Contrary to popular opinion...

Britain is not one country. Europe is not one country.



This is a globe. Look at one.

I am from Britain, but more precisely, I am from England. England, not London. Britain is short for Great Britain which includes England, Scotland, and Wales. The UK is short for the United Kingdom, more accurately the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Someone born in Northern Ireland is not British, but an English, Scottish or Welsh person is, and they are all from the UK.

I don't speak British, I speak English. If you want to visit Britain, you want to visit Scotland, Wales, and England - but not Ireland. If you have a friend in the UK, they could be in one of four different countries.

Similarly, Europe is not one country. It is not a small collection of countries that comprises only of the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, and thatcountryIKEAcomesfrom. Europe, whilst being small in terms of geographical size and population, covers more countries than any other continent, and they aren't all countries where everyone wears berets and visits art galleries and are delightfully continental.

Europe contains fifty different countries, more or less, and these are:

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.

When you say "I want to visit Europe", please bear in mind you're not just talking about England, France, Germany, Spain etc. You're including Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and thirty seven other countries. Describing something or someone as European when you have no idea what Europe comprises of looks, and is, ignorant. Saying you love "European food" is stupid, unless you really have tried and love the cuisine from every country on that list.

If you didn't know before, you do now. Please, for the love of baguettes, think before you call something "European".

Read More:
You can find out other basic information about the world we live in right here. It may not be a reliable tool for writing essays, but it's a great starting point and it beats looking like a moron.




RANT DISCLAIMER: If you think I'm talking about you, and you think I'm wrong and are upset that I'm talking about you and making incorrect assumptions, first please consider that I'm probably not talking about you.

73 comments:

FrancesDanger said...

I blame Eddie Izzard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6hijsqO8H0

17 September 2011 17:42


Andreanna Glamasaurus said...

Heh! I always have to explain that I live in Switzerland not the country that Ikea comes from since even my own grandmother was telling people I moved to Sweden.

17 September 2011 17:55


Ayailla said...

Don't blame Eddie! :P

Yeah, I agree with you on all of this. It annoys me when people say, "I love the English Accent." There isn't one, you idiots. There are lots of accents from every small region of England. In the same way there is no American accent. There are lots of them.

17 September 2011 17:56


Janni said...

*claps*

ILU. <3 My baguettes and I highly approve. (I bake artisanal breads for a living, and despair of explaining that yes, there are a LOT of different types of bread in the world -- many of which emanated from various European cultures spreading out all over the globe. ARGH.)

17 September 2011 17:59


Anastasia said...

@Frances - Mi castle et su castle.

@Andreanna - Stay in Switzerland! You have excellent chocolate and tennis players :p

@Ayailla - Accents are another one, yeah. The "British accent" Americans think of doesn't exist, no one speaks like that outside of James Bond films. If they only knew the difference between a Yorkshire, Brummie, Jordie or Welsh accent, roflmao. It is the same with US accents, yes. Oh, and the number of Americans I've spoken to who told me in all seriousness that they didn't have an accent - the REST of the world did, they just spoke normally.

17 September 2011 18:01


Kiwi said...

That first commenter-Eddie Izzard is love.

It's kinda like when I tell people I'm from Mississippi, and a million and one stereotypes come up from people within my own country.

17 September 2011 18:02


Anastasia said...

@Janni - I have to say, I have a hard time understanding why anyone would bake/eat any bread other than pain au chocolat. I mean. It's chocolate bread! But I am a creature of habit.

@Kiwi - Frances rocks xP
I guess all countries have their own ignorance and stereotypes, even of regions right next to one another.

17 September 2011 18:08


Jilliterate said...

Ahh, the problem of the stupid idiots not bothering to expand their knowledge of the world beyond their own closets. I think this happens everywhere, because idiocy is universal. The stereotype of the Canadian accent drives me bananas. And that's compounded by all the "Newfie jokes" and other socially-acceptable bigotry I've had to endure.

17 September 2011 18:13


Lemon Bunny/Mandy said...

It's really sad how many people here in America know nothing of geography. Half the people I know think that Canada is below the US... No, I'm not kidding. I blame our education system, though. Recently our local high school decided that to save money, they'd get rid of the ONE World History class they've EVER had. Which was an amazing class that actually taught us something of the rest of the world (every other year we were forced to take American History which somehow only ever taught us about the Civil War). I can definitely relate to your frustration. :/

17 September 2011 18:15


nekosan said...

=D Someone posted a keen map to clarify England vs. Great Britian vs. United Kingdom. I couldn't find it, but i did find this great venn diagram and description: http://qntm.org/uk

17 September 2011 18:15


Anastasia said...

@Jilliterate - I've only spoken to a few Canadians, but their accents have all been different. I don't really understand why Americans make fun of Canada though. Maybe they're jealous of the healthcare?
If I left England, I'd move to Canada. I wouldn't live in America if someone paid me >_>

17 September 2011 18:16


BunBun said...

THANKYOU! I went to the US on holiday and obviously expected to be called 'British' because of my southern english accent, what I didn't expect was to be sitting in a restaurant with my scottish friend and having a waitress ask where he was from - then comment that he spoke really good english....

It's almost insulting. We're hardly a little known country but so many especially in the US are too ignorant to pick up a freaking map :|

I actually find myself pleasantly surprised when I get called English. Isnt that a bit sad.

17 September 2011 18:16


Emybloom said...

@Andreanna Random OT but I studied in Switzerland and now live in Sweden and I've fucked up a few times when telling people where I live... not sure how the fail happens other than that they are both excellent countries.

Heehee love this rant <3

17 September 2011 18:17


Anastasia said...

@Mandy - You have American history and world history as separate subjects? At high school level? That is sad. We just have history until college, pretty much, so it's world history, although I think we covered the Tudors about four times.

I'm pretty dreadful at geography but at least I know enough not to make sweeping statements that betray it. Although, in England we do pretty much consider ourselves the 'Kings of Europe' and better than all the rest :/

@Nekosan - Hahaha, it's not even complicated! GB = England, Scotland, Wales. UK = England, Scotland, Wales PLUS Northern Ireland!
I do love venn diagrams though.

17 September 2011 18:20


Anastasia said...

@BunBun - Wow, that's amazing. Did your friend even speak Gaelic?
Hahaha, how about how many can't tell a Scottish and Irish accent apart? Or Welsh? I've been called Irish and Scottish interchangeably when my accent is pretty standard region-free English with a bit of East Midlands when I'm annoyed.
Are you straight southern or southeast/southwest?

17 September 2011 18:24


Sirvinya said...

This is the most awesome post ever! Seriously, I see so many posts where people just don't get what Europe is or they don't get what the UK is. I've tried explaining just how varied and large Europe is to these people going "I want to visit Europe" but they just don't seem to get it. Or they're going to Europe and want to know what the weather's like. Um, everything from around 40C + to the Arctic.

But yeah, good post is good.

17 September 2011 18:24


Anastasia said...

@Sirvinya - Hahaha, I know someone whose fucking jaw dropped when I told them Russia was in Europe.

It's true, when most people say they've "always wanted to visit Europe" then mean London, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, etc.

Oh, and I once had someone ask me how to tell the time in metric.

17 September 2011 18:26


tabiicat said...

I love this! I am American, but I lived in Italy for three years (my mother was American military). Tons of people don't realize that "European" is such a broad term. It's ridiculous how ignorant people are. DERP.

17 September 2011 18:39


Nocta Dea said...

This is hilarious. Unless you actually live in the U.S. where this information is needed, then it's just sad. Yes, our public education is a joke the whole world can't stop laughing at. I've been to California and people there didn't even know my state! How can you expect them to know anything about the rest of the continents and countries if they don't even know their own?
Wait, "tell the time in metric"?! Lol.

17 September 2011 18:45


Duvessa said...

Same with Asia. People like Asian food and talk about Asia instead of the certain country.

I had a friend in school who went to US for an exchange and they honestly asked him if we have TVs in Finland. I mean, come on! This was early 21st century. "No we don't, we just have mobile phones"

17 September 2011 18:46


Lemon Bunny/Mandy said...

Oh yeah, that was something else I wanted to mention - No one knows there are more than three countries in Europe. Italy, Ireland, and the UK are what most of the folks I know think of as Europe. Many of them have no clue that Germany or Russia is also part of it (and the many other countries, but those are the two main ones). I always get accused of being stupid for thinking that those two could possibly be in Europe... Oh, it angers me so much. And back to our poor education system, my boyfriend's 15 year old sister had no idea that Mexico was part of North America. AND SHE LIVES HERE! Okay, I'm done. :P

17 September 2011 18:47


Andreanna Glamasaurus said...

@Emybloom heh! I have heard of Swedish people being told they live in Switzerland.

@Anastasia I plan on staying in Switzerland. I probably should have added my family is American. I usually explain that I live in chocolate and cheeseland and Sweden is Ikea land.

17 September 2011 18:59


Emily said...

Excellent post! I'm American, and constantly find myself wanting to show that I do, in fact, understand something about the world (and not get lumped in with my idiot compatriots who can't even label their own country on a map). It's like how "Asian" can mean anything from Saudi to Indian to Korean, and all of those things are so very different. Then, I'm a Spanish teacher, and constantly am trying to create an awareness that not all Spanish-speaking people eat tacos and listen to mariachi music.

17 September 2011 19:07


Michelle said...

As an American who loves geography, I'm always disappointed when people make no effort to distinguish between continents and countries. I think part of it has to do with how we spend so much on American history and most states require state specific history on top of that. By the time "world" (world often simply means Western European history and maybe some ancient history) history is taught in middle and high school people have already become comfortable mislabeling regions or countries. My biggest pet peeve with geography though is that most people can't be bothered to know anything about Africa and just refer to is as this giant continent of jungle and poverty when it's infinitely more complex and interesting than that.

17 September 2011 19:19


Shattered said...

I think having separate US and world history classes at high school level is kind of a standard thing in the US, actually. My Social Studies credits for sophomore year were covered with 3 quarters of AP "American History" and then 1 quarter of "20th Century World History" (which was primarily European history, of course). My school block scheduled at the time (90 minutes each class, 4 classes per day, and normal full-year classes were only taken for half of the year), so that odd quarter of world history was just to fill the slot up, more or less; it was with the same teacher, same classroom, same period.

The kicker is though I took them my sophomore year, they were actually junior-level classes. Kids were a year off from graduation, and that's how they did it. Such a shame, because the world history part was a million times more interesting than the American history.

Oh geez, and as to Emily's comment above, don't even try telling Americans that India is part of Asia, they will refuse to believe you.

17 September 2011 19:39


Reiko said...

I admit geography is not my strong suit, but this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10) is super good at explaining all the differences between the UK, England, etc.

17 September 2011 19:51


Aro said...

Perfection!

I'm from New Zealand. People seem to have gotten better at knowing it's an actual place since LotR, but I've been asked where in Europe it is or that it's a southern state of Australia. At least the comment about Australia is in the right global location. I've been asked if I live in a grass hut, if I wear a grass skirt, and all the typical comments about sheep. The only thing funny about sheep jokes is that the person saying them actually thinks they're being original.

I will say though, in NZ on government paperwork and such they list ethnicity's such as "NZ European", which is meant to refer to NZers decedent from the wide variety of settlers from different countries in Europe, as verses "NZ Maori". And no, I don't agree with this kind of thing, but that's what they do. So, I could kind of understand someone from NZ being stupid enough to refer to people as European.

17 September 2011 19:58


Kimberly said...

I am from Kansas, in the United States of America. This state is considered to be the Mid-west area of the US. People who have not been to Kansas or that area have asked me 'have you seen buffalo?' Well...yes....in a zoo. There is some assumption (Dances with Wolves?) that buffalo roam free here. They did...over 200 years ago. But then, being from the Mid-west, we think of New York as a city, not an entire state.

17 September 2011 20:22


Julie said...

I have the same issue with America the continent. America covers everything from Greenland to Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Not only the US.

17 September 2011 20:43


Julia said...

Love this post! It's the same thing when people talk about "Latin America" as if it's just one thing. First there's a huge difference between Brazil and the spanish speaking countries, and then you have an insane amount of differences between said spanish speaking countries.

17 September 2011 21:28


Julia said...

Also, I'm glad that here in Brazil we do have World history and Brazilian d history from elementary till high school.Of course it's not perfect, and it covers mostly Europe, US, Latin America. We do have a bit about Africa, and Asia, but not nearly enough in my opinion. I remember when I had to write a paper on some revolution in Japan and I barely knew where to start.

17 September 2011 21:33


Jean said...

"...think before you call something "European"." You understand, of course (as do your commenters, I'm sure), that calling something "European" when that something is, in fact, a product of a European country ... the statement is correct?

17 September 2011 22:26


Anastasia said...

@Jean - I understand that it's technically correct, yes. That's not a complicated thing to understand.
My point was that calling something European, whilst technically accurate, is extremely unspecific and is not very descriptive. In some contexts it makes the user look ignorant if it's clear they think they're talking about one, or a specific small group of countries - for example, asking what the climate is like in Europe or saying 'European chocolate' and thinking that narrows it down significantly.

I can't speak for the rest of my readers, although I think they won't take very kindly to having their intelligence insulted. In my experience they are a very smart bunch of people who certainly have the capacity to understand that something that comes out of Europe is European.

17 September 2011 22:52


Cat said...

Makes me think of this Kids in the Hall sketch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-UWQxZyHw4

:)

17 September 2011 22:55


Eplefe said...

Jean: Yes, but it still makes you sound stupid. "European car", "European chocolate", "European heritage". It's insulting to EUROPEANS at a whole, because I don't like my heritage being reduced to the area of the world I come from.

I am part Norwegian, part Trinidadian. Not part european/scandinavian, part caribbean. The same way you saying to an Indian that "Oh, you're ASIAN" makes you sound ignorant, so does calling any of us European.

17 September 2011 22:57


⚏ Arlecchino Fluorescente ⚝ said...

Excellent ^_^. Also, Great Britain distinguishes from Little Britain, a.k.a. Brittany, where I am from! We're not actually French, although everyone thinks we are. Aside from the ethnic difference, we were a country before they invaded us, and we're still very bitter about it. I live in England now, anyway :)
xoxo

17 September 2011 23:17


Nikki said...

This stuff really irritates me. Especially when people say "British accent" They almost certainly mean an English accent, or someone from Britain they actually mean an English person. Whenever people from other parts of the world talk about Scottish people they call em Scottish, same for Welsh, Irish etc. But for English, they almost always say British.

18 September 2011 00:04


Autumn said...

Seriously, it embarrasses me how little some people here in the US seem to know about geography.

I went on a backpacking trip through the UK and when I returned home had several sad sad things occur:

1. I received as a welcome home gift a photo album covered with the Eiffel Tower.

2. Was asked if I had any time to visit Australia while I was there.

3. Confused people greatly when I mentioned having to fly from Ireland to Scotland.

I might also mention that people still tell other people about how I backpacked through Europe. And I've given up explaining to them that that implies a lot more then the little corner I visited.

Although, don't get too down on us, most people aren't that bad.

18 September 2011 00:43


Yin said...

I totally get what you're saying but perhaps, they're not saying it literally, i mean they mean no harm by referencing wrong. they just say it has the airs of europeaness. Yes. it's a generalisation but they don't mean to be 'unintelligent.'

Maybe I'm playing Devils advocate here but this blogpost seems a little fierce.

18 September 2011 01:13


cinseven13 said...

Love this post! I don't get when people mistake Australian accents for English.

I also get extremely annoyed when people refer to "spanish" people meaning from any country where spanish is the primary language, and they don't mean people from Spain.

18 September 2011 01:46


Magenta said...

Give us Americans some credit - we don't think English people speak like James Bond films. We've all seen Harry Potter, thank you very much.

All joking aside, though, it does tend to raise my hackles when people start apologizing for all of the United States like none of us could find our asses with both hands. There are vocal minorities in every culture that don't know everything about other countries. It's natural to be offended when they don't take you into consideration, but I met an English girl in a US airport who had never heard of the state I'm from, let alone my rather large city, and I just laughed and said it's near New York City. I would imagine that's akin to everyone thinking you're from London.

TL;DR - ethnocentrism = bad.

18 September 2011 02:38


robyn said...

One time in elementary school (at age 6 or 7, I forget which), we had to write something about where our ancestors came from. Kids were going around asking other kids what ethnicities they were. When I replied that I was part English, the two kids that had asked me said: "We're all English!" "Yeah, we're all English."
I was too polite to tell them that we only all only speak English. I decided to use the word "British" from then on, solely due to it not being a language. People seemed less confused even though it was incorrect. Oh my, I have added to the problem.!? :(

18 September 2011 02:48


sharz said...

Oh gosh, I get the same issue, but with "Asian". I get comments like "I love Asian food" or I've been to "Asian".

And the number of people who refer to Africa like it's some sort of country "I'm rooting for Africa to win the World Cup" is just ridiculous!

18 September 2011 02:49


Mai said...

I loves me some of the different English dialects (dialects and accents are different btw).

Yep and it makes me think about how some people exclude some nations under the scope of "Asia". Guess what people, Asia is one hell of a large place.

18 September 2011 03:13


Jessica said...

I feel your pain ): I'm from New York, and it boggles my mind how many people automatically think "New York" means "New York City," or even that NYC = Manhattan. New York City doesn't even take up half the state.

In addition, I'm ethnically Chinese, but my parents are from Singapore & Hong Kong (my family left when it was still a British colony), so we have no real connection to the mainland. I get so sick of telling people I'm Chinese, then being immediately asked, "Oh, so have you ever been to China?" ugh no.

18 September 2011 03:41


Marcey said...

Enjoyed this post! I'm Canadian and there are just as many misconceptions about our country as elsewhere in the world. At least we have history & geography taught in schools but not nearly as much as we should. My experience with Europe has been at least to separate between Eastern & Western to help differentiate. I did not know that India was considered part of Asia although it does make sense. We often speak of Asian food because many of our restaurants serve food from a variety of countries in that region. And get into knowledge of Canada by US people - our provinces are usually called providences and people don't know that our leader is a Prime Minister. The funniest is when people ask us about igloos and taking dogsleds to school.

18 September 2011 05:12


nihrida said...

Thank you!!! :*

18 September 2011 09:52


jezebelseven said...

I might be sticking my neck out here, but eh...

While I get your point-- and I truly do, my husband is from just south of London, and moved to Ohio a few years ago when he married me.
We get some of the most 'Are you freaking serious?' questions. Yes, a person at my husband's work asked him what the difference is between London and France. We joke about the "stupid American" asking things like that, but when it actually happens, all you can do is answer without trying to convey your disbelief in your voice.

But, just like some people can be too vague (and thus, seem ignorant to you), I think some people can be overly pedantic (and thus, seem pompous).
For example-- "Saying you love "European food" is stupid, unless you really have tried and love the cuisine from every country on that list."
By that argument, I can't say "I like Mexican food" unless I've had every single type of cuisine made in Mexico and liked it all. So if I like 99% of the food I've had in Mexico but I really don't like Chapulines, I can't say "I love Mexican food"? Or, taking the opposite side-- what if I have had several meals from all countries in Europe other than Iceland, and loved them all? I still can't say "I love European food"?

There's things worth seeking clarification for, and things worth being specific about, but there's also times you just need to accept the generality for what it is and move on. My husband would lose his mind if he got uptight every time someone (myself included) said he has a "British" accent versus an "English" one. Just sayin'.

18 September 2011 09:57


Anastasia said...

@Jezebel - Personally I'd say "I love some Mexican food", I don't think accuracy is particularly hard, but then I don't think that the variety in the different Mexican dishes is as wide as it is when you're talking about fifty countries. Perhaps I should have said not to say it if you don't understand that Europe is fifty countries and have a rough idea of what you're talking about. It's just extremely unspecific, and it does look ignorant, especially when someone says it because they want to appear 'cultured' and continental by sampling things from exotic Europe ._.
My rants are catharthis, not an ongoing war. When something bugs me I rant about it, and then I feel better. No one is getting 'uptight' every time someone incorrectly says 'British accent' instead of English, we've said it once and now we can move on. Anyone who reads the blog who didn't know before, does now.

18 September 2011 11:16


Anastasia said...

@Mai - Yes, I know the difference :p I don't like the dialects so much. When I lived i Yorkshire for 6 years I worked really hard on NOT picking it up, because I don't like it at all. I don't mind Kentish, but I try to be pretty much region-free.

@Nihrida - <3

18 September 2011 11:19


Anastasia said...

@Sharz - I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. When someone says 'Africa to win the world cup' I'd assume they were referring to the South African football team and abbreviating, not referencing the continent.

18 September 2011 11:23


Nanethiel said...

yaaay, at least someone knows where Croatia is! :D I love my country, but most people have never heard of it -.-

18 September 2011 11:24


Anastasia said...

@Tabiicat - Very derpy xP

@Nocta Dea - Yeah that one surprised me, too.

@Duvessa - In England we usually say "oriental" to refer to China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan etc - certainly in terms of food, and "Indian" is just India. But apparently that's not PC in the US. I get horrified reactions if I say it online, so I stopped.
ROFL at TVs in Finland though, really?

@Mandy - Haha when I was little I thought Mexico was in Spain, and that Portugal was the capital. But I grew up x]

@Andreanna - Sweden have excellent broadband too, and lax piracy laws.

@Emily - Because England is pretty close to Spain, to us Spain and South America are completely different. I'd never heard of a mariachi band until I watched US TV and I've been to Spain twice.

@Michelle - State specific history? Wow. History in schools here is completely different. There are a lot of misconceptions about 21st centuary Africa, I agree, and 21st centuary UAE.

@Shattered - I was surprised. We just learn world history, but our roots come from all over the place. I'm fighting the urge to say "American history? What history?"

@Reiko - Thanks :D

@Aro - Oh, I love NZ. No sheep jokes, but I want to live there just because lamb is delicious and it would be cheaper. It's so expensive here and it all comes from NZ <.< I think it's sad that you're not technically in Oceania, because I think that's the coolest name for a continent ever :c
The passport thing sounds confusing but I guess I can see why. In England the option is always "White British", not English.

@Kimberly - I dated a nerd from Kansas and he didn't turn out to be Superman, so that pretty much shattered all my Kansas stereotypes.

@Julie - Yeah I suppose a lot of people think the continent is just North America.

@Julia - Our world history was very European focused, our roots, Romans, Tudors, England's eras and monarchs, Nazi Germany etc. I wish we'd learned more about Africa and Asia, and America was hardly covered at all.

@Cat - Lmao x.x makes me really wonder what the picture was of.

@Flo - Haha, at least you have a cool coat of arms? :S I'd hate to tell people in England I was from Little Britain, ugh, do you get Vicky Pollard jokes?

@Nikki - Yeah, the idea that a Briton could be Scottish or Welsh seems to evade a lot of people. If you described Sean Connery's accent as British people would stare at you.

@Autumn - XD Omg, Australia. Really? It sounds nice though, which parts did you see?

18 September 2011 12:00


Anastasia said...

@Yin - What is "Europeanness" - when Europe consists of 50 hugely varying countries across the world, what exactly is 'European-ness'? Each of those countries has their own rich history and culture, something which has the air of 'Spanishness' is probably not similar at all to something which is 'Frenchish' or Swedish or Norwegian or Scottish or Croatian or Russian. That's my point, it's completely unspecific. Many of these countries have almost nothing in common, describing something as "European" is often a worthless description which many people use to mean "not American". It's pretty degrading to the people who live in those different countries when no one tells them apart of even considers that they're a part of the sweeping statement they just made.
They might not mean to be 'unintelligent', but it still looks that way.

@Cinseven13 - And those who don't know the difference between Spanish and Portugese :S

@Magenta - On the subject of ethnocentrism... I didn't mention America. At all, in my blog post. Everyone has simply assumed that's who I'm talking about and that it's all about the ignorant American stereotype. I could have been talking about any non-European country, not necessarily America.

@Robyn - I think that might be why Americans use 'British' instead of English so freely. Not because of YOU specifically, obviously, but to save confusion since English is a language. I don't think a lot of people really think of English as in being from the country of England.

@Jessica - Even I know that New York is a state as well as a city. London is a county as well as a city, I guess no one knows that either.
I had a Chinese friend in school who punched a guy after he asked if she was Japanese, and she said no, Chinese, and his response was "But they're basically the same thing right?"

@Marcey - My last boyfriend was Canadian and I absolutely did not believe him when he told me you set fire to the White House. Canada gets pretty overlooked which is surprising considering how huge it is, and aren't you like the second largest suppliers of oil?
Canada is my dream destination to move to. It's just socialist enough and there's snow!

18 September 2011 12:00


Mjolnir said...

Yeah, but no, but yeah, but no...

I find it so weird that people don't understand the difference between a continent and a country. I'm a geography/history nerd so maybe I'm an exception but the misconceptions are mind-blowing!

While working at a restaurant, we had a Korean businesswoman ask, quite pointedly, what made the 'asian' beef so 'asian' and a group of Japanese businessmen(who were very loyal customers), from the Honda plant no less, be dismissed as Chinese by several employees. "Oh whatever, they're all the same!" is a surprisingly common response I get when pointing out that the different countries in Asia are very unique and individual from one another.

I plan to visit Europe. ALL OF IT, MUAHAHAHAHHAAAAA!!

18 September 2011 15:42


Magenta said...

No no no - I didn't say that you were being ethnocentric, just that it's bad in general was what I was trying to convey. Didn't mean it to come off that way. I was just saying that loads of Americans tend to get all "omg please don't hate me because I'm American" when people make statements like yours, and it bums me out.

18 September 2011 15:56


Anastasia said...

@Magenta - Oh, yes x] sorry if I sounded aggressive. I meant, it's an interesting point, right? Everyone has assumed that it's about America. I think everyone could stand to know a little more about other countries, so the comments here have really taught me some interesting stuff.

18 September 2011 16:20


Anastasia said...

@Mjolnir - Mythology, too? :p
Yeah I've heard the "what's the difference" thing with Chinese/Japanese before, which is incredibly insulting considering that there's a lot of tension politically and historically between the two. It's just as racist as thinking all black people look alike imo. I wish there was more education about the different countries within continents and how they are all different.

Rofl! When you get to my tiny corner I'll show you around :D

18 September 2011 16:22


not so country said...

THANK YOU! I'm from Scotland, and the amount of people who say 'It must be nice to live in England.....' because they think England is another word for the UK? Hilarious!

xo

18 September 2011 17:17


beautifulwithbrains said...

Great post! I feel your paino, this stuff really bugs me too! Especially when people use the word England meaning Great Britain or the UK. They are not the same thing! England is just a part of it!

18 September 2011 20:34


Dimitri said...

I totally hear you.
I live in Argentina and most of the foreign people keep asking me if I'm from Brazil.

18 September 2011 22:34


olgiepolgie said...

This post totally cracked me up! I laughed myself silly.

I'm an Australian and I've occasionally been asked whether I'm from England by some Americans when I've been over there. I also had to repeat myself a lot since my accent apparently makes what I'm saying undecipherable.

Oh and just to clarify a couple of things, we don't have koalas in every tree and kangaroos hopping down the streets. And Sydney is not the bloody capital of the country.

19 September 2011 01:06


Tariray said...

Ahahahahahahahahahaha!!! OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS ENTRY

As someone who has lived in 6 different Western European countries (8 if you count the ones i've done freelance work in) and a general expat baby and travelling weirdo who can't settle down - I completely and utterly heart this particular entry. I thought it was just me who felt particulary irked at blanket statements about geographic regions. I also happen to be half asian but lo and behold not chinese... because it is possible to be asian and not be chinese, japanese or indian. DAMNIT

At the risk of maknig this comment too long I must share this: I am close friends with this lovely Lady from Cork in Ireland (they even have different cadbury's too) who works with me with another colleague. One day, said colleague just turns around and says "I dont know why, but Irish people are my favourite people ever" - you know, like, how my favourite fruit happens to be the banana sort of thing. Fi (the Irish lady) and I stared at each other at a complete loss for words when the girl piped up again and said "there's just something about people who put alcohol in their coffee"...
....
.... exactly....

19 September 2011 02:17


Marcey said...

Canada is a huge supplier of oil, water and power. There are oil sands in Northern Alberta which could satisfy world needs for many, many years although the environmentalists get pretty crazy about it because the extraction process leaves a barren landscape. Alberta is the only Canadian province without a sales tax and that is due to the oil revenue. Unfortunately, also in a typical Canadian way, we charge much lower royalties than many other countries. We have power tie lines which stretch from our northern areas into the USA.

And yes, Canada does get forgotten sometimes but there are also things like the military's role in the liberation of Western Europe during WWII which allow us to live on proudly in the history books. The other thing is that throughout the world a Canadian flag on your baggage pretty much guarantees respect and kindness.

19 September 2011 03:05


LaTresLeches18 said...

Lol, great rant :) Its nice for someone to set everyone straight once in a while.
Im from New Mexico and when I travel to other states and tell them where I'm from, they're like, "Your country is dangerous!" Im like o_o

19 September 2011 04:02


Phoenix said...

Awesome. :D
We always get "Oh, New Zealand. That's part of Australia, right?"
And people telling us we're wrong when we say it is now spring over here. There are two different hemispheres, buddy.
FOR THE LOVE OF BAGUETTES IS THE BEST SAYING EVAAAR!

19 September 2011 11:49


Violet said...

Awesome post Ana!
I'm Italian and at best people mistake my country for Spain. At worst, they assume that Italians are all guidos like in that Jersey Shore reality, that we all speak like characters from "The godfather" and that Italy=Sicily.
It's pretty depressing, expecially when you try to correct them and you get answers like "it's such an unimportant country anyway, who cares?".

19 September 2011 18:54


Scotlass99 said...

Lol this post made me smile! I'm Scottish and people always say "are you from England?" um mm....no!! It beggars belief that some people are so uneducated about the world we live in! Good on ya for this post! :)

20 September 2011 11:18


Autumn said...

@Anastasia It was lovely, I have now been twice :) The first time I saw the lower half of Ireland (mostly Dublin, Cork, and Newgrange), Almost 3 weeks travelling through all of Scotland, down to Nottingham (THERE IS NOTHING THERE :( ), then stayed in London and travelled a bit while staying there and back a bit through Ireland to finish. The second time I stuck to London and Edinburgh, I was just there to see Love Never Dies when it was first there...

I have to say, I would live there if I could...

20 September 2011 23:44


eRiN said...

Ahahahaha, no, you totally are talking to me! The manfriend was horrified to discover my total ignorance of basic geography outside the US. IN OUR DEFENSE though, geography is taught only up to about .... 7th grade, maybe? And much of that is US geography ... and then after that you can join the extra-special-suck-up class that is dedicated to memorizing all the countries in the world and everything there is to know about them, but most people chose not to stay after school or whenever it was to do that.

At least, in my state that's how it was. I have to assume/ hope some areas, like Washington D.C., would be more concerned with students learning about countries other than our own.

21 September 2011 02:17


Paul said...

I disagree, a bit.

When someone says "I want to visit Europe" in general, I wouldn't flip, just as someone saying they "Want to visit America" doesn't make me irritated about One: which of the Americas they want to visit, Two: which country, and Three: if they are referring to the United States, which section or state? Because there is as much, if not more variation in cultures in this country from county to county alone than in the UK, and is comparable to Europe in most cases. For example, Cajun Lousiana culture is different from Southie Boston, or Maine, or sections of Georgia. I don't get bothered by it, so when someone says "They want to visit Europe", yes, they could be more specific, and in fact, they probably have a more specific idea of what they want to do, unless they just want to visit al of Europe which, though admirable, is a lot to do.

I can see why you might get annoyed by the other stuff, though. My friend Pegs flips when the whole "British" thing comes into question. But I don't agree with some of the other things.

27 September 2011 01:29


prettymom said...

very educational. i always thought great britain = UK >.> i didn't study much geography.

at least i know europe is a continent! :)

i don't know about other parts of the world, but here we always have terms like 'european design' cars / kitchens / furnitures / etc. i always thought, can't you be more specific which european country??

9 October 2011 21:17


dubbalubba said...

omg... so spot-on!!! i'm asian myself (chinese to be exact) and am constantly having to clarify to people that tokyo is not in china, neither are china and japan the same thing, and yes, even east indians and russians come from the continent of asia. i friggin' love you for this post!

13 October 2011 03:37



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