Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Yanks are lovely, my lovely

Via Justin Webb, there's a mildly interesting survey on Britons' attitudes toward Americans. The survey was commissioned by what appears to be a nutjob pro-USA website. The question I have is why it matters what Britons think.

I mean, sure, on a person-to-person level it matters. I don't really enjoy it when someone looks me in the face and tells me that they hate Americans, but is it really necessary to commission a survey to prove them wrong? And it's not like the average American's perceptions of the rest of the world are any more informed. The other night, the child bride spent several minutes on the phone trying to explain to her father that we in Britain are not watching NBC's coverage of the Olympics.

But there you are. The thing I found mildly interesting was the perception that America is more racist. I grew up in the South, yo, and I would still argue that latent racism is far more prevalent among Britons than Americans.

Sexism is also more prevalent, but I tend not to be bothered by that one as much because it allows for common use of pet names like "darlin'" and "my lovely."

There's a fine line there, I suppose. The reason such a practice has fallen out of favour in most parts of the U.S. is that it can seem demeaning. But in Britain the terms of endearment go both ways, which is what I like about it. In a shop, I would much prefer "love" to "sir." It makes my day.

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