Tuesday, March 16, 2010

American Stereotype

There are many Americans who like to stereotype people. I've seen it happen to a bunch of people. However, recently I visited the Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta and saw The Canterbury Tales acted out. There were many types of characters. There was the nun, the businessman, the fun-loving goofball, and others. There was also the American couple. The characters were introduced by the nun, and the way she said "the Americans" made it quite clear that this was a stereotype. Just as she finished their introduction, the American woman shot up from her seat and lived up to her intro. She was loud and obnoxious, dressed fancily, and the boss of her husband.
While some might be offended at this, I found it mildly amusing at the time--though this may be because I went the tavern to be entertained. It was also kind of interesting to see what the stereotypical image of Americans has changed to.
When we first came to the New World, we were pioneers with axes. Then there is the image of the colonies. Thinking back on the Revolutionary War, we didn't exactly look all that powerful. Yet, we came to eventually be the most powerful force in the world. Now, we are seen as obnoxious, and loud. In movies, we are put next to the British and people make fun of the contrast, laughing at our crudeness and stupidity. We are seen as having grown fat and greedy. We know better how to handle a virtual gun than a real one, unless of course one is the American redneck huntin' over yonder for a propane tank.
After watching the play, it was interesting, and afterward not too pleasant, to discover the new stereotype of Americans after our great history.

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