My friend mentioned how people in his country freely express their dislike of Americans. I personally experienced his countrymen's attitude toward US citizens when I visited his country as a teenager. I made friends with a local resident about my age. He brought me into a bar where five of his friends were playing cards. My acquaintance introduced me to them. The biggest member of the group, said, "We think American's are arrogant ***holes." Of course, I wasn't in a good position to argue with him, so I made my way to the door.
As I said, my email friend reminded me of his country's unfortunate attitude towards the people of the United States. I understand that most foreigners have never had the opportunity to travel across America (neither have most Americans for that matter) and are not aware of how diverse our society is. I thought about my friend's comment for some time, and finally I came to this conclusion:
According to the 2010 US Census, White Americans account for 72% of the US population. Hispanic and Latino Americans weigh in at 15%. Black Americans are the largest racial minority and make up to 13% of this country's population. The remainder of the US population comes from every country around the globe. This number accounts for millions of US citizens. For example, the Chinese have a respectable presence in this country. We have a number of "China Towns" in our bigger cities like Boston and New York.
In 2012, 76% of Americans identified themselves as Christians. Some 25% of these Christians are Catholics. At least 51% come from more than 30 different denominations. For the rest of the population, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism collectively account for 4% of the adults in this country. Please understand that this is no small number. Finally, 15% of the adult population has no religious affiliation. Another 5% have no interest in discussing religion. If you consider that the total population in this country is over 306,861,871, these last two figures represent millions of Americans.
There are a large number of "accepted" or in some cases "tolerated" religions such a Shinto and Taoism. It's also true that there are a considerable number of diverse alternative religious and quasi-religious groups operating in the United States. These "unconventional" religious and philosophical organizations include the Scientologists, Christian Scientists, and the Unification Church. There are many more. I can only guess that there must be several million people who choose to associate with these groups.
On top of this, we know that there is an incredible disparity in the distribution in of wealth in this country. The top 1% of Americans earns $717,000, compared to the rest of the population which have an average annual income of $51,000. This means that the 1% is worth approximately $8,400,000, or 70 times that of the lower class. Some figures state that the 1% controls 43% of the wealth in this nation, with the next 4% claiming a healthy 29%. This information tells us that the majority of Americans are not obscenely wealthy as some outsiders erroneously led to believe.
There are also several political groups vying for control of the government. There are two primary political parties competing with each other command of the US government. They are the conservative Republic Party, and the liberal Democratic Party. There are several groups that might be labeled as radical or extremist in their views. I'm not sure who makes these accusations. The two previously mentioned parties are too busy fighting with each other to be concerned with these smaller political organizations.
Americans realize that there are vast cultural differences in the United States depending on what part of the country or state a person resides. The citizens of Texas have different values from the people of New York. This is also the case with the residents of Massachusetts and Alabama. Cultural differences are also plainly visible within each state.
There are also a small number of dangerous groups whose objective is to instigate an ethnic cleansing war. They are known under various names, including aryans, white supremacists, and skin heads. These organizations have been collectively designated as "hate groups." They should not be taken as representative of most Americans. Their unwelcoming label "hate group" says it all.
There are even subversive groups who oppose the government and would like to replace it with whatever political ideology drives them. For this reason, militias and paramilitary training have been outlawed in most states. Some watch groups cite hate groups masquerading as militias as being primarily responsible for this ban.
These two preceding paragraphs are meant to reveal the fact that not all Americans agree with the conditions in this country. I want to make it known, that just as in other countries; America also has people who feel it necessary to make their views known in a destructive manner.
So who is it I ask, that our foreign friends hate? Is the Chinese? Or perhaps the Hispanics? I'm can you tell they are not aware of this hatred, nor would they give it a second thought. I'm thinking that foreigners detest the white celebrities that they see on television. There is a considerable amount of confusion here.
Our sometimes reckless entertainers provide our foreign viewers with a negative image of American society. Those with celebrity status should not be compared to the character of the "average" American. It's a mistake to construe the antics of certain public figures with the beliefs and values of the "common" man and woman living in this country. Notice that I placed quotes around the word average and common when I refer to Americans.
To end my discussion, I want to throw in my two cents concerning the Zimmerman case. I'm not going to speak on the trial or the verdict. I will just say that this incident was a tragedy for everyone involved, especially for the Martin family.
This case has taken a serious racist turn. I am not denying that racism exists in this country. It exists on every level and for every unjustifiable reason. But let's take a moment to look at racism through the eyes of a person who could mistakenly be identified as a racist because of his pale color.
For several years, I worked in a social service capacity for a public defender unit in the suburbs of a large city. I came into contact with many decent minority citizens in the course of fulfilling my professional responsibilities. For those trying to twist my words, I am not saying that all of people I encountered were minorities.
I recently found myself lost in an unfamiliar part of town which appeared to be predominantly occupied by African Americans. I actually found myself sitting in front of an NAACP building. Despite my positive work experience with diverse cultures, I began to wonder about my well-being. What if I, a middle aged White male, were to ask someone in this neighborhood for directions? This may have been an unwarranted thought, but I was apprehensive in taking that action. This story is not making veiled or suggestive remarks about the NAACP or any particular person in this neighborhood.
Following the Zimmerman trial, I observed (on television) the commotion caused by protesters in Los Angeles and many other large cities across the country. Some protesters randomly assaulted commuters, smashed store windows, set fires, and threw bricks at police officers. All of this destruction is said to be in protest of racial injustice and inequality. This kind behavior might cause fear in the very class of people that they are labeling racist. That's my personal feeling about this situation.
On the other hand, I had a very pleasant conversation with an African American woman on the very day that the Zimmerman verdict was made. The Zimmerman trial was never brought up. Instead, we had a casual conversation about our pets. This positive experience reinforces my belief that the activities of a group of angry protesters do not reflect the attitude of an entire race. In fact, I do not even like to refer to a class of people. It would be best if the human race could find a way to stop dividing itself among racial, economic, political, and religious lines. The "us versus them" mentality is the catalyst for the animosity we project towards every rival class in this country.
I'm not asking anyone to tolerate oppression. I'm suggesting that we all be mindful of who we hate and that we give some thought to why we hate them. It doesn't hurt to be introspective. The flames hatred cannot be extinguished by applying additional hate to it. Hate negatively affects all nations and races. It is inevitable that every one of us will become victims of blind hatred at least once in our lifetime.