Am I anti-American or what?

Is there anti-Americanism in Honduras?

You bet there is. That should come as no surprise. A lot of people hate America and their people. But Americans say “I’m a decent person, I harm no one”. “Yeah, but your government does”, is usually the answer. Some of the big names in Anti-Americanism are Americans, like Noam Chomsky.

Am I anti-American?

Part of me is.

There are reasons, but is mostly emotional (or irrational). I don’t like the way some my fellow countrymen are treated when they go to America. I perceive most Americans have unjust prejudices against our people, and I hate that. I perceive many Americans think we are given to vice, and that we deserve to be “underdeveloped”. In contrast, America is great for their virtuous-working-disciplined people. But we are lazy dreamers, and that’s the reason of our problems. Maybe it’s true, but that conception sounds terribly condescending to me. I prefer to think we are the way we are for some structural economic-historical reasons, not for our inherent malice.

USA is a political-economic-military superpower, and has used its power to advance its interests in detriment of other countries, and we resent that. If we check Latin America’s history we see undesirable American interventionism; here in Honduras too. We resent the fact that ordinary American citizens support their government in evil causes like the war against Iraq. Many Latin people saw from the beginning that that war was not justified.

We see beautiful Americans in movies and TV shows, but in real life we see a lot of gringos whose skin is so pale, the first thought I have is: they need some tan, urgently. I see many gringos in Tegucigalpa, and I think they dress terribly. And I often wonder: is that some kind of gringo-tourist uniform? Do you dress lousy, because you want to give the impression that you’re poor or something, in order to discourage thieves? I mostly don’t feel attracted to the American women I see here.

I hate to see Americans who have lived years in this country, and don’t really care to know more about our culture, and learn some decent Spanish.

I hate when I go to a fast food restaurant, and have to wait extra-long, because there are a bunch of gringos that came in a tour who are taking all the orders. I specially hate when those gringos are Mormons. I think “We have enough religions here; we don’t need a new one”.

The ironic thing is I’m a big consumer of Anglo-Saxon culture, I managed to learn some English by myself, I even look pale-skinned as gringo…

But it can be denied that even people who hate the gringos love the dollars… That’s why most Americans are treated nicely here. It’s part of our (bourgeois) culture that those with money are admired and respected.

Maybe I was a little bit too cynical above. Some people love the gringos because they see them as something exotic. They are curious about you, and want to learn more. They often wonder: “What the heck are these gringos doing here? I’d rather be in America”.

People are especially enraged when a Honduran criminal is executed by American authorities. They are always inclined to believe that such criminal is innocent, and feel some kind of cheap patriotism.

People with leftist sympathies are more prone to anti-Americanism. I remember a college professor who said that America is not a nation, and has no national identity. They want the US to abandon Palmerola military base. Some thought our current president was about to do it.

By the way, our current president, Manuel Zelaya, has given hints of anti-Americanism, mainly in some speeches directed to foreign audiences. His rapprochement with Hugo Chavez is suspicious to say the least. He didn’t want to accept the current US ambassador’s credentials, in solidarity with Evo Morales from Bolivia. But he always denies he’s anti-American.

I hope I didn’t sound too bitter in this rant. I needed to get this out of my chest. I like when Americans our interested in our culture, and do their best to learn our language.

8 thoughts on “Am I anti-American or what?

  1. laurenkjo211

    Do you truly expect an average American to live up to a Hollywood standard?

  2. Mark

    Go screw yourself you ignorant third world douchebag. That’s the reason we hate you people here in the US the same way you hate us there. Why do we have to cater to you here and learn espanol, you need to learn ingles gracias. Yes we are better that you in every aspect and we are the envy of the world that why everyone wants to come here. And as for your bitter college proffesoor who probably makes about 300 lempiras a month when he’s paid on time he’s probably bitter because he was denied an american visa.

    1. ardegas Post author

      That was lovely.

      But remember, you don’t speak American, you speak English. A lot of people around the world speak English, so if I learn your language, that doesn’t mean I’m catering to Americans in particular.

      I don’t feel “hate” towards Americans, just a mild dislike. And I don’t think Americans hate Honduras in particular, most of you wouldn’t even be able to locate it in a map. American ignorance in matters of geography is bewildering. And don’t think everybody is dying to live in America, that’s just nonsense. If were given the choice I would prefer to live in an European country. The college professor I talked about is well educated, he speaks several languages and studied in Europe. And I do agree that Americans don’t have a culture of their own. It’s kind of sad if you ask me. There are some things that money can’t buy.

      1. Mark

        You write very well in english, I congratulate you. You must have been one of the few who was able to afford one of the few expensive bilingual American High Schools in Honduras. It’s funny, because even in Europe they envy American culture in every aspect except in soccer which we do not care for, but of course it’s the “old” contintent so they are going to have quite a bit more culture and fancier looking architecture as they do in the states. Actually Americans do have a culture, but you wouldn’t know anything about since you’re not American. Your a Hondureno whos’e culture is copied from Mexico and El Salvador and the other neighbooring countries, which to me they’re all the same. It’s all part of Mexico. Thanks for replying to me, I don’t know how I stumbled upon this stupid anti american blog but i’m glad I did, now you can share an Americans thoughts with your anti american amigos in Tegus, and the next time you see a pale skin gringo help the poor which is 99% of your country you might actually be more appreciative.

  3. Mary

    As a US citizen married to a Honduran and reading from Comayagüela, what made me really sad about this article was the discussion incited by this Mark fellow and your reaction to it. Honestly, I can see why you have some of the perceptions that you do, but I hate that Mark’s contribution only serves to reinforce the negative beliefs that truly only apply to a few.

    The one thing I really want to say is that I fly back and forth between the US and Honduras quite a bit, and if those trips have been representative of the kinds of Americans who visit Honduras, I want to emphasize that your typical volun-tourist is not a very good example of your typical American. I mean no respect to missionaries because honestly they spend all year saving their money to go to Honduras and help people once a year instead of going on some fabulous European vacation. They are good-hearted people. But you have to imagine that in order to choose hard sweaty labor over an island vacation, you have to have a certain mindset, and that mindset tends to be somewhat condescending. I 100% agree with you on that, but in the end they are doing more for the poor than you or I are for waxing intellectual about it, so you have to take that into consideration.

    Because I am bilingual and spend a lot of time in Honduras, I have been asked to help facilitate communication for some of these groups. At the beginning, I used to think, “gosh, they’ve been going there for how many years and still haven’t learned Spanish?”. I used to think if I taught them, everything would go better. But now I have realized that EVERYTHING would fall apart if I could wave my magic wand and give them all the gift of Spanish language. Partially because then they’d understand the culture better and thus be overwhelmed by how complicated the problems are here, how money and time alone won’t solve them. And partially because then they’d understand that a lot of the time, the people they sacrifice so much for don’t exactly hold them in the highest regard. They may not smoothly integrate into Honduran society like some of us who are less noticeable, but that doesn’t mean that every American is some monolingual religious zealot looking to co-opt someone else’s culture for lack of their own. It just isn’t the case.

    I think if we were able to sit down and really talk about these issues, we would agree on more than we disagree on. But for the record, I didn’t support any of the wars in the middle east and neither did pretty much anyone I know. I met my husband here in Honduras while traveling (not trying to give anyone my religion or perform any heroics for the poor) and I learned Spanish so that I could be as much a part of his family as he is of mine. I appreciate the Honduran culture and am very proud of my own — however subtle it may seem to you, I hope that someday you get to visit the States for long enough to appreciate how deeply that culture runs. I don’t always (often, even) agree with my government, but I’m sure you wouldn’t want your government to speak for you or your people either. I don’t think the US is the best country in the world, but it’s my country and I love it despite its flaws.

    I suppose that’s enough for one blog comment; I would be happy to discuss any of your issues with american culture with you at length if you ever desire. My country isn’t perfect and I’ll be the first to concede where you are right, but in some cases I’m afraid your view of the US has been as limited and manipulated as many Americans’ views of Honduras. Hopefully together we can work toward a greater mutual understanding…saludos from across the river.

  4. No name

    People learn Spanish in the us and no one really knows about Honduras. I have to do a school thing over you. And Americans/where I live don’t have you guys

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