European Visits The USA For The First Time And Is Shocked And Disappointed By The Experience
Tourists’ beloved Los Angeles, known for its TV and music industry, buzzing culture and never-ending sunshine, set a new tourism record recently. In 2018, it welcomed an estimated 42.5 million domestic visitors and 7.5 million international visitors, making it a 50 million record and reaching a new milestone.
But not every tourist seems equally impressed with The City of Angels. This recent post from the Los Angeles subreddit, written by a European who visited LA and the US for the very first time, shone a light on the not-so-pretty side of the city.
The author who goes by the handle TheRealBanksyWoosh shared how shocked he was with what he saw there. From “drunk and high people” to “so many homeless and poor” with “five, six tents under each bridge” and “trash and feces everywhere,” TheRealBanksyWoosh wrote he never felt so unsafe.
Read on below for his full account on Los Angeles, and be sure to share what you think of it in the comments below!
A European tourist was so shocked by the level of inequality and disregard for life in Los Angeles when he visited for the first time that he shared his experience with others
Image credits: MIANHU XIAO (not the actual photo)
Image credits: Mihály Köles (not the actual photo)
Bored Panda reached out to the author of this post shared on the Los Angeles subreddit, who’s from Belgium and works at a university as a sociologist. “In Europe, we are aware that the social security system and the healthcare system of the USA are less extended than in many European countries,” he explained and added that “at the same time, we consume a lot of American media and movies, so in the back of my mind, unconsciously, the USA was very comparable to Europe.”
However, once the Redditor TheRealBanksyWoosh arrived in LA, he was surprised to see “so many homeless, poor and psychotic people.” He told us: “It became apparent to me that the USA suffers from all the problems that I knew about, but multiplied tenfold. Europe is definitely not a utopia, and I don’t want to portray it that way, but I’ve never seen anything like it over here.”
The author explained that you can get robbed in Barcelona or Rome, but he has “never seen two cops checking with their feet and a flashlight if a human being is still alive.” He added: “I’ve seen abject poverty in Africa and Asia, but it was never normalized. People continuously talk about it in underdeveloped countries, they are aware that it is a problem.”
“Meanwhile, in LA, in one of the richest countries on the surface of our planet, the poverty and the human suffering feel very normalized. As if it is ‘normal’ that people are dying while numerous $100k cars pass by next to that person.”
Image credits: TheRealBanksyWoosh
The author said that he always compared the USA to other western countries, but it all changed during this trip. “Honestly, the lack of general safety, the staggering inequality and the lack of social tissue remind me more of Brazil or South Africa. I find it disgusting that the social inequality is so racially structured.”
TheRealBanksyWoosh said he doesn’t like to compare two countries, “because then this post feels as if I’m using human suffering in one country to glorify my own country.” He said that Belgium also has many problems, but since we asked, he shared some insights. “Belgium is way safer than LA, although we have our own issues, of course. In Europe, racism, discrimination and poverty exist as well. But I’ve never witnessed it so openly, as if it ‘should’ be this way,” the author argues.
When walking in LA, “it felt like the poverty was a functioning part of the system instead of a cyst that should be erased. I think it is the culmination of deliberate choices, masked as incompetence.”
Moreover, according to the author, in Belgium, people do not have to work two jobs and still be afraid to end up homeless. “We don’t have people who have to sleep in their car. I don’t see old men above the age of 70 who have to work in Starbucks to survive. Despite Belgian shortcomings, we do have a safety net. The huge consequences of that safety net became very explicit during my visit in LA.”
The post quickly turned into a conversation about the homeless crisis and inequality in the US, and many people shared their own similar experiences while traveling
Having said that, there were some things that the author really liked. It was the friendliness and willingness of Americans to have an honest, friendly conversation.
“It seems like many Americans are fully aware of the situation that I’m describing, which makes it even more odd that the issues don’t get resolved. What is the role of the government in this matter? What is their responsibility? Is it ‘normal’ that the government merely acts a police officer? Many Americans had interesting opinions about these things and yet, LA remains full of human suffering,” the Redditor explained.
TheRealBanksyWoosh also said that nonetheless, “LA offers a great array of fantastic museums (that are free, which is very cool!), great restaurants and wonderful nature.”
“It’s a tough nut to crack, but I am certain that it is full of wonderful, interesting and cool things to do and explore. A lifetime of adventures, but one that is overgrown by poverty, a lack of safety, drug abuse and intolerable inequality,” the author concluded.