In a recent conversation on Reddit, someone asked, “Non-Americans: What's something you've always wanted to ask the people of America?” Here are the top-voted responses.
1. Divorce Prominence
One asked if divorce is as prominent as it seems in America. Someone admitted that half of the people she knows are divorced. However, some remain friends with past significant others, whereas others have more complicated ends.
A second responded that divorce is very prominent as society has grown further to respect people's emotions over the societal norm to keep an unhappy marriage intact.
2. Split Custody
Another asked if split custody is as prevalent in American society as portrayed on television. There were many responses from mothers who co-parented with the fathers of their children.
They noted it has been very efficient if each parent holds up their end. First, the child spends time in one household, then the other. As long as the child feels equally supported, they may have more people in their support network overall.
3. Recording Professionals
Another user asked if people interrupt professionals doing their jobs by being in the way with their cameras. A first responder replied, “I'm a paramedic, and most public calls we go on, like car crashes, public injuries, medical emergencies, and even a lot of private calls we take, there's almost always someone shoving a camera in my face.
I don't know why the world needs to know a random stranger's business or why people need to watch us do our job. And it's incredibly frustrating when they get in our way or hound us with questions.
I was recently at a house for a young man that dislocated his kneecap, and a couple of his friends already had TikTok open, recording us as soon as we entered the house. It's very disheartening that these people care more about their internet clout than the health and wellness of other people.”
4. Cancel Culture
Someone asked why Americans participate in cancel culture and get so angry on behalf of what is said about other cultures. It was a very controversial question, as some noted it is out of respect for the diverse culture they grew up with or studied. However, on the other side, many argue that the current generations are overly sensitive to what is said.
5. Open-Carry Gun Laws
Someone asked if Americans are walking around with guns everywhere they go. The most common response is that it depends on where you are traveling. In some states, guns are more common, while in others are strict, and you are less likely to see someone with an open-carry permit.
However, experiencing a person carrying a long arm in public is less than likely, noted many. Primarily because the laws are stricter, and most people conceal these weapons until hunting in the woods, as per regulations.
Some states will have distinctly more guns visible, as explained by this Redditor, “Yes! I live in the south, and open carry is a big thing here. For example, many people do not leave home without a gun.
They take them to the store, church, dinner, movies, and family outings. In many places that are more liberal, or even more northern states, you won't see this, but in the south, yes. I'd say 20-40% of families in my area have a member that does open carry.”
A future foreign-transfer student asked, “Is bullying as common and gruesome as Hollywood movies portray?” One person suggested a middle school is far worse than high school, and a majority was mental abuse as opposed to physical.
Another stated that physical bullying was more prevalent through the 90s since most were overtaken by cyberbullying. A third added that school abuse is not as bad as the media portrays, except for the rare cases where a student is furious at another.
However, victims of bullies begged to differ. “Disagree 100%. I was bullied horrifyingly all through high school. It stopped when I hit my growth spurt and fought back. Until then, my teens were absolute misery.”
A teacher added, “High school teacher here, mileage varies. Some students get nightmarish experiences. Others don't. At a time when frontal lobes are jello. Your social shortcomings have way too much pull on your social standing.”
7. Shoes in the Home
Wearing shoes at home has puzzled foreign visitors as most countries' cultures require you to remove your shoes at the door.
Some commenters explained how taking your shoes off at a friend's house can be almost presumptuous unless you plan to stay there for hours. Another stated that some people have rules about shoes while others aren't as worried about it.
8. Requesting Stranger’s Phone Numbers
Some women abroad asked if men in America go up to strangers they don't know to ask for their phone numbers. One shared that as long as a positive conversation ensues, it is generally acceptable to ask a stranger for their number.
Another suggested, “Legally permissible? Yes, for the most part. Socially acceptable? Not really. After a few minutes to a few hours of talking, should both parties find the exchange agreeable, it does.” However, others stated that it happens too often when unwarranted.
9. Universal Healthcare
Several users asked what Americans had against free healthcare. One answered, “I believe many people in America (including my parents) hate universal healthcare because of capitalism.
It's deeply ingrained in American culture to value and revere capitalism as the only stable economic structure; anything that changes is terrible. But, unfortunately, this mindset stops a lot of folks from wanting things to change because they say, “well, it's worked this long, and it worked for me, so why get rid of it.”
Without thinking of groups of people who would benefit from universal healthcare. (Veterans, mentally and physically disabled, low-income households, etc.).”
10. American Pride
Finally, people wondered why Americans are so proud of their country and culture. One asked, “Do you feel that the (I would say) mandatory displays of patriotism you grow up with is a form of indoctrination?
For example, singing The Pledge of Allegiance, flags everywhere, and the (hand on heart) National Anthem being sung at what seems to be any gathering/sporting event.”
“Us younger generations are waking up to the over-the-top level of patriotism our older generations were okay with,” answered one. “I wouldn't say it's purposeful indoctrination, but a subconscious indoctrination. With America, it's more like getting us comfortable with the idea that we are the best. Which is not true, but they teach it.”
10 Interesting Things Non-Americans Always Wanted to Ask Americans
What do you think? We hope you enjoyed this Reddit discussion where non-Americans asked Americans things they always wanted to know. This article is inspired by the internet and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The Impulse Traveler.
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