“What Are Americans Not Ready To Hear?”: 40 People Share Honest Answers Interview
The United States is a unique country. It’s home to a wide variety of beautiful nature sites, some of the world's most amazing athletes, a melting pot of cultures, friendly citizens, and plenty of tourist destinations. With 50 states and 14 territories, the US is certainly vast. And while the nation itself has so much to offer, it can be easy to live there and feel like you’re in somewhat of a bubble. So sometimes, it might be a good idea to hear outside opinions from people who live in other parts of the world. One curious Reddit user, Swansonite456, recently posed the question, “What are Americans not ready to hear?” And thousands of people sounded off in the replies. From comments on politics to confusion about why bathroom stalls are never completely closed, we’ve gathered some of the most clever and fitting responses down below, as well as an interview with Swansonite456 about what sparked this conversation in the first place.
Be sure to upvote the replies that particularly resonate with you, and especially if you’re an American panda, let us know in the comments if you find any of these replies to be painfully true. Then if you’re interested in checking out a Bored Panda article celebrating all of the things the US excels at, you can find that right here.
Canadian here- you guys have amazing landscapes, culture and food. Your folks are usually very kind and welcoming. But the quality of life you guys have makes me really sad. The minimum wage is brutal, like 7 dollars, while ours is 15, so much poverty there. And paying for healthcare, people going into debt just for getting sick?
Also- the way you treat your women is horrifying. I know you guys have criticized Middle Eastern countries for women wearing Hijabs and having little rights, but look in a mirror. Restricting access to family planning and abortion services, making women pay for the necessity of going to a hospital to deliver babies? No paid maternity leave/ only 6 weeks, like what is that? That’s nowhere near enough. Like why??
Gun ownership issues, school shootings, healthcare and student debt bankruptcy, abortion restriction, poverty level minimum wage- these shouldn’t be political issues- these are human rights that you guys aren’t ready to accept- and to your own detriment.
Obviously there’s a lot of nuance here, and Canada isn’t perfect either. We have our own demons to deal with here, and are in the midst of a major movement on recognizing Indigenous reconciliation/ owning up to our history of oppression. Both countries have major structural issues- I just think the US has a lot more going on.
We reached out to Swansonite456 on Reddit to hear what inspired them to start this conversation in the first place and if they are American or a curious observer. "I am Hispanic American, and the reason I asked this question is because I wondered what Americans and other nationalities think of us," they shared. "Since sometimes on TV and through the media we take a poke at other people's cultures with stereotypes."
We also asked if they thought these responses apply solely to the United States, or if they could relate to other countries as well. "I think some of the political answers apply to the United States," they told Bored Panda.
I was also curious if they thought that the United States was not ready to hear those answers or if it was more of the US government that wouldn't be ready. "I think the government isn't ready to hear those answers and neither are Americans due to the fact that America seems so divided right now," they shared.
We also asked Swansonite456 if any of the responses to their questions particularly resonated with them. "My favorite one is the [C word] because that’s hilarious, since it’s like a way to say pal," they noted. It is true that in the UK and Australia that word is used much more casually than in the United States, where I would recommend that no one ever say it in a public place (or ever!).
Overall, they don't have a negative view about Americans, though. "All and all Americans aren’t that bad, it's just the politics," they told Bored Panda. "Plus, I feel like we are a little self-centered." They also noted that the work life balance, maternity leave, and healthcare are much better in many other countries, but again, that's not the average person's fault.
Religion has no place in politics, hence “separation of church and state.”
As an American myself, I have to say that there were many things I never questioned about the United States until I started living in other countries. The restroom stalls not extending all the way to the floor and having wide gaps, for example. It’s something I was used to, so I did not realize that most other countries figure out a way around that until someone else pointed it out to me. And while we’re on the topic of bathrooms, I had seen very few that actually indicate from the outside whether it is locked or unlocked before moving to Europe. Those are pretty brilliant as well.
When it come to this list of “things Americans aren’t ready to hear”, these might all be things you have, in fact, heard before. However, they are just some food for thought about things my fellow American pandas might never have realized or questioned before, or things that don’t necessarily need to be that way. You have every right to disagree with these responses, but please be respectful in the comments. We love our American pandas, and we know they don't all believe in these ideas or support things like not having paid maternity leave. As you'll see, some of the responses on this list should be more directed towards the American government than the American people.
America is only capitalist for poor people. Rich people live in a socialist state, where they constantly get bailouts, subsidies and debt forgiveness.
You don't need automatic firearms as a civilian in daily situations, and the 2nd Amendment was written when Americans feared British invasion, and when guns had to be reloaded after every single bullet shot, clearly not applicable today. Countries with stricter gun control have drastically less shootings than the U.S.
Your tipping culture is a scam. Tipping should not be a burden obligation of your customers.
One thing that Americans are often mocked for is not understanding Celsius and the metric system. And I will admit, especially if we plan to travel at all or conduct any international business, we certainly should know these systems. So many people around the world make an effort to learn English to communicate with people from other countries, so the least we can do is learn what someone is talking about when they say, “It’s about 2 kilometers away from here,” or “It’s so hot! It’s 32 degrees!”
So let’s start with the metric system: why doesn’t the United States use it? Well, it all comes down to where it came from. The metric system was an extremely innovative system developed in France in 1790 to help streamline commerce, decrease fraud and clear up any confusion that came from not having one standard system of measurement. And while the French system was intended to be something all countries around the world could adopt, the United States decided not to adopt the metric system because when it was created, it was based on a portion of French land. Since then, it has become too much of a hassle for Americans to begin switching over. So at this point, the US might not ever transition to the metric system. I will point out that we do learn it in school, but as with anything, if you don’t use it frequently, it’s very easy to become unfamiliar with the system.
You're about this close to not being a democracy anymore. You should be paying attention.
You’re really not the greatest country on earth.
The rest of us consider you more of that crazy, violent uncle we have to put up with because our other two crazy, violent uncles are just slightly worse.
You need more than two political parties for democracy to work.
Now, when it comes to why Americans usually don’t understand Celsius temperatures, let me first note that there was a time where much of the world used Fahrenheit. It was developed in 1686 by German scientist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, who was inducted into the British Royal Society in 1724. As Britain conquered many parts of the globe during the 18th and 19th centuries, Fahrenheit became the standard in many places. It didn’t last for long though, as in 1742, Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius created, you guessed it, the Celsius system. This was integrated into the metric system around 1790, allowing it to spread quickly across the globe. Over time, virtually every British colony transitioned to using the metric system and Celsius, but clearly, the United States did not get the message.
You shouldn’t have to give birth then go back to work a week later.
The United States actually became very close to transitioning to the metric system, as in 1975, Congress passed the Metric Conversion Act. But the flaw in this act was that it made metrication voluntary, rather than compulsory, so the general public was not on board with this change. "Motorists rebelled at the idea of highway signs in kilometers, weather watchers blanched at the notion of reading a forecast in Celsius, and consumers balked at the prospect of buying poultry by the kilogram," Jason Zengerle writes in Mother Jones.
You’re not a role model country anymore.
Your entire society today is based on fear-mongering, propaganda, and politicians giving you an enemy to unite against even when they aren’t actually an enemy. The exact same way the Nazis came to power.
By 1982, President Reagan completely scrapped the Metric Board, virtually ensuring that the US would never switch over to using the metric system or Celsius. And while it has been seen as too expensive and too much effort to switch over now, it really would make more sense in the long run. American education could teach only one system of measurement and temperature, and companies would no longer have to produce two separate products: one for American markets and one for international markets. Plus, we would all sound a lot smarter when talking to our international friends if we knew exactly what 2 meters or 14 degrees Celsius meant…
Pledging allegiance to your flag every morning is really strange. We had that in Europe ~80 years ago. It didn't end up well for anyone :D
México is not in sepia lightning.
Nobody else in the world gives a damn about American football.
Another topic that many people who are not from the United States mentioned is the idea of a work life balance. This concept is foreign to many Americans, as we are often told to equate our worth as a human to our productivity. We are used to not having help from the government, in terms of paid maternity/paternity leave, paid holidays, and paid and/or unlimited sick days. But it really does not have to be that way. In Canada, for example, new mothers are given a minimum of 16 weeks of maternity leave paid, with an optional 35 weeks paid leave. In Sweden, mothers are given a minimum of 12 paid weeks of maternity leave, and in the United Kingdom, new mothers are given 39 paid weeks off. It just seems like if the United States really cared about its citizens, it would not try to make their lives harder by providing 0 paid weeks of maternity leave.
Instead of protesting for mask mandate or Trump failing an election, they should protest for basic human rights like food quality, free Healthcare, children protection in schools and employment rights
You’d all be thinner if your cities were designed to be walkable
This is why you lose weight when you go to Italy despite eating nothing but pasta n pizza, because you’re walking everywhere
They don't really know what terms like liberal/socialist/fascist mean
Similar to how the United States does not provide paid weeks off for new parents, it has no legal requirements for providing paid holidays either. Now, if you work a full-time job, you might have benefits like paid time off, but it probably is not very many days. On average, American workers are provided about 10 paid vacation days per year, or two weeks of work. However, those days are typically accumulated over time. So until an employee has worked at their job for 12 full months, they will not actually have 10 days yet. To put that into perspective, workers in Sweden are entitled to 25 full days of vacation per year, regardless of the type of work they do. I'm sure the American government has heard that one, but maybe they should start listening to how they can implement a similar system to allow their workers some much deserved time off.
You are not Irish, or Italian or Dutch. You have an American birth certificate and passport. Stop it
You let food companies put in whatever c**p preservatives they want and make up weight with artificial sweeteners instead of real ingredients. That's the big threat to your life, not secret communists.
The way you add tax to everything at the till is mental. Just tell me what it costs on the fricking label!
While it might be easy to comment on all of the issues the United States faces as an outsider, it’s important to remember that most of the citizens are aware of these problems. According to a 2021 report from the Pew Research Center, the top issues Americans note to be big problems in the nation are the affordability of healthcare, the federal budget deficit, violent crime, illegal immigration, gun violence, the pandemic, racism, economic inequality, unemployment, climate change, and the quality of public K-12 schools. You may not personally agree that all of those issues are comparable, but it’s just a reminder that Americans know what is happening. They don’t enjoy paying exorbitant hospital bills or fearing that their children will be subjected to a school shooting. Unfortunately, it can be a long and arduous process trying to change the systems.
It is really easy to use metric system, and it's not bite. It is inconvenient to measure something with body parts.
They act like they have so much freedom when so many facets of basic human needs there are so exclusive that it’s oppressive.
I heard someone say that the way we look at Florida is the same way the rest of the world looks at us.
Whether you believe that the United States is the best country in the world or you would never want to visit, we hope this list has been some interesting food for thought for you. Keep upvoting the posts you resonate with, and then let us know how you feel about this topic in the comments. And then if you want to check out another Bored Panda article featuring the things the United States does particularly well, you can find that story right here.
The United States (not America, that's a Continent) is not the world police and should stop getting involved in other countries businesses.
Yes, you *do* have an accent.
If you think you don't because you "read words exactly as they're written, without any kind of regional flair", you're mistaken about that. There's no such thing.
Speaking without an accent would be like typing without a font. An accent is just a method of pronouncing a language - everyone has one!
That the entire world excels at making bathroom stalls that you can’t see between. Not sure why the US stall manufacturers can’t figure out how to close those massive gaps…
The loudest voice in the room usually has the least to say
The US has third world country level safety and crime issues in most of its big cities.
After several trips to the US, my colleagues there couldn't accept how poor they were, and 10 min in any city makes it obvious.
Huge individual debt, minimal savings and no time for themselves. That is not the standard in the developed world. Even when our taxes are high we have to time to rest and basic life essential services covered. Free/low cost education even allows us to break the class divide if we want it enough.
Sure there are millionaires and billionaires in the US but chance's are neither you nor your family will get anywhere close because you don't have the opportunity to improve without going into decades of financial debt.
You’re the foreigner in 192 countries
Edit: UN recognises 195 countries (missed out Palestine and the Holy See). Could go up to 198 depending on your sources. Choose which ever one you want
All I know on this is, being Irish, I've met a lot of American tourists when they're holidaying here. To those tourists I say, no one has ever been impressed by or cares about your lineage.
Obesity in the U.S is a major health issue and needs to be addressed.
It's kinda terrifying how you guys treat all your soldiers like superheroes. I was listening to a random podcast and the host was reading some fan mail out loud. When the fan mentioned that he was a soldier, the host automatically said "Thank you for your service" and then continued reading as of nothing happened. It was genuinely scary.