Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha. I'm joined again in the studio by…
Michael: Michael. Hello.
Alisha: And today, we're going to be talking about some misconceptions about America. So, let's get right into it. Let's start with you, Michael. What is your first misconception that you've heard about America?
Michael: I'm going to have to start with the "arrogant American stereotype." This, I think, maybe in the past had been a little bit more accurate but ever since the internet and ever since the 60s, with the Vietnam War and the hippie movement and everything going on then, this has really died down a bit. I'm proud to be an American, but I'm not one of the stereotypical Americans that, "We're number one. We're the best." This really has died down. I hear this a lot on the internet and whatnot.
Alisha: Yeah, I know what you mean. Then the whole number one thing—at least for me, one of the things that... I feel like if you say that there's a greatest country in the world. I think that's a silly thing to say, that you're the greatest country in the world. Not that I don't support America or appreciate all the things that America does for me and for people around the world. I feel like I'm treading in dangerous waters right now. There are plenty of good things about other countries, too. I'm going to stop here before I offend anyone. Anyway, I'm going to go to my first one. My first one is--maybe this is one that you've got as well. "Hamburgers are the only American food." This is a misconception that I have heard a lot. Hamburgers and variations of hamburgers. Cheeseburgers, bacon cheeseburgers, avocado burgers, veggie burgers, whatever. Anything burger is not the only American food. There are plenty of other American foods. Even if you just stick around the fast food ballpark for a while, there are hotdogs, there are Philly cheesesteaks, which are delicious. If you go to the South, there are all kinds of interesting, like Louisianan food that you can try on there. You can eat crocodile, you can eat frog legs, which, I mean, probably borrowed to some extent from French cuisine. There are lots of fresh fish, like salmon from Washington, Oregon. Where I'm from, we talked a lot about Tex-Mex and California burrito culture. There's so much good stuff to try in America, and it's not just burgers. American food is more than just burgers. That drives me crazy when people say, "Oh, you're Americans! You must love hamburgers, right?" Well, they're great, but there's so much other good stuff to try.
Michael: Yes, likewise just with the hamburger thing, when you think hamburgers, you think fast food, right? And so, that's the other stereotype. Even if you want a good, authentic American hamburger, don't go to one of the fast food restaurants. That's what they think: "Oh, you're American. You can't appreciate the real good, high-quality cheese and blah blah blah." If you have a really good authentic American hamburger, you'll be really happy. You'll be really happy. It's really good.
Alisha: Did I miss any key American foods? I feel like I had the big ones. Just like region-centric foods that are big.
Michael: That was the first thing I thought of, and you got to it with Louisiana, as far as something that people don't usually think about when they think about American food. And that's amazing food. And I think, to take that a little bit further, while traveling and teaching, people would say, "Oh, your name's not a really American name," because my last name is German. But I would tell them that there is no American name. A truly American name would be like the Native Americans' from way back when. And one of the beauties of America is that it's the "melting pot," as you always hear. And then it's a lot of different cultures, so as you were saying about Louisiana food, it's probably borrowed from French, and American food isn't just hamburgers. There's a whole wide array, and as we talked about before, the Mexican food. So, absolutely, there's a big variety, and it's not just one thing.
Alisha: Yeah, explore. Explore American cuisine. There's a lot of it to explore. Alright. What's your next misconception?
Michael: Next misconception is... Well, this one's a little bit specific to where I'm from. It's that "everybody skis or snowboards in Colorado." This is something--I think this is natural when you meet somebody from any different state, province, whatever, is that you think about the tourist attractions of that place and you say, so I meet another American, even within America, they say, "Oh, you're from Colorado! Do you ski and snowboard?" Sometimes, just because I'm from there doesn't mean I'd do it, and to me, I think it's kind of a rough analogy, but it'd be like meeting someone from France and be like, "Oh, do you go to the Eiffel Tower every day?" "Yeah, once when I was a kid." Same thing with America. Just as the whole country, it's what the Statue of Liberty and these kinds of things you ever get that.
Alisha: Every once in a while. I'm from Oregon, so we have ski and snowboard culture there, but I'm trying to think of it. There's this one when I say that I was raised in Oregon, if there's something that I usually get back and I don't think I do. I think California maybe more so. If you say you're from California, it might be something like, "Oh, do you surf? Or do you go to the beach?" I think that it's really easy to kind of make an image of that state or what that state's people might be like and then to ask a question about that, but I don't think that it's necessarily out of malice that people say such things. I think it's just trying to make a connection like, "Oh, I'm familiar to some degree with your state," or "I know something about your state. Maybe this is the way we can have a conversation about it." But yeah, kind of pigeonholing people, like trying to stereotype people based on where they're from and what you presume they might like to do, I guess it could come off as a little irritating for some.
Michael: Yeah, I don't mind it because I know that it's good intentions. They're just trying to make a connection, and I do the same thing that I think of all the musicians or famous actors or actresses from whatever country they're from and I'll say that. And they're just trying to make conversation, so it's not a big deal. But again, it's a stereotype, and just try to relate it and put yourself in the shoes like, "What kind of tourist attractions and stereotypes do I not relate?"
Alisha: Or saying, "Oh, I've been there to such-and-such attraction before. It was really nice," that kind of... I think it isn't just certainly bad. It's just one of those things. Next one. Let's see the next one that I have. I've heard this now and now and then. This one that I've heard is "Americans all own guns." I've heard this.
Michael: Me too.
Alisha: Samesies.
Michael: Samesies.
Alisha: We both have this one, but this is one that I think--maybe it's because of action movies, maybe it's because of the news stories that come out about shootings in America, which are horribly tragic and unfortunate, but for some reason, some people have this image that Americans all own guns. I don't own a gun.
Michael: Me either.
Alisha: There's one person, two people who do not own guns, and I know that there are plenty more. There are a lot of people who do not own guns. I mean, whether or not you support guns, maybe that's a different issue. But this is one point that's always just a little bit confusing to me. Maybe this comes from old western movies, where we're cowboys in this gun-toting, gun-loving, shoot-them-up sort of country, but I don't think that it's that. I don't think that that's America. Well, all of America. There are parts of America. There are some people in America who like guns. That's your thing. It's just not mine, and it's not some other people's.
Michael: I think the fact that we both have to stop and hesitate, it is an issue. It's a hot topic. It's a second amendment right, so people are constantly debating this. But I tell people, I can't think of five people in all of my friends and family. I can't think of five who own a gun. There are some people who are military something, but for private people, that's really not common. There's only a handful of people I know that own a gun, and they go out shooting. It's not a big deal, but it is a hot topic. But I hate this, every time I hear, "Oh, America—cowboys, guns, this kind of..." No, I'm not a cowboy, don't have guns. Have you ever gone shooting though?
Alisha: My parents had—Do you know clay pigeons? Clay pigeon shooting? My parents used to do that with their friends. They would just go to a small shooting range, and it's just this little disc made of clay, and it was just a sport. It was just for sport. They'd shoot it, they fly—what do you call it? Fling? Fling, I guess. They throw this clay pigeon in the air, and then you'd aim and try to shoot it. It was a sport. And so, my parents had a couple for that, and then I think they sold them after a while because they just didn't do it very often. I fired that a couple times, and I really didn't like it. It just made me feel really uncomfortable.
Michael: How old were you?
Alisha: I was probably 17, 18 or so.
Michael: About the age you would know if you liked it or you don't.
Alisha: I suppose, but it just made me really uncomfortable. I didn't like it, but I've known people who use them for hunting. I knew somebody in high school, in college. His dad had one, but he'd go out hunting every year, and he'd go out and kill a deer, and then they'd bring it home, and they'd prepare it, and the family would have that to eat throughout the winter. That was just one of their family's traditions. But as far as a handgun, I don't think I've ever met anyone that I know of. No, wait I did know one guy. He was a little---I'm not going to say anything. I'm really uncomfortable on this video. I feel like it's getting controversial.
Michael: Yeah, yeah.
Alisha: Let's go to the last one because it's not controversial. It's going to be the last one. My last one is it'll be "quick and easy to see the whole country." No, America is huge! Compared to a lot of other countries around the world, America is very, very large. I've heard of people saying they're going to visit New York, and then they say, "Okay, and then we're going to rent a car, and we're going to drive to California." And the Americans in the room will go, "You know how long it's going to take you, right? You have some concept of how far that is?" "You know, a few hours or a couple days." "No!" It's far. It's like 5,000 miles across the country so you should plan some time. I heard about a guy recently who took like a month to bicycle from New York to California. It's crazy. He had some people giving him car rides along the way. But have you ever run into somebody who has no concept of how large the country is?
Michael: All the time.
Alisha: Really?
Michael: Usually. I mean, again we're talking about the--you want to make a connection. So, usually, they just name--everyone knows New York, Texas, California, that's pretty much it when you think America. Even Americans I know, you really don't put it on scale of how big it is unless you look at a picture and you place Europe on top and you go, "Wow, this is pretty huge!" Generally, though, I haven't met anybody who's planning a trip and going. I think when you plan a trip, they make a little more preparations. But yeah, same thing. They really have no idea, no frame of reference, I guess, because it's kind of its own.
Alisha: And then if you even want to include Alaska and Hawaii, which are just way out there. It's quite large. Good luck with that. Your weeklong trip. Alright. Those are some common misconceptions about America. Anything else you want to add to this or anything else you would like to clear up?
Michael: Don't you dare say anything about America because it's not true.
Alisha: My, gosh. What just happened? Those are some misconceptions about America. Maybe we've cleared up a few things about America or maybe we've only intensified a few of your misconceptions about America. Who knows? But thanks very much for joining us this time, and we will see you again when we have another fun topic to discuss. Bye!

19 Comments

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Monday at 06:30 PM
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Which one do you think the most interesting?

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 08:42 PM
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Hello Samrawit,


So pleased you found this lesson so interesting!


We are constantly updating the lessons on our site so please stay tuned! 👍


Sincerely,

Éva

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samrawit Embaye
Friday at 01:23 AM
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Hello

Thank you for sharing this very interesting topic lessons.

I have been heard that oh you are from America you must eat only fast food.🤣 Glad you guys update that America has different food.

Thanks.

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Sunday at 10:19 PM
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Hello Esam,


Thank you so much for your kind message! 😇❤️️

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.


Kind regards,

Levente

Team EnglishClass101.com

Esam
Tuesday at 03:03 AM
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Very interesting topic!

For me, the most misconception I thought about America is that people in there eat only fast food 😅. I'm glad now that I got to know that American Cuisine has a variety of delicious foods. Thank you guys.

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 04:06 PM
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Hi there Anne,


Thanks for your message. Haha!! 😆😆 We have a similar thing happen here in Australia. People think we ride on kangaroos to work.


We are constantly updating the lessons on our site so please stay tuned! 👍


Feel free to ask us any questions that come up.


Cheers,

Éva

Team EnglishClass101.com

anne
Tuesday at 09:31 AM
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It happens in Brazil too. Like people around the world that no known my country, they thinking we have tigers and monkeys walking on streets or the first question some people ask is something like that: do you already visit amazon? Or, do you live in Rio de Janeiro? "I've heard bout Rio, Carnaval e Caipirinha"... It is so classic... hahaha

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 10:24 AM
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Hello Rain,


Thank you for sharing!


I hope you're enjoying your studies.


Feel free to shoot through any questions you have throughout your studies.


Cheers,

Éva

Team EnglishClass101.com

Rain John
Friday at 01:34 AM
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People always ask me that do you know some of kongfu becasue I'm from China.😄

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Saturday at 08:03 AM
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Hello there Phyu,


I hope you get to see snow too! Thanks for posting.


Feel free to ask us any questions you have throughout your English language studies. 😄😎


Cheers,

Éva

Team EnglishClass101.com

Phyu Lay Thwe
Saturday at 02:53 PM
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Having ski and snowboard is very interesting for me because I've never seen snow in the real. I have only seen the snow in the movies.

I hope one day I can play with snow and have snowboard.