What Brits See When They Think Of Americans

people of wal mart What Brits See When They Think Of Americans

Listening to last week’s episode of the Football Weekly Podcast on The Guardian, I had to laugh when studio guest (and occasional EPL Talk blogger) Richard Whittall brought up the topic of stereotypes about British women. Astounding as it may seem, The Guardian’s Barney Ronay had no idea what Whittall was talking about and seemed perplexed by Whittall’s polite hints of what British women are famous for.

It got me thinking. Having lived on both sides of the Atlantic and having British and American passports, I’m quite aware of British stereotypes about Americans and vice-versa.

So in the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to share what the Brits picture when they think of the stereotypical American. They think that the average American is:

  • Obese,
  • Obnoxious,
  • Loud,
  • Fake,
  • Not bright,
  • Have an annoying accent, and
  • Know nothing about soccer.

Readers, am I missing any stereotypes? Click the comments link below to share any that I may have missed or what your opinion is about the stereotypes that British people have about Americans.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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59 Responses to What Brits See When They Think Of Americans

  1. man99utd says:

    Having lived in different parts of the world, I agree with you’re observations. Most also think all Americans are filthy rich and lazy.

    • Sharyn says:

      I laugh when I read all this about stereotypical Americans. Yes, there are fat, obnoxious, loud Americans, but this type of person exists everywhere. People need to think about where a great deal of American’s ancestors came from. My ancestry is three quarters British, most Americans can count at least a small percentage of their forefathers as originating in Great Britain. As for all of us being rich and lazy, just watch the British show “Shameless” and you can see that England has it’s share of lazy malcontents too. I love the Brits, I love America.

  2. Eddie says:

    Good to see Little England alive and kicking.

  3. Alejandro says:

    While watching premier league games on Saturday/Sunday this is what us Americans see in the stands…English People that are…
    * Obese,
    * Obnoxious,
    * Loud,
    * Fake,
    * Not bright,
    * Have an annoying accent

    But I guess that they know stuff about soccer…so that is a plus…

    • Nick says:

      Haha I completely agree with this. Also, comparing the major sports between the two countries, Americans are light years ahead of them athletically.

  4. Raatzie says:

    I am not fake.

    /am obese
    //arguably all of the other characteristics as well
    ///having watched “Bend it Like Beckham”, am soccer expert. Amirite?

  5. Chris says:

    This is really turning me off of EPL Talk….This is very stupid…also considerig the fact I see a bunch of fat ass in stands in England in fact there is fat asses all over the world. This is really stupid…I cant say I wont be visiting this site anymore.

  6. Chris says:

    EDIT: I Can say I will not be visiting this site anymore.

  7. AdamTheRed says:

    I already thought the ‘gaffer’ sounded like a douche bag on the Audible commercials. But the vacuous nature of the past three posts has finally ended the charade for me.

    Thank GOD for World Football Daily!

    • The Gaffer says:

      Adam, why do I sound like a douche bag on the Audible commercials? As for WFD, it’s $40/year and doesn’t give you a lot of the content you can get here including free podcasts and plenty of scoops about ESPN2, FSC and other stories.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  8. Tom says:

    Guns (lots of them)

    Big cars/trucks (not because they need them, just because they can)

    Don’t trust the government except when it comes to big things like say Iraq

    Never fails to mention “we saved your ass” anytime they meet a French person

    If they read about the cops catching 12 drunk drivers at a dui checkpoint they get outraged. Not because of the drunks, because of the checkpoint (“what is this Nazi Germany”)

    • ovalball says:

      “Don’t trust the government except when it comes to big things like say Iraq.”

      And my Social Security check!

      Pretty good, Tom :-D

  9. Oleg says:

    Hmm, what is the point of this blog post? To start a flame war? Poor taste.

  10. ossie's dream says:

    Not having listened to the podcast, can you let us know what it is British women are supposed to be famous for?

    While some cultural stereotypes exist because there is a kernel of truth in them, people should resist making lazy and broad generalizations about whole groups of people.

    As a US-UK dual national, I often get annoyed when my British friends consider all Americans to be, for example, stupid and ignorant of foreign cultures. IMO, there is no such thing as a “typical” American. This is a nation of 300M people, most of whom have wildly different personalities and opinions.

    The same goes to the Yanks who take lazy potshots at the French.

    We’re all part of the same cosmic soup.

  11. John says:

    What’s wrong with you, Gaffer? You are not helping dispell any steryotypes that you mistakenly think all Americans have regarding the British. I do, now, thanks to your two recents posting on the topic, beleive several of them are true. i.e. the arrogance and holier-than-thou attitude that you have displayed in this posting.

    Get a life and start talking about soccer….

    • Laurence says:

      Surely that last paragraph was an oxymoron…

      I jest.

      Is he saying that these things are true or observing? Surely this conversation below shows that the stereotypes aren’t as powerful as some would want us to believe.

  12. Long Island Gooner says:

    GAFFER,

    I’m not really sure what the point of this post is but I agree with some of your observations. Having lived in the UK (London and Edinburgh) for almost a decade, I spent an awful amount of time dispelling most of these horrible stereotypes and often successfully. The “Americans are stupid” stereotype purported by many Europeans irritated me the most. The fact is we have one of the highest rates of published research articles in the sciences, we are near the top when it comes to nobel laureates per capita, and we have the highest rates of enrollment in tertiary education in the entire world even though university education is dirt cheap or free by comparison in Europe. Having been obsessed with geography and foreign cultures and languages from a young age, I can say though, unfortunately, we are severely lacking in our geographic knowledge.

    • Art says:

      “… university education is dirt cheap or free by comparison in Europe. ”

      U.S. college tuition ranges from $5,000 on up. The max in the UK is just over $5,000 U.S. French universities charge no tuition and only an undergrad fee of about $150 U.S. and German schools? About $1,500 U.S.

      I don’t think arguing against misconceptions with more makes much sense. I don’t really have a problem with the Gaffer’s post other than maybe it should have included perceptions of both sides of the Atlantic and how they’re not totally true in either instance.

      • Long Island Gooner says:

        I’m going by what I know. I did my undergrad at Edinburgh. My sisters did theirs at NYU and BU respectively. It seems tuition for UK students has gone up significantly since my college years but even at a highly-ranked institution as my alma mater it is still roughly 1500 quid I believe. I checked some of the more expensive schools in the London area and you are right, UK schools seem to max out at just over $5000 for home tuition which pales in comparison to what my sisters had to pay. According to sources at the NYTimes, US News, etc. The average tuition ranging from in-state public university to private is between $15,000 and $16,000 which would prove I am correct in my assertion that there is a huge gap in the cost of tuition. Add to that that accommodation and food plans are significantly cheaper in the UK when you live on campus and off-campus housing for some reason is also hell of a lot cheaper, along with campus food, and the same textbooks are much more expensive in the US than in the UK. All this means advantage goes to the UK student and yet, in the same age group, 40% of young Americans are enrolled in university compared to less than 30% in the UK. In fact, the UK is ranked 24th out of 28 OECD nations.

  13. Eric T says:

    …And the point of this was?

  14. ovalball says:

    I am always amazed at the people who get incensed at some posting of the Gaffer’s. If there is anything I’ve learned in reading epltalk.com it is that the Gaffer posts things like he’s tossing chum on the water. Sometimes the fish rise to the bait and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re soccer related, sometimes not. “What computer did you start with?” Brilliant! Why not?

    I picture him with a gleam in his eye every time he posts, just waiting for someone to get his shorts tied in a knot.

    If you can’t stand him, don’t read him. There’s always Kartik. ;-)

  15. John says:

    Do you feel better about yourself now, ovalball?

    • ovalball says:

      I think I’m crushed. :’-(

      • Eric T says:

        No, I’m not incensed, it’s just this is supposed to be a soccer blog, so I fail to see the point of the post. Furthermore, it only perpetuates unjust stereotypes. Gaffer, answer me, what does this have to with the EPL?

        • The Gaffer says:

          Eric, it’s a fair question. The topic of stereotypes that Americans have about Brits was brought up on The Guardian football podcast last week, so since most of the readers here are either from the UK or US, I thought it’d be interesting to see what the stereotypes are about each of us.

          While this is a soccer blog, I also have written about British culture and have had writers share stories about British food, beer, music and travel in the past.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

          • Eric T says:

            Fair point, i guess I wouldn’t have made that comment if it were a story about British food for example so I see where you’re going. I enjoy like 99% of whats on here; I just thought maybe this one wasn’t the best idea.

  16. Nick says:

    Yeah yeah yeah. We as American people have very few fans outside of the States. We’re all stupid and fat and all our kids bring guns to schools, and we all watch NASCAR and beat women.

    We are also a racist country, are a very poor country, and of course have no awareness to the outside world. Englands opinions of us are well known.

    Yet every night you eat Americanized food and watch American tv shows and more or less act as American as your English blood allows.

    Great post by the way…this will bring the community together! =]

    • Laurence says:

      Americans beat women?

      • Huh says:

        America food and TV? I always wanted to know where chicken tikka masala came from now I know, America right? your right about the TV as well i.e Pop idol or should I call it by it’s real name American Idol and then there’s the Office or how about Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares etc.

  17. Tyson says:

    You forgot to mention no sense of humour.

    Americans are some of the most insecure people on the planet to be honest they can’t take a joke if they feel they are being critisized.

    The funny thing is some of the commentors are pissed off that people outside America think a lot of Americans are overweight.. lol wtf?!

  18. JLay says:

    Well, I’m an American and only three or four of those stereotypes apply to me. Now, what’s with all of the vitriol?

    You’ve asked why the Gaffer would post this, so I’ll turn it around on you; do you really think anyone’s interested in your rambling, incoherent expressions of outrage at…. nothing?

    The really funny thing is, you’re validating half of the negative stereotypes with your *loud, *obnoxious,*fake, and *less than bright responses…

    LIGHTEN UP.

  19. jleau says:

    I actually think this is an interesting topic. Unlike most sports that I have followed, the EPL has exposed me to a different culture that I would have otherwise not got to know.

    Reading British newspapers, blogs, and watching Skysports has really opened my eyes. I had a lot of ideas about what Brits and Europeans were like and most of what I thought was wrong. I imagine if I ever end up visiting my thinking would evolve even more.

    I think one of the great things about soccer is it truley is global.

    • DZ says:

      Exactly my experience. Not just UK-USA, but other countries as well. I can say that for me, maybe the single biggest change I’ve made is spending more time watching Sky Sports news and BBC America.

      I’ve severly soured on the quality of TV news and sports commentators in the USA. After listening to most any EPL or Champions League match or watching BBC America programming, it becomes glaring how poor the commentary is in the US.

  20. Ryan says:

    As an American, I wish these stereotypes didn’t exist, but I can honestly say that I don’t fit any of those stereotypes.

    What I think is unfortunate, is that people here are complaining about this article and attacking the writers.

    If you don’t like the blog, DON’T READ IT. It’s a blog. It’s not a news site. There will be some subjective stuff written. No one is MAKING you read it. Just move along. And they weren’t even calling us these negative things. I think it’s an interesting topic.

  21. NetherHolland says:

    Doesn’t America have a show called THE BIGGEST LOSER? This coming season has a dude that starts at like 475 pounds. Gee I wonder why people think of that when it comes to the US.

  22. TheLaffer says:

    I always found British stereotypes of Americans to be funny because they could also be describing themselves. Let’s face it, England and America are almost carbon copies of each other.

    Anyone who got their panties in a bunch over this article is a drama queen. I have a hard time believing you could get this upset over an article that was supposed to be fun and made in good spirit.

    If you want to see a disgusting article written by a snob originally from America, read this article. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/nov/26/good-bad-american

    I politely responded that the article was absurd and nothing more than pandering to British stereotypes of America in order to sell. They deleted my comment.

  23. Tyson says:

    You guys need a sense of humour I thought the two posts were pretty funny till everybody spoilt the fun.

    I mean if you dislike what you say why not ignore it?

    No need to create flamebait.

  24. MarkB says:

    This is funny, because those impressions do describe a lot of people here in Alabama where I have lived for the last 40 years

  25. Tamarindo says:

    Hey Gaffer,

    New reader here. Definitely enjoy your bloh. Let me first start off by saying that what other reason is there for a blog than to stir the pot. Who cares if this blog is about soccer? Stir it up my man.

    Having said that I’d like to take a quote from a comment from Nick

    “Yet every night you eat Americanized food and watch American tv shows and more or less act as American as your English blood allows.”

    Never ceases to amaze me how many America haters there are yet those same knuckles devour our culture daily.

    • John says:

      Yes fatty you are correct they do show American shows. They also show many many many British shows you idiot. They also show Australian shows, except the Aussies have some brains and don’t relate watching a show to wanting to f**k them.

      Your culture is stuffing your face and making a fool out of yourself. If you spent your money on health care (instead of weapons) you might lose some f**king pounds and the rest of the world might not laugh at the stupid thick yanks.

      No chance of that, the yanks are too scared of the government being in control of the “death panels”, the private sector sector works much better.

      “I just found out I have cancer”

      “Now that we found out you have cancer, we just looked over your application and we found some discrepancies”

      What do you call a person paying $1500 a month for health care?

      An American

    • Tyson says:

      OK to all my American friends on a serious note for a moment just read what this dude is saying.

      He is in essence saying Americans owe nothing to the Brits while the Brits owe everything to America and the irony.. he is saying it in ENGLISH.. see what I mean guys I love fooling around and having a joke like the rest of you but this is ignorant at its best wtf do you guys expect anybody to say to him?

      You guys need to stop with the colour commentary and wake up a little there are people like that out there and they don’t deserve defending.

  26. DZ says:

    Perhaps a better article would’ve been, “How has Futbol (which is how I’ve reconciled the Soccer/Football/AmericanFootball terminology debate) opened your eyes to different cultures?”

    For me in the last 5 years, just getting to know all I can about futbol has provided me interaction with people of many different cultures and nationalities and actually has dispelled prejudgments and notions that both I and they had. Isn’t this a better result from international sport?

    Unfortunately, this blog’s line of discussion seems to be doing the opposite.

    • The Gaffer says:

      DZ, read my recent article entitled “How American Soccer Fans Are Smarter Than Average Americans” at: http://epltalk.com/how-american-soccer-fans-are-smarter-than-average-americans/12338

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • DZ says:

        OK, done as requested and I can say that I agree with you adding the caveat that we’re again using a comparison to this fictional ‘average American’. I would grant that most any futbol fan from the US has an elevated sensitivity to globalness, although I don’t necessarily insist that this characteristic is directly correlated to intelligence.

        One thing I find that many who do not grow up in the US seem to not understand about US nationals is that we are a very large country in terms of land area coupled with the fact that we are quite isolated physically from the rest of the world. We simply don’t learn it because we truly have very few immediate neighbor nations compared to most any European or Asian country.

        Early in our country’s history, this provided a tremendous amount of insulation and security to which we’d quickly grown quite accustomed and which also allowed a great deal of security to foster a rapidly developing industrial base.

        When you consider how the US citizen approaches the rest of the world, understand that it is a far more (pardon the pun) foreign concept to us to have many nations so close than most any other country in the world, largely because we’ve never had to deal with it.

        This I don’t label as ignorance in the pejorative, but rather ignorance which comes from a lack of experience. To me it is the singlemost characteristic that defines Americans and what many abroad translate to ignorance and arrogance.

        For many in the US, we simply don’t learn

  27. Adam says:

    Regardless of the purpose of this article, however strange it may be, it gets you people talking. USA ENGLAND World Cup match spark this rant?

    Stereotypes are not always true, but they don’t arise out of thin air. Yes there are many stereotypes, of any big nation, and everyone loves to hate on the Americans. I am abroad right now, and have done a bit of traveling. America is CONVENIENCE. Our culture is convenience. We take whats good from your countries and combine them to make a greater and more efficient product. How is that dumb and/or ignorant. Fat people are everywhere, well except for China.

    Of course when people meet Americans, they are partying. They look and act more foolish. This is understandable. Americans, on another important note, travel first in America. See and love your own country before you see another, right? America is probably a lot bigger of a country than yours i am assuming…

    • me says:

      I’ve lived in England and America and all I have to say is – there are idiots everywhere.

      But there are definitely more fat people in the US. I lived in Houston and San Antonio – two of the fattest cities in the US.

      I give Adam credit – America is convenience. But that convenience turns people into fat, lazy, pieces of shit. For example, in Houston or San Antonio – without a car you are fucked for the most part. That’s why these people get so damn fat. In London I’d say the general health of the average individual is higher compared to Houston or San Antonio.

      But that’s just the weight issue I’m talking about.

      Americans aren’t ignorant. Neither are the English. But I mean seriously…let’s stop comparing the countries. Texas alone is almost 3x the size of the UK.

      Don’t get it fucked up though. English people who have never lived in the US or been to the US think the grass is so damn green it’s ridiculous. They love everything American almost as much as the Japanese but they have trouble admitting it.

      England is more suited to my lifestyle. But I respect people in general regardless of their nationality unless given reason not to. Oh well.

  28. A. Ruiz says:

    OK, all English people calling American fat……look at the rankings of the most obese developed nations on earth. England is usually #2 or #3 after the US and Mexico.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/4361796/England-worst-in-Western-Europe-for-obesity-and-teenage-pregnancy.html

    Insert stuff about glass houses and all that jazz.

    So what do brits see when they look at americans? A near mirror image of themselves, it’s not America’s fault if they don’t like what they see.

  29. Diane says:

    I am an American Living in the United Kingdom
    I am beautiful, rich, slim, and smart. I am not loud, and my neighbors like me.

    What so I think about the Brits ????
    You are all so very nice and charming. You make us feel welcome and wonder why we moved to the UK from the US.
    What I have found is that you are also just as heavy as we are as a society, and you have contributed nothing to the world over the last 30 years other then Harry Potter. I have only seen one child here with braces on their teeth, and your fashion is so 1980′s.
    Briton…..Get a grip……..You have a long way to go before you have any justification in condeming Americans

  30. Alaric says:

    Pizza and Spaghetti came from Italy, Hamburger from Germany. Tacos from God knows I don’t give a f**k.

  31. Mike says:

    Wow, can you say stereotype??? Just because Americans are smarter, richer and more athletic doesn’t mean you can rail on them. June 12. Landon and Co. are going to show how much America has improved at soccer. One of your superstars is named Ashley, come on stop insulting America!

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