Chilean Group Post: What they think of Americans?

Wow! I have an even bigger problem with this topic then I did with what I think of Chilean Men or Chilean Women. So, my problem in the past was that the topic sets us up to spread stereotypes that most likely are not true of ALL Chileans.  I mean, I know Chileans who do not like avocado and that is practically the national fruit– if that can’t be true of all, what is?

This topic, in my estimation, is even worse as it opens space for us to make judgments on what Chileans think of Americans.  With the notable exception of Florencia, who is Chilean, and anyone in the group who chooses to have their significant other write the piece– none of us can really know and we pick out the things that we see as “weird”.  Therefore, I feel that it is still casting judgment.

Can we PLEASE do a different type of topic next week? I still say things like:

  • Favorite Chilean moment
  • Favorite Chilean recipe
  • Favorite/ least favorite place to eat/ go out/ vacation

would be so much better! Alas, I keep getting out voted, so here I go…

I tried to trick S. into contributing to this by asking him what Chileans think of Americans. The conversation went something like this:

C: So… what to Chileans think of Americans?

S: That would be stereotypes… I don’t think you can generalize a people.

C: Okay. But if you were to, what would you say?

S: I don’t. People are all different.

C: Okay, well, what would other Chileans without your moral aversion to stereotypes say?

S: I don’t know. What is this about?

C: Nothing.

S: I know. You don’t know what to write for the group blog.  We are changing the subject.

And. We did.

So, I have only something which can only worsen my search results.  I have had problems recently with searches and sleazy people linking to my site, so the topic is on my mind. I also have a history of funny, off, and scary search engine results that bring people here.  I commented on these in Who are you people? and Google: a tool or just a randomizer? Needless to say, I can only imagine what the following topic will do to search results.

So, here is my very generalized and not 100% true generalization: Chileans think that Americans are dirtier and more open with their bodily functions than Chileans.  And here are the facts, in my own humble opinion: we are.

Chileans are very, very, very careful to never fart, burp, or otherwise make inappropriate sounds in front of other people.  In the states, I would say, that people are careful in public but never to the point of being in pain. Also, I think it is acceptable to burp or pass gas in the comfort of ones own home– heck, this is part of the reason it is comfortable.  Also, Chileans think it is extremely rude to not cover your mouth when you yawn.  I think in America this is not the best of manners, but no one has ever given me “looks” in the states at 7am when I forget.  Also, in the states, covering mouth when coughing is considered much more important than which yawning.  In Chile, they seem to be about even.

In terms of cleanliness and orderliness, Chileans, even children, are much better about keeping their rooms orderly and cleaning their house routinely.  In some of my host families or friends of families, they vacuum daily, despite not having pets.  Most friends and family in the states it is a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly chore.  That said, I really don’t see this as being bad or dirty. Really, I can’t give a verdict on which is better or which is wrong.  They are just different.

Here are the other participants (this list will be updated as I notice that people post. Also, People, please link to me and others to help increase traffic for all):

Sara

Abby

Flo

Kyle

Katina

Emily

Carlos

Amanda

Renee

Kathleen

Lydia

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14 comments

  1. I know, but this way everyone can hear what I think we should be doing. And I have been working my way around responding. Actually, in Chilean Women post I just spoke about 1 Chilean woman.

    😛

  2. Wait… sleezy people are linking to you? Ok, forgive me if I sound a little egotistic… I’d love to have some sleezly people link to me as long as they don’t leave any idiotic comments that all my friends and family write.
    Honestly, it wasn’t really my favorite topic either, because I have gotten into a little trouble for steretyping and generalizing in my blog.
    I like your dialogue. I had one similiar, but mine ended with him admitted to being guilty to 7 out of my 10 examples. Sweet.

  3. My husband has the same reaction whenever I ask him questions like that. He had the same reaction when I interviewed him for my entry. I actually did ask my husband what he thought of gringos. His responses were so long and diplomatic it took a ton of cutting. We did get to sort of delve into some things after we analyzed a bit of what he said that I thought were really interesting.

    I think that these questions, beyond stating stereotypes help people analyze their social spaces. Isn’t sociology just one big generalization? Our discussion really turned into a discussion about gender and sexuality and the ways that people in our respective cultures negotiate that. I think that’s a really interesting thing. I think deconstructing stereotypes can be really interesting, they tell you more about the people who make them than anything else. Now, if you deconstruct a stereotype of a stereotype, isn’t that an analytical goldmine?

  4. Hi Amanda.

    I think you are right, in some ways. And that was why I did put in the point that I was not including Chileans writing or American’s who go their significant others point of view in the mess. Without that, it is not sociological but rather what I think you think of me… to many thinks for sociology. Also, if you look at sociological research… they do to great lengths to generalize but in ways that are tested…. and one’s person’s observations do not a test make. That said, point well taken. Thanks.

  5. Your example is accurate. 🙂 So many of my Chileno exchange students have told me of how they saw a really pretty girl, and then she burped, spit, or farted. They’re always so shocked, and horrified.
    Our kids going out are stereotyped worldwide as slutty cheerleaders or dumb jocks. No wonder so many of them pretend to be Canadian.

  6. I’m a 35, Chilean male, and I hope these 2 cents might inlighten you:

    MOST CHILEANS THINK THAT GRINGOS ARE:

    – Rich (yeah, poorer Chilean think of you as ATMs)
    – A bit weird (I guess the same happens for any people from country A dropping into country B)
    – Good looking (we chileans look all the same, a caucasian blonde is like a searchlight between the moths)
    – Sexually open-minded (maybe that’s because of media and movies)
    – Always in a hurry (I think thats because Chileans only recently are learning time management)
    – Friendly at skin depth, but distant and arrogant (maybe a defensive reaction to culture shock, after landing in a country with 1/4 the per capita income of U.S.)

    AFTER MEETING GRINGOS FOR A WHILE, CHILEANS REALIZE THAT
    – It’s not that they’re rich, but our contry is cheaper for them.
    – We chileans are also weird, but in different terms
    – Quite a few gring@s are fat and average looking, far from the Baywatch type.
    – Not passionate in the Latino meaning of the word.
    – Gringos aren’t in a hurry, they’re just struggling to use their time wisely. Chileans are only recently learning to value time.
    – They are actually friendly, more direct and honest than most chileans.
    – Gringos don’t get the subtle differences between Chilenos regarding education, culture and IQ, usually packing us all in the same “Latino country #n” bag.

    • hey i hope you still monitor this, sounds like you have lived here in the USA, or at least visited. I am writing a paper for school and it is based on Chileans, i have three friends from Santiago and they have told me that Americans view them as ” Mexican” (apparently we are all the same) but for this project i am trying to find stereotypes of Chileans specifically. there is sch a small group of Chileans way up here in Michigan so i can not find anyone ( Gringos) that even know a person from Chile. from your experience can you think of any stereotypes that Americans have on your people. if not any from neighboring countries (Peru/Argentina)? thanks for your time if you get this, it is 3/27/2013 i will be trying to work on this paper for the next 7 days if you or anyone out there could help out it would be greatly appreciated!

      • Hi Elias,

        I think one of the big problems with stereotypes is that they are often wrong. Also, I think, as a generalization Americans don’t understand the difference between different countries in Latin America. I am from Wisconsin– I know what people say.

        I agree with your friend that there is a stereotype that all latin americans are mexican. There is also the assumption that all latin americans (including Chileans) are good dancers or eat spicy food. In the case of Chile, both of these are generally wrong.

        Actual stereotypes that are Chile specific? That they talk really fast and drop “r” at the end of words.

        Hope that helps.

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