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Parker: What the French know of Americans

April 2, 2011

Say you’re American to a Parisian, and there are a few typical responses you will receive:
1. Oh, so you love McDonald’s?
2. Are you from New York? (It’s either NYC, San Francisco, LA, or maybe a couple like Chicago or Miami)
3. I love Obama!
4. Some comment that basically means “You Americans aren’t doing it right.”

It’s nice to see that they really understand our culture. Now, I’m not saying that Americans don’t do the same when it comes to France, but you would think they might understand a little more thoroughly a country their youth spends so much time trying to copy…(see previous post “Letter Jackets and Beats by Dre”).

It’s amazing to me how ethnocentric the French can be. And they are not afraid to admit it. Because almost everyone I have met seems to genuinely think France is the greatest country in the world. And good for them, I’m glad they have a strong sense of national pride, but they sure have an odd sense of showing it sometimes. They elect people and then instantly hate them, constantly demonstrate against, well, anything, and have a school system that breeds social inequality. They refuse to record race or religion on their census, insisting that they are a color-blind State (and meanwhile they point to the U.S. as being full of racial issues) while failing to realize the obvious racial and religious inequalities in their secular, “welcoming” country.

I love Paris, and I don’t want to leave, but I will never stop questioning some of the oddities of the French way of thinking.

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