American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

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Canelita
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American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sat May 19, 2012 10:12 pm

I'm not referring to all (and for those who don't, kudos!,) but A LOT of Americans fit into this description. Really, what's wrong with these people? It annoys the hell out of me when I see them trying to impose their country's standards and values on Peruvian culture and people. You cannot think you are right and others wrong just because you think American is the way to go, especially when YOU are the outsider. Instead, you should use the cultural differences to understand your own culture, which many entitled Americans swear is universal even though it is not. Then again, I'm not saying there is not room for improvement or that people need to conform to things they don't like and be happy about it. But if the things they don't like about Peru outweigh the things that connect them to it, then the border is open for them to leave. Peruvians don't need arrogant foreigners who come to disrespect them.

As a Peruvian myself, I don't like everything about Peru and there are a hundred things I would change, but it's my country and I don't disrespect people for things I don't agree with. Neither would I people from any other country. But what is it with these foreigners who are incapable of looking at things from a local perspective and get offended for petty-things-that-even-though-might-be-considered-rude-back-home in Peru are not, and feel entitled to disrespect people?? I was reading the following thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=18654, and I got perplexed at the arrogance and ethnocentrism at its best that some of these foreigners display. I don't know why it doesn't surprise me that most of it comes from Americans. For some reason most people from all over the world label Americans "stupid" and get enraged at their ignorance of other cultures. As for me, it is not that what bothers me. But the cultural entitlement many Americans display when they comment about other cultures totally gets on my nerves. No wonder my foreign friends from different cultures/continents prefer to associate with other foreigners in the USA. Their cultures and backgrounds are often ridiculed and looked down upon by Americans, who claim they don't have a culture, which obviously implies they think their culture is universal and the right one. And they take that kind of thinking wherever they go.

Going back to the topic of the thread I mentioned above... OK, I understand that back home you don't use to bump into other people and stuff like that, but in Peru people don't mind it as the concept of personal space doesn't exist there. They are not being rude...at least not intentionally; they are just doing what is normal within their boundaries. In a country where YOU are the foreigner and personal space doesn't really exist, people find it rude and confusing when you back off when they are close to you, or extremely arrogant when you deliberately make them bump into you or start a confrontation out of nowhere for something only you and nobody else than you think is correct.

We might not have personal space, but I wouldn't say this is bad at all. In contrast, in the USA personal space is omnipresent; even when you relate to others, you never get to know them at a very deep level as their personal space represents a strong invisible wall that prevents people from just getting to know others very well. In fact, I would say it's endemic. It's kinda horrible, if you ask me. Here, people see others as enemies oftentimes. They are always competing against others; almost everything is "I" against "them." And when you offer something to them without expecting anything in return, they either get suspecting and/or very confused, or simply take your action as granted and think they can take advantage of you. No wonder most people HATE their jobs here; because their interaction with other people is oftentimes unbearable. In Peru, even the combi "cobradores," who have to work more than 12 hours a day in not-at-all comfortable conditions, feel better about their jobs than many Americans do about their well paying jobs. Why? Because having a pleasant connection with other people can actually save your day and make it much more pleasant. But then again, forming a certain bond with your surroundings bring with it things like gossips, lack of personal space, what you might call rude physical identifiers, and other things you might consider rude under your culture. But in Peru, people manage to get along well with others while being honest about the things they think about them without being intentionally offensive. Yes, in your country it might be rude to call someone by a physical characteristic, but Peru is NOT your country and the social customs are different. You HAVE to accept that. After all, we are not Americans who most of which are never honest with other people about what they really perceive as flaws and go about everything with subtleties and political correctness, so that, oftentimes, the person in the receiving end NEVER gets to know what was really going on. They get confused and never get to correct themselves, just because the other person was "soooo concerned" with not hurting their feelings that preferred not to tell them directly what they thought was wrong and decided to let them hanging. This happens even with their supposed close friends. On the other hand, Peruvians, although soft in tone, are very upfront about what they notice about someone, not malice intended, regardless of it being neutral, bad or good. So yeah, Peruvians can call you gord/a, chato/a, flaco/a, chin/a, gringo/a, cholo/a, etc., but that is simply a plain reference of a noticeable physical trait of yours. And when it's not a physical attribute, people will call you by a short name. Nicknames are part of the Peruvian culture, and a foreigner who can't see words as anything else but a tool of hate, won't change so. In fact, calling people by short names or nicknames makes interactions more personal for Peruvians (not like the USA, where people ask "how are you" and don't even care what is the real answer,) and oftentimes these are used as a form of endearment. But your trying to impose your values and vision on Peruvian culture is NOT nice.

No wonder Peruvians get more disenchanted of Americans every day. Many of them think they have any more rights than foreigners in their country and than locals in their own countries (Lol. they even get upset when foreigners in their own lands don't speak English, but get really mad when immigrants have a hard time learning a language they cannot even get to practice with locals because many Americans simply will refuse to talk to someone with an accent and will opt to take them as dumb instead.) But it's not only Peruvians. Even the Japanese have started banning Americans from many public spaces. And that's not racism, even if it seems so. It's the American extreme ethnocentrism getting on the way and governing the way many Americans behave, thinking that they are always right and all the others are wrong, which disturbs a lot of people. Don't you understand that people don't appreciate your rudeness and cultural insensitivity?? So, instead of being so eager to criticize cultures you don't make the slightest effort to understand, why don't you try to understand your own American culture AND its failures??
Last edited by Canelita on Sun May 20, 2012 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.


captsirl
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby captsirl » Sun May 20, 2012 9:26 am

I bet you feel better now you got that off your chest.
But since you are in the proverbial XPAT locker room. And get to be the fly on the bathroom wall. Maybe you should consider where it’s coming from and the fact it’s not being shoved in your face. And the fact that you are welcome here
Then ask yourself what you as a Peruvian have done for your country.
Who brought your country independence?
Where does your electricity come from?
Who built those nice malls you enjoy going to?
Why is it better to remove resources in the raw form from Peru and not process them into finished products here?
Where do your business men live as soon as they can afford it?
Just a thought
The over all majority of Japanese business men here think you’re a joke. Same for the Spanish and fellow South Americans so watch where you throw a stone.
And I’ve said it a hundred times before. I hope you don’t change or I will be out of work.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby goingnowherefast1 » Sun May 20, 2012 9:39 am

Don't take it personally capt, this is normal post break-up behavior for a peruana.

Canelita - this is how I feel about your post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2rDCnr0 ... re=related
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby teamoperu » Sun May 20, 2012 11:39 am

I loved you post, thanks. I for one really do want to understand the differences in culture in Peru and a post like yours is useful to me.

I will say the across the board condemnation of “Americans” is not pleasant to me, but I reread it replacing that word with “foreigner” and it read better.

To help you understand a bit, some of the posts to which you refer come with smilies. Many, not all, are not as you characterize them. Many are our observations of the differences, we are sharing amongst ourselves these observations. Fair enough we dislike losing our personal space, we talk about that, but that does not necessarily mean we do understand that is it OK in Peru and not our homeland. We are not condemning Peruvians not having personal space, it is your culture, so be it, but we are observing and commenting on it in a way of learning and sharing in a community of expats. I am the OP of the thread to which you referred and the original post came with smilies: it was intended as a humorous recognition of the differences in culture. Even Peruvians know the roadways are a locutura and to compare them with the sidewalks is humorous, or at least intended to be so. But you are right, some of the responses in the thread were distasteful.

Where I live, far far away, I see lots of advertisements inviting me to Peru by PromPeru. So to suggest foreigners should just accept the Peruvian culture when we are here or leave is not the solution either. There is a middle ground.

When I go to mesa rodunda I anticipate my discomfort on walkways and in the stores and can only accept it for a bit then have to leave. It is real, my loss of personal space is palpable, it is my cultural background. It doesn't mean I have to leave Peru, just that I need to limit my time there to a few hours. A middle ground.

And it is not that we cannot learn from each other. I actually quite appreciate the gord/a, chato/a, flaco/a, chin/a, gringo/a, cholo/a. I see it in Cuba as well. I have added that to my vocabulary here in Peru, but would never use it in my homeland. But Peruvians can learn by us talking about how things are different. For example, Piura is the noisiest city in Peru, drivers CONSTANTLY honk their horn. I stopped road-side with a Peruvian friend, we closed our eyes and tried to count to 10 without hearing a horn. We couldn't get to 3 without a horn sounding. When I said I can go weeks without hearing a horn sound in my foreign home, I received a look of shock. The Peruvian culture of Piura is to honk your horn, but in Miraflores it is known you will get a fine. Which is better... for you and for me?

It is like someone said to me once. “I know my mother is ugly, but I do not want you telling me that.”
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby sunflower » Sun May 20, 2012 12:06 pm

Canelita wrote:...A LOT of Americans fit into this description. Really, what's wrong with these people?


Aren't Peruvians Americans as well? I'm neither US American nor Latin American, so in no way I feel offended and can understand your point of view. I have to agree some statements in mentioned thread were below the belt, others were unfortunately quite true. Your post is typical for the perspective most Peruvians have of foreigners. We are allowed to live here, work here, pay our part of contributions to the state and we always have to accept the Peruvian way even though we are offended by it. We are not allowed to criticize, suggest improvements or point out things strange and weird to us, because a lot of Peruvians then feel disrespected. Sentences like "If you don't like it here the way it is, then go home" show exactly how some people think here of foreigners. We somehow stand out of the crowd and "disturb the peace" Really sad! Constructive criticism and looking at things from another perspective is the only way for change to the better. And when I remember Peru's history correctly real changes in Peru never came from within Peru, but were mostly enforced by foreigners. Are Peruvians therefore so offended when foreigners criticize? On the other hand I recognized that rarely things are questioned in Peru; people often talk behind their backs, but aren't speaking out loud what they think. Why? And if you like it or not there are lots of things in Peru (and yes in other countries as well) that need improvement, even from the Peruvian point of view and when I point them out I don't want to disrespect Peruvians, but want to improvement for the country I learned to love.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby roddd » Sun May 20, 2012 3:11 pm

Complains about Americans then jumps ship to live in the US.............nice

Introduce Yourself!
by Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 2:11 pm

I'm a Peruvian expat living in the USA. I found this forum while researching foreigners' perspectives about Peru. I think that as an immigrant myself, learning about immigrants' experiences in and perception of my own culture will help me understand them and myself better
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby bobg » Sun May 20, 2012 3:34 pm

Again we go on this me me me culture, the way you expressed yourself shows everyone how you a typical
Peruvian must think . I'm a nuts and bolts kinda person , don't have that masters, but like the Caption said
maybe because you (peruvians) are the way you are, is why most of peruvian assets , are foreign owned,
you don't own any utilities, stores, commerce, maybe Pisco.......... Bob
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby falconagain » Sun May 20, 2012 3:45 pm

bobg wrote:Again we go on this me me me culture, the way you expressed yourself shows everyone how you a typical
Peruvian must think . I'm a nuts and bolts kinda person , don't have that masters, but like the Caption said
maybe because you (peruvians) are the way you are, is why most of peruvian assets , are foreign owned,
you don't own any utilities, stores, commerce, maybe Pisco.......... Bob


True, valid points about the me attitudes. But in the ownership part the example is not proper.
It is true that we do not own much. But nowadays the United States is owned by the Chinese big
time (national debt, 50,000 dollars per person in the US). Still American mistakes do not make
us Peruvians look good in any way.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Kelly » Sun May 20, 2012 4:41 pm

If you want to talk about how bad a certain thing is one country, saying "Yeah, but it's even worse in Country XYZ" neither proves nor disproves the point.

While I agree that some of the comments on this forum can lead to the ugly side- mostly because of generalizations, like the title of this thread - it bears repeating that while anyone is welcome here, it is after all, an Expat forum. The reason it came into being was to give expats - foreigners who live in Peru - a place to come together and occasionally to voice the frustrations that come with living in another culture.

As mentioned above, most of us complain about the personal space thing (among other things) at one time or another. That doesn't mean with think Peruvians should change to suit us. We have to adapt - but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be allowed to kvetch about it once in a while, nor should we be condemned for it.

I have no patience for N. Americans who complain that immigrants to our country have no right to complain about it. If you move to a country, if you contribute to its society - you have every right to complain. I've lived in Peru for 8 years. I contribute to the society through the taxes I pay, the businesses I frequent, the children that I'm raising to be good Peruvians. I think that gives me a right to complain about things when I think there's a better way of doing something.

It's a fallacy to think that "if you don't like it, leave" is always the best solution. The idea that if I don't like something in Peru, I should just return to the US is ludicrous. Why do you think I came to Peru in the first place? I love it here. I'd warrant that most people who have lived here more than a couple of years love it too. Why would I want to leave? That's like saying I should divorce my husband because he snores, and go back to the guy that used to beat me*.



*(just an example - my husband doesn't snore, and no one has ever hit me)
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby rama0929 » Sun May 20, 2012 5:53 pm

Kelly wrote:While I agree that some of the comments on this forum can lead to the ugly side- mostly because of generalizations, like the title of this thread


Yeah, is the OP referring to North Americans, Central Americans or South Americans? :lol: :P
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 5:56 pm

captsirl wrote:I bet you feel better now you got that off your chest.
But since you are in the proverbial XPAT locker room. And get to be the fly on the bathroom wall. Maybe you should consider where it’s coming from and the fact it’s not being shoved in your face. And the fact that you are welcome here
Then ask yourself what you as a Peruvian have done for your country.
Who brought your country independence?
Where does your electricity come from?
Who built those nice malls you enjoy going to?
Why is it better to remove resources in the raw form from Peru and not process them into finished products here?
Where do your business men live as soon as they can afford it?
Just a thought
The over all majority of Japanese business men here think you’re a joke. Same for the Spanish and fellow South Americans so watch where you throw a stone.
And I’ve said it a hundred times before. I hope you don’t change or I will be out of work.



Lol. You are very funny. First of all, if someone who doesn't know me personally jump to make assumptions about me and/or Peruvians in general just because of their limited knowledge of my nationality and its culture, I couldn't care less about those people. And as baseless as their opinions are, I don't give a damn about them. So, your "they think you people are a joke" comment means absolutely nothing to me. Besides, South Americans and Latins in general are always finding differences and arguing about which country is better and which not; some are even constantly fighting about it on the internet to kill time. But then again, most of us always end up reconciling and getting to know each other's countries better. After all, those are sibling fighting. And about the Japanese gentlemen you so eagerly name to prove your point, I will lie to you if I say I care. After all, I also find it kind of "a joke" how overall those businessmen give their lives to their jobs at the expense of their own personal lives and families. Problems related to this lack of human connection are booming in Japan. I don't think all the Japanese are like that though. I have wonderful Japanese friends who have the heart of gold and their love for fellow human beings is immense. It's their opinions that will matter to me the most. After all, I'm not impressed by what a person has or what they are, let alone what their nationality is. It's who they are as human beings what will matter to me.

But yeah, you are right, I should consider what all these opinions are coming from, and that's why I'm trying to do. I understand people who emigrate might have a difficult time adjusting or understanding certain things, and I give them all the credit. As an expat in the USA myself, I totally understand this. But my comments are not limited to the condescending and clearly insulting attitude of some users on this forum, who are motivated by their hard time in Peru, only. This is a prevalent characteristic of the American culture and most Americans don't even realize how offensive they can be towards others. Not all are, of course, but as I mentioned before, even many foreigners here in the states choose not to associate with Americans due to their condescending attitudes towards other cultures. And then you see it...plenty of ghettos, and interracial dating becomes some kind of taboo...in a country where you will see people from every country of the globe. Ironic!

And about Peru, it is a developing country. What are you expecting? You WON'T have all the advantages of a developed country there, because it is NOT one. But it's not lack of capability, which you seem to very conveniently choose to believe to flatter yourself, what prevents us from improving, which we are doing slowly. We have a colonial past where those who have held the power have put all kinds of obstacles to the rest. And that's our curse and the core of all our problems; the lack of love, faith and appreciation for our origins. That's why you see many of those few who hold the power won't blink an eye when deciding to ruin and bring whole communities of "indios" down just so that they can rapidly fill their pockets. They will take away their resources, sell them to foreigners whose only interest is to make a profit, care to improve their own living places, leave those unfortunate people to their faith, and then complain about how those "ignorant indios" come to the cities and ruin them. And these same people will be more than eager to mock those poor people for their "inability to improve."Something similar happens with the minorities in the USA, but then again, thank god they are just the minorities...as of now. Sadly, in Peru those are the majority, and you see the results in the whole country. Things are changing though, and people are opening their eyes; but we, as a nation, have a long road to walk. I'm aware of my country's problems. Are you aware of your's? It's not a foreigner with his condescending attitudes which will change any of our problems. We don't need foreigners who look at us with condescension for things to improve; our nation has had plenty of that already. We need self awareness among Peruvians and the contribution of foreigners who really care about the place they live in.

And talking about Peruvian workers, here in the states, several of my Peruvian acquaintances got to keep their very high paying jobs thank to the excellence of their performance while massive amounts of Americans were being laid off during the recession. Also, the lack of highly skilled professional workers is leading many corporations to outsource human capital here. Watch where you throw a stone.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby rama0929 » Sun May 20, 2012 5:59 pm

Canelita wrote: Instead, you should use the cultural differences to understand your own culture, which many entitled Americans swear is universal even though it is not.


I'm pretty sure I can find US elements in Peru or ______, be it food, dress or music. US culture may not be universal, but it sure is pervasive :wink:
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby douglas8 » Sun May 20, 2012 6:05 pm

i find it very curious(for the lack of a stronger word that i could write) that many peruvians who join the discussions here on negative aspects of peru often state how bad things are in other countries ...wtf!...

that it is totally ridiculous to say "hey we have horrible dangerous traffic corruption massive ineffiecency that is robbing the future severe problems with education in regions and absence of health care in others but wow it is really crap in other countries as well"...

instead of confronting the problems in order to find solutions you get comments about how things are bad in other countries..that sure won't make anything better will it ???(which is kind of the point and the problem here)

btw demanding that all foreigners (specially long term ones) say only positive things about peru and ignore the bad is beyond childish and could be seen as censorship no?
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby rama0929 » Sun May 20, 2012 6:36 pm

Canelita wrote:
Lol. You are very funny. First of all, if someone who doesn't know me personally jump to make assumptions about me and/or Peruvians in general just because of their limited knowledge of my nationality and its culture, I couldn't care less about those people. And as baseless as their opinions are, I don't give a damn about them..


Then you go on to make assumptions about Americans... Using your own limited knowledge of their nationality and culture. I'd bet your opinions are just as baseless, using your own criteria to judge :lol:


Also, the lack of highly skilled professional workers is leading many corporations to outsource human capital here. Watch where you throw a stone.


You may want to check the types of jobs being outsourced. You may also want to check the types of jobs being insourced as well :wink:
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 6:44 pm

teamoperu wrote:I loved you post, thanks. I for one really do want to understand the differences in culture in Peru and a post like yours is useful to me.

I will say the across the board condemnation of “Americans” is not pleasant to me, but I reread it replacing that word with “foreigner” and it read better.

To help you understand a bit, some of the posts to which you refer come with smilies. Many, not all, are not as you characterize them. Many are our observations of the differences, we are sharing amongst ourselves these observations. Fair enough we dislike losing our personal space, we talk about that, but that does not necessarily mean we do understand that is it OK in Peru and not our homeland. We are not condemning Peruvians not having personal space, it is your culture, so be it, but we are observing and commenting on it in a way of learning and sharing in a community of expats. I am the OP of the thread to which you referred and the original post came with smilies: it was intended as a humorous recognition of the differences in culture. Even Peruvians know the roadways are a locutura and to compare them with the sidewalks is humorous, or at least intended to be so. But you are right, some of the responses in the thread were distasteful.

Where I live, far far away, I see lots of advertisements inviting me to Peru by PromPeru. So to suggest foreigners should just accept the Peruvian culture when we are here or leave is not the solution either. There is a middle ground.

When I go to mesa rodunda I anticipate my discomfort on walkways and in the stores and can only accept it for a bit then have to leave. It is real, my loss of personal space is palpable, it is my cultural background. It doesn't mean I have to leave Peru, just that I need to limit my time there to a few hours. A middle ground.

And it is not that we cannot learn from each other. I actually quite appreciate the gord/a, chato/a, flaco/a, chin/a, gringo/a, cholo/a. I see it in Cuba as well. I have added that to my vocabulary here in Peru, but would never use it in my homeland. But Peruvians can learn by us talking about how things are different. For example, Piura is the noisiest city in Peru, drivers CONSTANTLY honk their horn. I stopped road-side with a Peruvian friend, we closed our eyes and tried to count to 10 without hearing a horn. We couldn't get to 3 without a horn sounding. When I said I can go weeks without hearing a horn sound in my foreign home, I received a look of shock. The Peruvian culture of Piura is to honk your horn, but in Miraflores it is known you will get a fine. Which is better... for you and for me?

It is like someone said to me once. “I know my mother is ugly, but I do not want you telling me that.”


Believe me, I can see when the posts are written in a humorous way, and I could clearly sense that when I read yours. And as I said, I'm not referring to every single American, because not all are the way I described. And you certainly don't seem so. In fact, I notice that you take the differences in a positive light and are even willing to CONTRIBUTE to change. Trust me, it's not my intention to condemn Americans because there are a lot of things I respect and admire about this country and its people. But I took a very strong American characteristic I have noticed and used it to specifically address the attitudes of some users of this forum, which as even you point out are distasteful. And it's to those people that I suggest to leave if they can't stand anything about my country. I'm not asking them to accept it if they can't stand it, because there's no reason to stress out about things that won't change overnight and even less when they are related to a cultural matter (like nicknames or personal space)... when they have the possibility to find a place that could suit better their expectations, right? If Peruvian customs make their stay unbearable, why don't they just leave? Wouldn't that be better for their emotional health? I say it because some of the commentators really seem to hate Peru and its people. But this is not limited to immigrants in Peru. I think the same of many Indians, Chinese, Muslims, and even Latinos who live here in the states and really seem to hate its people. Some of the most religious ones even feel entitled to condemn American morals and values and project their own standards over them. But at least people here have their own ghettos to rely on. In Peru, you are very few, and complaining about and being condescending with the majority won't change things. If you have good advice, be tactful about it. Learning about each other is enlightening, but condescension doesn't contribute to it and takes nowhere instead.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby goingnowherefast1 » Sun May 20, 2012 6:57 pm

I agree we can be extremely arrogant. But that's what makes us so awesome. It's hard to win world wars, create industrial/communications/transportation revolutions and generally be the most kickass place in the world while being a nice guy, it just doesn't work like that.

We know, we'll be hated, but they hated Jesus too : ) Enjoy your stay.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Kelly » Sun May 20, 2012 7:25 pm

First of all, if someone who doesn't know me personally jump to make assumptions about me and/or Peruvians in general just because of their limited knowledge of my nationality and its culture, I couldn't care less about those people.


How do you know he has a limited knowledge of the culture? You don't know him personally. Sounds to me like you're jumping to a few conclusions yourself.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 7:37 pm

sunflower wrote:
Canelita wrote:...A LOT of Americans fit into this description. Really, what's wrong with these people?


Aren't Peruvians Americans as well? I'm neither US American nor Latin American, so in no way I feel offended and can understand your point of view. I have to agree some statements in mentioned thread were below the belt, others were unfortunately quite true. Your post is typical for the perspective most Peruvians have of foreigners. We are allowed to live here, work here, pay our part of contributions to the state and we always have to accept the Peruvian way even though we are offended by it. We are not allowed to criticize, suggest improvements or point out things strange and weird to us, because a lot of Peruvians then feel disrespected. Sentences like "If you don't like it here the way it is, then go home" show exactly how some people think here of foreigners. We somehow stand out of the crowd and "disturb the peace" Really sad! Constructive criticism and looking at things from another perspective is the only way for change to the better. And when I remember Peru's history correctly real changes in Peru never came from within Peru, but were mostly enforced by foreigners. Are Peruvians therefore so offended when foreigners criticize? On the other hand I recognized that rarely things are questioned in Peru; people often talk behind their backs, but aren't speaking out loud what they think. Why? And if you like it or not there are lots of things in Peru (and yes in other countries as well) that need improvement, even from the Peruvian point of view and when I point them out I don't want to disrespect Peruvians, but want to improvement for the country I learned to love.



We are not Americans in the American English sense of the word. For them, we are part of the Americas though. The American system divides the globe in 7 continents, being North America and South America two separate ones. In contrast, our system teach us that America is one and is subdivided in three subcontinents. So, yeah, in Spanish we are "americanos," but in English, "Americans" are "estadounidenses." This is one of the little differences in culture out there, and it's fine for me. I won't go around trying to impose Americans my "Americanism" just because I learned this in a different way than they have.

And no, I'm not asking foreigners to accept our flaws and suppress their voice. I'm addressing the condescending way some use to voice their opinions about CULTURAL differences and some of the nasty attitudes caused by them described by some. It's true that there are a lot of things Peru needs to work on and try to change, but as I mentioned before, being condescending won't change anything. And yeah, I accept that the informality, traffic, corruption and many other things have to change. If foreigners have to comment about those issues and criticize them, I will totally agree with them and even be ashamed of them happening, because they are right. But tell me, who is an outsider to request locals to change their culture (things like the use of nicknames or our lack of personal space) just because they don't like it? And who are these guys to turn their cultural incompatibility into attacks to people who happen to walk near them or use a nickname? As a resident of the USA, I will comment on the subway system, the terrible quality of the health care, the insatiable greediness of the corporations or whatever affects me as a resident, and I think foreigners in Peru have all the right to do so as well. But why attack cultural stuff or everything around them? Wouldn't it be better if they just leave a place they can't stand?

And, if you understood the culture better, you would realize that Peruvians will accept any foreigners' criticism of the SYSTEM (realize this doesn't necessarily include cultural customs) as long as the tone with which you address the issue is constructive and positive. That's one of our cultural characteristics, tone says it all. Otherwise, Peruvians don't appreciate condescension from someone who feels entitled to belittle the nationals just because in their country the culture is different.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 7:40 pm

roddd wrote:Complains about Americans then jumps ship to live in the US.............nice

Introduce Yourself!
by Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 2:11 pm

I'm a Peruvian expat living in the USA. I found this forum while researching foreigners' perspectives about Peru. I think that as an immigrant myself, learning about immigrants' experiences in and perception of my own culture will help me understand them and myself better


Haha. You don't even understand what I'm talking about. I suggest you reread what I'm saying instead of bringing stuff posted somewhere else to discredit my opinion and exempt yourself from any fault.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 7:44 pm

Kelly wrote:
First of all, if someone who doesn't know me personally jump to make assumptions about me and/or Peruvians in general just because of their limited knowledge of my nationality and its culture, I couldn't care less about those people.


How do you know he has a limited knowledge of the culture? You don't know him personally. Sounds to me like you're jumping to a few conclusions yourself.


I said "if someone," didn't I?? I was referring to people in general, not about him in specific. And I said so in response to him proudly shoving on my face how the Japanese and other Hispanics supposedly think we Peruvians are "a joke."
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 8:17 pm

bobg wrote:Again we go on this me me me culture, the way you expressed yourself shows everyone how you a typical
Peruvian must think . I'm a nuts and bolts kinda person , don't have that masters, but like the Caption said
maybe because you (peruvians) are the way you are, is why most of peruvian assets , are foreign owned,
you don't own any utilities, stores, commerce, maybe Pisco.......... Bob


Lol. It seems that some people are over-defensive and can't stand any criticism, uh.

Well, maybe Peruvian assets are "owned by foreigners" because of the way we are. How terrible and stupid we are, aren't we? But fair enough, maybe the USA is going all the way down because of the way you folks "are," uh. The jobs are being outsourced, the highly paying jobs are being offered to foreigners in temporary visas, the university students who pay international fees (among which many pay for others to write their application essays and exaggerate their scores. Ask the Chinese and Indians!!) and will eventually leave, are preferred over residents who graduate from private schools full of debts and cannot get any job. Some of the low paying enterprises are relocating where they can minimize costs (eg. Mexico for farmers.) The foreigners who have enough money to buy houses and open up businesses are being invited to get green cards, etc. For some Americans, Americans are not profitable enough, so they are going global. They seem not to realize, however, that if people don't get the jobs here, they won't be able to afford the products/services they intend to sell. I think we have just started to see the consequences, but we will see them at their fullest in a couple decades.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 8:26 pm

rama0929 wrote:
Canelita wrote:
Lol. You are very funny. First of all, if someone who doesn't know me personally jump to make assumptions about me and/or Peruvians in general just because of their limited knowledge of my nationality and its culture, I couldn't care less about those people. And as baseless as their opinions are, I don't give a damn about them..


Then you go on to make assumptions about Americans... Using your own limited knowledge of their nationality and culture. I'd bet your opinions are just as baseless, using your own criteria to judge :lol:


Also, the lack of highly skilled professional workers is leading many corporations to outsource human capital here. Watch where you throw a stone.


You may want to check the types of jobs being outsourced. You may also want to check the types of jobs being insourced as well :wink:


Lol. The thing is, I haven't made assumptions about Americans. I'm addressing those who talk about us in a condescending way and have used some American cultural references for it.

And trust me, I know what type of jobs are being outsourced and what type of jobs corporations are bringing foreigners on temporary visas for. That's why I don't get surprised by the the fact that Indians have the highest income in the USA. They make twice as much as the average American resident/citizen.
Last edited by Canelita on Sun May 20, 2012 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 8:54 pm

Sorry for the triple post. I pressed the "quote" button instead of the "edit" one. And now I can't delete them.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Kelly » Sun May 20, 2012 9:00 pm

And I was deleting the extra posts and accidentally deleted one that wasn't a duplicate - soory - :oops:

But I was able to backup and copy it -

Canelita wrote:
Kelly wrote:
If you want to talk about how bad a certain thing is one country, saying "Yeah, but it's even worse in Country XYZ" neither proves nor disproves the point.

While I agree that some of the comments on this forum can lead to the ugly side- mostly because of generalizations, like the title of this thread - it bears repeating that while anyone is welcome here, it is after all, an Expat forum. The reason it came into being was to give expats - foreigners who live in Peru - a place to come together and occasionally to voice the frustrations that come with living in another culture.

As mentioned above, most of us complain about the personal space thing (among other things) at one time or another. That doesn't mean with think Peruvians should change to suit us. We have to adapt - but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be allowed to kvetch about it once in a while, nor should we be condemned for it.

I have no patience for N. Americans who complain that immigrants to our country have no right to complain about it. If you move to a country, if you contribute to its society - you have every right to complain. I've lived in Peru for 8 years. I contribute to the society through the taxes I pay, the businesses I frequent, the children that I'm raising to be good Peruvians. I think that gives me a right to complain about things when I think there's a better way of doing something.

It's a fallacy to think that "if you don't like it, leave" is always the best solution. The idea that if I don't like something in Peru, I should just return to the US is ludicrous. Why do you think I came to Peru in the first place? I love it here. I'd warrant that most people who have lived here more than a couple of years love it too. Why would I want to leave? That's like saying I should divorce my husband because he snores, and go back to the guy that used to beat me*.



*(just an example - my husband doesn't snore, and no one has ever hit me)



Kelly, I will repeat again and again, I'm perfectly fine with foreigners voicing their opinions and even venting their frustrations. You have the right to do it. You folks, in some way or another, are contributing to Peruvian society. And I understand that adjusting can take time. What I'm complaining about is the "I'm better than you, third worlder" attitude some display (and as I mentioned, is a pervasive nasty attitude many many Americans display,) which is the very reason some of these users proudly say they retaliate against those who invade their personal space. That's sooo rude, especially when the people they retaliate against are not even aware of whatever custom they bring from abroad. And from their posts, it seems that they really hate Peruvians and our culture. And there's WHEN I suggest they leave. If I were to hate Americans and everything about them, there would be pointless for me to stay here, would it?
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby douglas8 » Sun May 20, 2012 9:07 pm

create industrial/communications/transportation revolutions


ummmmm can you name one of these that the US "created"
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby bobg » Sun May 20, 2012 9:37 pm

Lol,Lol.Lol whats so funny ? why are you in the usa ? is it because you can't, get, do, or say the things you
you can do in the us ? Are you a student ? What do you want to do with your life ? I don't think anyone is trying to change Peruvian culture , life experiences are whats talked about on the forum perhaps you need a little longer to to experience life as it is, real, not what you get from books or the portion of society that dominates your life. You are very intelligent use it wisely .........
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby goingnowherefast1 » Sun May 20, 2012 9:49 pm

ummmmm can you name one of these that the US "created"


USA invented the internet (comm revolution).

USA was the first country to mass produce automobiles with interchangeable parts. Could probably say the same about planes. We also created the first boat that goes upstream (steamboat). (Transportation revolution)

Hard to say who created the concept of industrialization, but USA is without a doubt the largest and longest running industrialized nation.

More or less, without the USA, the world would still be like Peru. Hate it or love it but that's a fact jack. So yeah, all that might explain a little arrogance....
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby captsirl » Sun May 20, 2012 10:00 pm

Maybe it was her contribution to the country she loves so much to get the best education she could and then leave. It seems to be a popular trend. Move to North America to make room for the great migration to Peru.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby douglas8 » Sun May 20, 2012 10:10 pm

could have sworn j. watt created the steam engine for your steamboat and was also a brit that invented the www which most people mistakenly call the internet which was an international consensus which btw uses computers also invented by brits...as for the car it was simultaneously invented by several europeans makers and cant be claimed by any one person..

might want to get your facts in order when making sweeping statements about what was "created"
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby rama0929 » Sun May 20, 2012 10:24 pm

Canelita wrote:Kelly, I will repeat again and again, I'm perfectly fine with foreigners voicing their opinions and even venting their frustrations. You have the right to do it. You folks, in some way or another, are contributing to Peruvian society. And I understand that adjusting can take time. What I'm complaining about is the "I'm better than you, third worlder" attitude some display (and as I mentioned, is a pervasive nasty attitude many many Americans display,) which is the very reason some of these users proudly say they retaliate against those who invade their personal space. That's sooo rude, especially when the people they retaliate against are not even aware of whatever custom they bring from abroad.


Silly 1st word Americans, expecting (demanding?) common courtesies and behavior from 3rd world Peruvians... How arrogant, don't they know they're not in America? I mean, why would they expect to have personal space? Why would their women not expect cat calls and wolf whistles? Why would they expect people to drive like they're not in some kind of demolition derby? Why would people expect honesty? I mean it's *PERU* fer cryin out loud. Those people just can't help themselves... They don't know any better.

So my fellow murricans, the next time you go to Peru, lower your standards a bit, you'll be a better person for it... :twisted: :P
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby xcountry12 » Sun May 20, 2012 11:05 pm

goingnowherefast1 wrote:
ummmmm can you name one of these that the US "created"


USA invented the internet (comm revolution).

USA was the first country to mass produce automobiles with interchangeable parts. Could probably say the same about planes. We also created the first boat that goes upstream (steamboat). (Transportation revolution)

Hard to say who created the concept of industrialization, but USA is without a doubt the largest and longest running industrialized nation.

More or less, without the USA, the world would still be like Peru. Hate it or love it but that's a fact jack. So yeah, all that might explain a little arrogance....


The US did invent the internet, but if it wasn't for Timothy Berners-Lee an English scientist, the world wide web wouldn't have been created.

The first to invent the car was Karl Benz from germany and Thomas Savery was the first to invent the steam engine mechanism.

England became the first industrialized nation, not the USA.

and you cant attribute all power to the USA because there are many other powerful nations.

don't make comments unless you have your facts correct, opinions are not facts.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby captsirl » Sun May 20, 2012 11:11 pm

WOW
I must be the Antichrist for expecting drinking water from a faucet
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 11:47 pm

rama0929 wrote:
Canelita wrote:Kelly, I will repeat again and again, I'm perfectly fine with foreigners voicing their opinions and even venting their frustrations. You have the right to do it. You folks, in some way or another, are contributing to Peruvian society. And I understand that adjusting can take time. What I'm complaining about is the "I'm better than you, third worlder" attitude some display (and as I mentioned, is a pervasive nasty attitude many many Americans display,) which is the very reason some of these users proudly say they retaliate against those who invade their personal space. That's sooo rude, especially when the people they retaliate against are not even aware of whatever custom they bring from abroad.


Silly 1st word Americans, expecting (demanding?) common courtesies and behavior from 3rd world Peruvians... How arrogant, don't they know they're not in America? I mean, why would they expect to have personal space? Why would their women not expect cat calls and wolf whistles? Why would they expect people to drive like they're not in some kind of demolition derby? Why would people expect honesty? I mean it's *PERU* fer cryin out loud. Those people just can't help themselves... They don't know any better.

So my fellow murricans, the next time you go to Peru, lower your standards a bit, you'll be a better person for it... :twisted: :P


Lol. You are so funny, my "1st world" friend. Come on, tell me, what are the common courtesies and behaviors you feel so entitled to? I mean, yeah, why would you or any other foreigner for that matter, expect to have personal space in a country where that concept doesn't even exist?? Really, who are you to demand that? We are not an individualistic society, AND there are not little bubbles surrounding us for that reason. So, yeah, that's a good question. Who are newcomers to expect something that doesn't exist there? The fact that in your culture, respecting others' personal space is a common courtesy doesn't give you the right to expect so from people who don't know about it, in their own land, and even worse, suggest they have no manners for it. In this case, the problem is not their lack of courtesy, but your unwelcome entitlement. Why don't you better follow "teamoperu.."'s advice and simply try to reduce the duration you are exposed to it?

About cat calls and wolf whistles, actually most women enjoy it. For many women, those are a signal that they look good that day. We are a LATIN culture, and, let me tell you, your anglo ass WON'T change it. Latin men, including Italians, are assertive and flirty. Unlike a vast number of Americans, they won't be afraid to make the first move when they like a woman. And most Latin women, and even anglo women, like that in a man. Anyway, the cat-calling guys won't even approach women, yet they won't hesitate to make them know they appreciate their beauty. And actually, MOST women enjoy it. It's not our fault that a lot of American men are so afraid of rejection they don't even dare to approach a woman. And yes, that's another cultural issue you have no right to change just because in your culture people are not that romantically expressive at all. Fortunately, we are.

About the driving and honesty thing, yes, I will give you some credit there. People need to change that. Their driving skills NEED to change, and dishonesty should be eradicated. But, sadly, in Peru many end up being dishonest as a consequence of corruption. It's a surviving mechanism many develop in the developing countries. When people lose faith in their governing entities, they look for ways to survive on their own, and sadly, some end up being dishonest with others. We're seeing it in an increasing rate here in the states. Poverty and robberies have increased alarmingly, and the top 1% have increased their ownership, power, and salaries formidably. Those CEOs and Wall Street workers are not any more honest than your average Peruvian, trust me, because honesty is not a specific country's concern. It is a HUMAN trait, whose frequency is conditioned by the circumstances.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Sun May 20, 2012 11:57 pm

captsirl wrote:WOW
I must be the Antichrist for expecting drinking water from a faucet


Those are the twists of living in an developing country AFTER living in a country where people don't get to develop antibodies to certain living things.

While in Peru, I have always drunk water from the faucet and I have never gotten a disease. In fact, I'm healthier than many Americans now, AND I have rarely gone to see a doctor in my life...unless I needed vaccinations.

Any other expectation you don't want to feel like the Antichrist for?
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby douglas8 » Sun May 20, 2012 11:59 pm

on re-reading some of the posts here i have to say some of the people who are exhibiting glee at some of the unfortunate attributes of peru are pretty repugnant themselves.


and by the way

More or less, without the USA, the world would still be like Peru. Hate it or love it but that's a fact jack. So yeah, all that might explain a little arrogance....


actually your post painfully explains only your ignorance...with a collective wince of all who read it.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Canelita » Mon May 21, 2012 12:06 am

douglas8 wrote:on re-reading some of the posts here i have to say some of the people who are exhibiting glee at some of the unfortunate attributes of peru are pretty repugnant themselves.


and by the way

More or less, without the USA, the world would still be like Peru. Hate it or love it but that's a fact jack. So yeah, all that might explain a little arrogance....


actually your post painfully explains only your ignorance...with a collective wince of all who read it.


And that's what I've been talking about. These people live in a country they seem to hate, and go around displaying their nasty "I'm better than the locals of the country I live in" attitude. And they are completely blind to their own faults. So, yeah, I don't see any reason why they are living there, or in any other place for that matter.

Besides, most of the developed countries owe their wealth and growth to the ones they have abused. That's a fact.
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Re: American expats are incredibly ethnocentric

Postby Kelly » Mon May 21, 2012 12:15 am

I had hoped this thread would be able to focus on learning something from each other (I know, wishful thinking) but instead it's become nothing but attacks. I think pretty much everyone who cares to has expressed an opinion, and I honestly don't see it moving in any more positive direction - so let's just leave it at that.

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