Tuesday, 27 October 2015

On being asked if I'm American

I wrote a post not too long ago about the questions I hate being asked the most. One of those was whether or not I was American (and thanks to my accent, I get asked that quite a lot). That got me wondering why I don't love being asked that, hence the following ramblings. 

I have nothing against Americans. The US has great shopping and movies and food and music and history and people. Americans have always been lovely to us and we've travelled quite a bit around the States because it really is a beautiful country. We used to go down to Seattle every summer and watch a Mariners game (and strangely enough it was a lot of fun, despite the fact that I don't get baseball (at all)). 

So why don't I like being asked if I'm American? 

I think it's because some people lump Canada and the US in the same country. They're right beside each other, the people have similar beliefs, political systems, weather and culture so I suppose it's totally understandable. But we are separate countries. Someone has even asked if Canada was just a big city inside America. (?!?!?!) 

I think in some ways that Canada has always been considered to be inferior to the US, too. I remember when we bought a bunch of fighter jets and Mom said it was to keep up with the US. We have less famous actors, singers and athletes. The Americans revolted while the Canadians dug deeper into their pockets for more tax money. Search up "Canadian military memes" on Google. Sad stuff. And I realize Canada isn't inferior and that both countries are great for different reasons, but it's always in the back of my mind for some reason. 

So I think the reason why I don't always like being asked if I'm from the States is because in my mind, I'm hearing that Canada isn't important enough to be called its own country. 

I realize it's a bit insane of me. 

Ok, a LOT insane. 

It's this totally irrational thought that I haven't quite dug out of my head yet. When I'm asked if I'm American I'm hearing "well, the only country in North America with that accent is America and that other insignificant country so I should ask if she's American." I'm not trying to distance myself from the US because I don't like them (and I assume that's what most people think when I say I'm not American? They always apologize after.) When I say that I'm not actually American, I'm Canadian, I'm trying to say that we matter too and that I'm proud to be from Canada. 

I realize it's irrational of me and I am in turn stereotyping Australians on their stereotypes and geography skills (which isn't cool). Up until now, though, I hadn't realized why I don't like being asked if I'm American. Now that I know, I realize it's time for me to stop stereotyping others and allow myself to relax a little. I'm over thinking the situation when it's nowhere near as complicated as I'm making it out to be. It's something I have to work on and let go. 

So to the Australians who have asked me if I am American: no, I am not. I appreciate you asking and I'm sorry if I've ever snapped at you. I will try harder to not stereotype in the future. 

To all Americans: keep being awesome. 

To all Canadians: thanks for sharing such an awesome country with me. 

4 comments:

  1. Ahh, I can understand that. I'm Australian and I didn't realise we even had those stereotypes for canadians! I'm too busy trying to explain to the Americans that yes Australia is on the opposite side of the world and yes **gasp** that means our seasons are opposite. -_- I don't think the Americans do geography sometimes. hehhhh.
    I got asked once why Australians speak English. -_-
    I think it is annoying when people assume you're something you're not!!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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    1. Yes, I get that all the time! People from Canada don't get that we have opposite seasons. What gives? Ok, I've never been asked that one, that's intense. IT'S CALLED HISTORY PEOPLE!! Thanks for commenting, Cait!

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  2. :/ Yeah, I think it's easy to stereotype Canadians, and I'm sorry that happens. As it is, I'm glad you have your own ideas of national pride, distinct from we Americans!

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    1. *shrugs* Everyone gets stereotyped, not matter where you live. I think it's just important that we keep talking about it and discussing it.

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