In light of recent events across the globe, I decided to take a few minutes to think about why Americans always get so much flack for everything. One guy made a video and now the whole Muslim community is up in arms about it.
The problem is that, in this situation, neither side understands what the other is feeling. The protesters don’t understand that our government had nothing to do with this video being published. In their countries, videos must be approved by their governments and because of this, they think our government sanctioned this video. The protesters also do not understand that the video was made by one American and that not all Americans would be so rude as to spit on somebody’s religion and laugh about it.What we don’t understand is that these people see us as spoiled, rude, and always interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations. We live a life of luxury compared to most of the protesters and can come off as unappreciative.
So, I thought about it. And, I realized that we don’t do very much to help foreigners see us in any otherway. What can we possibly do? Of course, we will never be able to please everyone.
But here are a few things we can do to be better citizens of the world and (hopefully) improve our image abroad:
Stop being such assholes.
Seriously. Just stop. We are loud, we are obnoxious, and we are extremely stubborn. Be mindful of those around you and remember that sometimes it really is best to hold your tongue. Oh, you thought it would be a good idea to mock and disgrace someone else’s religion and beliefs and you’re surprised that they’re pissed?
Read the news.
I think a huge problem we have as Americans is that it is very easy to get caught up in the day to day life in our country and our small little lives. We have everything we could possibly need here. Why would we care to learn about anything else? This results in a population unconcerned with global issues and what’s going on in the rest of the world. As more and more of our businesses go international, it is important, now more than ever, that we educate ourselves. One simple way to learn about our world is to just read the news. No, I don’t mean E! or TMZ or People magazine. Read CNN, BBC, Fox, CNBC, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, etc. etc. When you read about current issues that our world is facing, you will be able to better understand the problems and (hopefully) be able to have an intelligent conversation about them.
Be more compassionate.
When you are complaining that you couldn’t get the Iphone 5, remember that there are people in this world who do not have homes, who do not have food, who do not have shelter, who are not safe in their own country or their own home. Try to remember that no matter how bad your situation may seem to you, there is always someone who has it worse than you. Always. How can you help them? By being grateful for what you have, by not looking down on those less fortunate than you, and by lending a hand. Can’t afford to donate money to a charity? Go volunteer at your local food bank or Habitat for Humanity. Pick a cause (there are like a million!) and support it by raising awareness in your community.
Be more open-minded.
I truly don’t even know how to expand on this. It really is that simple and difficult. Try new cuisines. Go places you’ve never been. Talk to people who aren’t just like you. Do things that scare you. Understand that even though you believe something, you could be wrong.