Canadian Perception Of Americans Somewhat Flawed

Dave Killion — April 15, 2013

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The Canadian identity, depending so much as it does on being ‘not-American’, means that any American living in Canada (as I do) will be repeatedly subject to stories intended to demonstrate the overall inferiority of the U.S. and Americans to Canada and Canadians. Having lived about 25 years each in both Canada and the U.S., I can assure anyone who believes otherwise that the difference between the groups is much less than that within the groups. But when people want to believe something, we often will too readily accept whatever feeds our biases.

A good example are anecdotes concerning the practice of some Americans traveling abroad of sewing a Canadian flag to their backpacks, in an effort to elicit better treatment. Canadians like this story, because Canadians like being preferred over Americans. But on another level, it conveys something lovely about America, and that is that although some Americans may feel they need to disguise their identities to evade prejudice in other countries, one never hears of foreigners needing to travel under false flags while in the U.S. If there is such a thing as national character, Americans can certainly claim open-heartedness and tolerance as part of theirs.

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