As a culture, Americana has influenced people the world over. From music and the arts, to food and theater, Americana has expanded beyond the geographic borders of the United States.
When traveling abroad, Americans should understand and attempt to learn the customs and traditions of people within their local community. Often, however, it is perceived that there is unwillingness by many Americans to do so, which unfortunately leads to the stigma of American arrogance.
In discussing accountability it was argued that in order to justifiably hold someone accountable for their actions they must have had knowledge of the expectations. Without this information it is difficult, if not impossible, to justifiably hold someone accountable for their actions.
Where there is arrogance there is an assumed or actual misuse of power based on a perception of superiority. Insofar as our discussion here pertains to the globalization of Americana, American arrogance is a necessary consequence of its globalization, a precariously dangerous consequence of its economic and military might.
Though this is certainly not an attempt to justify or even excuse the believed existence of American arrogance, many within the United States are unaware of their privileges, an oversight others find particularly offensive. Take, for example, the ease with which one, in the U.S. may simply walk to the kitchen, turn on the faucet, and drink a clean cool glass of water. This is a privilege. To many Americans, it may not seem like a privilege. It is simply taken for granted.
When traveling abroad, Americans should recognize that the conveniences they are afforded within the United States are luxuries that so many must do without. The knowledge of one’s privileges can allow those sensitive to the plight of others the necessary tact in espousing their discomforts.
Unfortunately, however, the perception of American arrogance is further fueled by the immediacy of American culture. As Americans, we are privileged to conveniences that are inaccessible to millions around the globe.
Burger King, for example, has recently come under fire for its advertisement campaign to find “Whopper virgins.” They have traveled to some of the most rural and destitute locations in the world, fully equipped with a state of the art production crew, attempting to find individuals that have never eaten a Burger King Whopper.
I can think of no better example, hypothetical or actual, that definitively embodies the notion of American arrogance better than Burger King’s most recent ad campaigns. The hubris, the ridiculous and pompous arrogance of the Burger King Corporation is rooted in the wonderment that someone hasn’t eaten their burgers. So bizarre the thought that in a world of billions of people, there might exist that sole individual that has yet to contaminate their system with Burger King’s wonderful Whoppers.
The arrogance is unbelievable – that the existence of such people is so incredibly bizarre that it justifies spending millions of dollars in advertisements and travel expenses to visually document their first taste of a Whopper. All that is wrong with the globalization of Americana and all that is most diabolical with the notion of American arrogance, is exemplified in the actions of the Burger King Corporation. On behalf of all semi-rational and decent Americans, I do most sincerely apologize.
The truth is that many within this land of plenty want more; many within this land of wealth struggle to amass more wealth; and so many Americans are in fact arrogant. There is a grave danger, however, with arrogance, with vanity, and with the narcissism inherent in Burger King’s audacious campaign to document “Whopper virgins.”
Others will not take lightly to arrogance. People are struggling to survive, struggling to meet the most basic of necessities for sustaining life – and here come the Americans with their film crew to document someone eating a burger.
Are we so blind as a nation that we cannot see the inherent evil in our practices? Are we so callused that we don’t recognize all that is wrong with such assumptions? If we are so jaded and so far removed from the struggles of millions around the world over, then we are in even graver danger as a nation.
The arrogant American is something to loathe. The arrogant American is demanding and unaccommodating, which is precisely why Americana must make a concentrated effort to undo the harms and injustices of our past. Simply acknowledging the suffering of others is the beginning of revamping our international respectability. We must, as a nation, realize that world is a collection of various cultures and people.
It is and will always be larger than the United States. For these reasons, when we travel abroad and when we advertise our products to a global market, we must be held accountable for our actions. We must at every instance try to understand and accommodate the concerns of others. Otherwise, the stigma of American arrogance may prove to be our undoing.