that offer their own, incredibly unique, landscapes and peoples. These the South, West, Central, and Northeast. For those of us in the UK, saying that any of these regions are homogeneous would be the same as saying that the West Midlands region of England is the same as the North East region. North American regions feature their own unique accents (think Brummie and Geordie), as well as different foods and stunning topography, even from state to state.
One state alone can hold two almost entirely different worlds inside of it. While Los Angeles should be on anyone’s list of major cities to see, there are so many fun things to do in Orange County, heading to northern California offers a completely different experience. Make sure to travel around if you really want to experience the cultural and regional diversity America has to offer.
2. American are Arrogant and Cocky
Several people are afraid of how they will be treated in the states, and a few bad eggs have certainly ruined the world’s view of the whole basket. City life is city life no matter where you go, but the bulk of America is actually very welcoming. In fact, the Southern and Midwestern regions are well known even amongst Americans as being the most hospitable.
You don’t have to travel to Alabama or Idaho to be instantly treated like extended family, though. In general, people are kind and happy to extend a helping hand. Why? The Golden Rule is a staple in American society. When meeting a stranger remember to smile, be friendly, and ask something about them. You’ll be shocked at how well-mannered and warm hearted they can be.
3. Americans Don’t Work Hard
An overwhelming amount of individuals in the U.S. work a standard job from 9 to 5 and either start a night shift position at another place of employment or pick up a more flexible job such as driving for a rideshare. That’s a far cry from lazy.
Furthermore, professionalism is a core aspect for survival even in a menial position such as a gas station attendant. It takes hard work to put food on the table in America, especially with so many surviving on an income just below a living wage.
4. American Run on Fast Food. They’re Just Unhealthy
Fast food is a staple in America, there’s no denying that, but this country is home to innovative Michelin star rated dining experiences at the same time. Yes, you can settle for an unhealthy meal that will only cost you $5, but you can also dine on each region (or even state’s) specialties with the finesse of Birmingham’s nationally renowned restaurants.
In the same sense, many think that the States are home to obesity. You might be surprised at the number of individuals who bike to work, practice yoga, and purchase their groceries from organic retailers.
You can still find your stereotypes, but health and wellness have been on the rise for decades now. It’s hard to travel one block without seeing a farmer’s market, a fitness studio, and someone jogging. Make sure to pack a good pair of hiking shoes if you want to take part in the various ways modern day Yankees stay fit.
5. The United States is Extremely Racist
Recent and past events in the news have painted a grim picture of American attitudes on race, but don’t let the media scare you. A quick look at your surroundings when visiting will tell an entirely different story. Nearly 99% of citizens in the U.S. peacefully coexist with each other regardless of race, religion, or creed.
American camaraderie, or patriotism as they say, includes the idea that every citizen of their nation is equal to the next. They understand that everyone deserves to be treated equally. While there are certainly some backwards thinkers, you’d have to hunt them down to find them.