Thursday, September 27, 2007

Silly American - Stereotypes are for Kids

After having written an article about Swedish stereotypes I thought I should write one about American stereotypes. It would only be fair. And it’s the Swedish way really. Equality and fairness for all, and n my quest to be more Swedish I have to make an effort right. Welcome to Sweden. So the Americans will be stereotyped as well.

My buddy Ellis Reed often refers to me as the Swedish enigma (he also tells me to “kick a dope verse and then ghost” but that’s a different story). Mostly because I carry myself very much like an American but still have some Swedish in me. It’s interesting, when I am in America I am seen as a Swede, but when I’m in Sweden I’m seen as an American. I’m a wandering soul with no place to call my own. That’s not true but it almost sounded poetic didn’t it?

I very much consider myself American. I grew up there and consider it home. I’m not ashamed to be American and generally stick up for the US in discussions. Traveling abroad during the last few years has not always been easy because of the stereotypes and the views the rest of the world has about the US. Those views being, in no particular order: Fat. Cowboy. Car worshipper. Ignorant to international affairs. Talkative.

Of course, being seen as an American here in Sweden I’ve heard most of these. Obviously I don’t think I fit them at all. I do like having a car though but can get by just fine with public transportation. I suppose some people fit the bill but for the most part I get tired of hearing them. That’s probably the case with most stereotypes, they fit a few people and the rest of the population takes the brunt of it. Collateral damage if you will. It’s a bummer but it happens.

I guess in theory I should be a fat, tall, blonde haired, blue eyed, internationally ignorant guy wearing a cowboy hat as I drive around Stockholm who can’t stop talking. Imagine a grown-up Eric Cartman with a cowboy hat instead of the beanie. Hmmm… sounds like a good looking fella to me. I don’t think that’s me at all though. Who knows, others might disagree. That’s what’s so interesting about stereotypes. There truth lies very much in the eye of the beholder, or the prejudiced.

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  1. sorry to say, i never looked at you as a swede while you were here. i knew you were swedish but i never thought you were some fish-out-of-water swede in america.
    the fact is, mr marcus, you are very american. not the fat, ignorant, chatty cowboy kind, but nonetheless, you are one of us.

  2. Does this mean I can’t wear my cowboy hat anymore? Or does the Turban under the cowboy hat make it ok? I can go without the other stereotypes but don’t mess with my hat. Other then that I think you’re right on as far as going up with a wondering and often misguided peer judgment of national origin but hey you grew up in Greeley. At least people don’t think your Mexican.

  3. hmmm... all good points. maybe I'm just me.

  4. On observation I have as an Englishman is that American's can be very chatty and familiar even if you have never met them before, whereas Swedes can come across as being completely indifferent, even if you have known them for years.

    I wouldn't apply this as a stereotype, but I have met some Americans and more then a few Swedes who are like this.

  5. That's true, the openness of Americans sometimes surprises people while the resevedness of Swedes can come as a shock to an American.