Racism and anti-semitism isn't something we're born with. It's the product of influences around us. The people who teach us to think in terms of "us" and "them." Media stereotypes that infuse us with prejudice. Insecurities that tempt us to put others down to feel better about ourselves.
Below are stories told by previously racist and anti-semitic people who have come out the other side and realized how horrible their viewpoint was.
They provide some insight into why people are actually swept into hate in the first place, and how it can be unlearned.
Thank you to all the people who shared their story. Source found at the bottom of this article.
1. Some backstory; I was in a hardcore racist organization from 15 to 20 years old. They recruited me off the school grounds, where I was vulnerable and easily persuadable. I had been in brawl with a few Arab immigrants and felt strong resentment against them and the organization really sounded like they made a difference, like they could stop "them" and others who would "destroy" the country ...this is truly what I thought.
I shaved my head and started to wear the clothes. We used to vandalize immigrant "hotels" (places they live just when they came to the country) and stores. We would regularly get into large fights with immigrant and communist/socialist groups.
I really truly hated those people. Everyday I did something to make their life difficult. Everyday something related to this ongoing"fight" happened. Such was life in the organization. I was content with the hate.
But then there was a moment where that all changed.
I was sitting on the bus on my way home one day. I was listening to some music in my headphones. It was a cloudless autumn day and everything was a healthy yellow and orange color and blue sky. At a stop an African American man and a young boy, maybe 5-6 years, got on. The man was tall and had bad clothes, he looked like he did not have much. They sat in front of me. I immediately became annoyed and started to think about how I hated them, immigrants coming to my country, I thought. He is poor and I pay taxes so he can get welfare. I thought about how his son is going to become a lousy bum and abuse white women. I started to get mad and decided to beat the man up, I was going to follow him when he got off the bus.
I saw him press the button and got ready at the next stop, and just before we stopped I was about to get up and the man turned to his son and said something in a heavy accent that I will never forget in my life.
"I love you my son, be good."
He then gave him a big, hard hug and the boy got off the bus alone. He waved good bye and sat back down, with his hands on his face. I just stared out the window where his son had been standing. My world view came crashing. He was just a father who wanted his son to be good, he loved him just like my father loved me. For some reason this changed everything for me. I know this is a very small thing but I started to think about how he wanted a better life for his son. He was a man that had changed everything for his family.
I sat on that bus for hours, it kept going around. I thought about how wrong it was to do the things I had done. I left that city the next day and started over. I am much happier now. I don't feel the hate in my heart every day anymore.
2. This story is difficult to share. I am telling it at the request of my son.
I was raised as a racist. We lived in Southern California near a lot of racial minorities. My father was a union leader and I think his hatred of minorities came from his job, because the union was mostly white guys and they saw the minorities as trying to take their jobs. Whenever we would drive around and see them in the street, my dad would always point them out and talk rudely about them.
I grew up and had kids of my own. I was doing the same thing to them without realizing it. One day I came home and found my 14 year old daughter messing around with another kid who was Black. I threw him out of my house and beat him in my driveway.
The cops were called and I went to prison for assault. (Continued)
Continue reading this story on the next page.
In prison, I saw how ethnically divided everything was, but my counsellor was the one who basically shook me out of it. She helped me realize that continuing this hatred would really only hurt my own life.
I tried to avoid the racial groups in my prison. I stayed on my own and earned my GED. In my classes I met a lot of minorities who had also never graduated high school, like myself.
You know, I don't think there was really a single moment. It took a while for the subject to come up in my sessions, and I remember my counsellor asking me if I actually knew anyone of a different race, and I really didn't. I had always avoided them my whole life. So that was the start of my mind changing.
I listened to my counsellor and got to know them and realized what a hard life they had had. Before, I thought that they were just lazy and sold drugs for easy money. We actually went through a lot of the same struggles in our education.
When I got out, I started a construction company. I make an effort to hire both former cons and also minorities. I am trying to make up for the kind of things I have done in the past.
3. I was a huge racist neo-nazi, and I was visiting the holocaust museum because, as I thought at the time, I wanted to see a "shrine" to how the "great and powerful" Aryans had killed Jewish people. Goodness I was such an idiot. I actually thought it would be fun. Then, I saw a little girl's dirty shoes from one of the gas chambers and I totally lost it. Something inside me snapped.
It just took that one moment for me to realize how stupid I was being.
Today, I couldn't be happier. I also happen to be married to an African-American woman and she is the love of my life.
4. I was a skinhead since I was a kid..about 13. We ran in a gang and listened to both racial music and also non racial music. We were a bit mouthy etc about race, but the place we grew up in was totally white. There was one Chinese lass in our whole school of about 1,200 people. It didn't take me too long to realize that the "they took our jobs" talk was a load of crap, as there were no ethnic people in our town and no jobs. So I did grew out the explicit racist thing pretty quickly. Still, I harboured some deep-seeded beliefs about race, and usually thought of non-white people as "the others."
It was only really when I went to university that I actually encountered different races. I got to work beside Black and Asian guys, played football with Africans and Greeks and generally had a great time and met great people who I still keep in contact with. At that point, even though I didn't consider myself outwardly racist, I couldn't imagine me having Black friends, or going on holiday with a group that included several Muslims, which I did do a couple of years back.
There was a moment, for me, that turned everything around. (Continued)
Continue this story on the next page.
I went to live in another city, and was just myself..talk to anyone. One night I got a cab. The driver was a Muslim in full Pakistani cultural gear. I thought, people are people and have the right to do or dress how they want, but I don't think we are going to have a lot to talk about, not much common ground. I gave him my address and sat back to chill out.
Guy turns round, you a Scot (Scottish)? I said yeah mate. Then he starts chatting about when he first came to England in the 60s before the majority of Pakistanis, he used to get picked on at school. The other guys who were picked on were Scots and Irish. So they formed a gang of the eight of them. From that day they could go watch football, go out at night, and generally stick up for each other. He said, that was a long time ago, and I still get a shiver when I hear Scots or Irish accents. Now he teaches kids at the mosque not to dislike white Christians, and the best ways to mix and interact. We sat for 20 minutes when we arrived at my house and just shot the breeze.
I think that's when the last bit of bigotry left me.
5. I moved to London when I was 6, from Poland. Back in Poland everyone in my community was racist to a degree, so I never really thought about it. I was raised with the (false!) knowledge that Muslims were the cancer of the Earth, Black people were just the poor, scum of society, and this was just accepted as a truth. Racism and Xenophobia in Eastern Europe is pretty bad.
Anyway, I moved when I was about 6, maybe 7, to a housing estate in South London, and what I saw disgusted me at the time. The amount of minorities around where I lived was huge. I remember just starting secondary school (age 11) and quickly falling into a group of friends who were primarily European, all of which shared my uneducated views. Like I said, I was poor and so were they, and so we put the blame onto anyone we could. It's just how it was. For the next couple years I was constantly in trouble for fighting and making trouble with other kids, and they were almost always black. I was a real jerk at that age. At 15 one of my friends was stabbed by a gang member, and I just felt angry and let down, blaming other minorities more than ever.
When I got a bit older, and I was studying at college (not university, the two years before university is called college or sixth form in the UK) there were no other Eastern European people in my class. I was one of 3 white people, the other two being English, the rest being black or Muslim. I felt isolated, until I was forced to sit next to a kid called Tristan. (Continued)
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He was involved in gangs, selling drugs ect, and for the first week I didn't talk to him at all, but I realized that actually, despite what I saw in him when I first met him, he seemed like a nice guy, so I started talking to him a bit, and I realized that all the things I'd been through getting caught up in violence, drugs and everything else that came with being a young poor impressionable Polish immigrant, I could relate to him. Anyway, he became one of my best friends, and my 18th birthday was coming up so I told him he should come along to it (parents got some money together and hired out the top room of a pub near where I live). Well, you can imagine what happened. My attitudes had changed a bit so I didn't think much of it at the time, but my old friends started getting violent towards him and his girlfriend who he'd brought. I saw all those people from a different light, and I haven't spoken to them since.
I'm in my second year at university, and I'm still trying to kill any pre-judgement of people that hangs over from how I used to think. If anything, the people I prejudge most are Eastern European.
6. I never ran with a group of racists, but I harboured some really racist views for a long time, listened to RAC (basically Nazi punk rock) a lot, and frequented the Stormfront (White Nationalist Community) boards.
I realized eventually that being filled with hate all the time, was having a really negative impact on my life. at the same time that this thought crept into my head, I started working in the oil patch in Northern Canada. I ran into a lot of people who were extremely racist, who said things that even I didn't agree with, and even met some guys who identified themselves as neo nazis.
It struck me that there was one thing in common for each of these guys.
One of the common things these guys shared, is that they were extremely uneducated and, often, of little intelligence. Maybe someone knows some smart racists, I never have actually met one.
It got me thinking, about my future, about the kind of people I wanted to be around, about the people who I wouldn't have in my life if they knew I had become a full on racist, and about having a bunch of idiots as my sole peer group.
I really didn't want that, so I worked hard on changing. I threw out my Bully Boys c.ds, I went back to school, in a course with many different cultural groups, and realized that most of the time, these people that I hated were a lot more like me then they were different from me.
And towards the end of my course, I stopped at a car accident, where a car full of middle eastern people had flipped off a road. They had kids and the mom inside, and they were in pretty bad shape. (Continued)
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When I looked at them, and saw their eyes, and the fear and pain, I knew, that we are all people. I could have never left those people to die, I could have never hoped for a different outcome for those people than for people of my own skin color (this didn't happen right away, it took a few weeks from the accident). I still have racist thoughts pop into my head (driving in Vancouver can do that), but I catch them, and realize it is just a reactionary response, built up from years of habitual thinking, and they don't usually last all that long.
I work as an EMT now, and it has been the best thing for me. It is a constant reminder that we all have the same fears and the same response to emotional and physical pain. And it has worked, I no longer think of myself as racist there are things I'm still ignorant about, but I'm working on it. Nobody's perfect. It's all about the ability to step back and realize where that thought is coming from. It requires being willing to self-critique which is never an easy thing.
That family in the car ended up being o.k, the paramedics and fire crew arrived on scene and extricated them, they were hurt but no one died, and I got inspired to make my own positive mark on the world, and picked my career.
7. While I was not a KKK member, I used to support David Duke, the former grand wizard of the KKK who ran for Louisiana governor, because of his racist views. I had preconceived ideas about racial minorities, and often told people that I hated how Black people would walk in the middle of the road, and were quick to anger. Mostly, it just felt good to look down on someone else.
I later came out as gay but remained a racist. I changed my mind when I moved from Louisiana to California and took gender/race/sexuality study classes. Wow! That really turned things around for me. I realized I was racist because I didn't understand other cultures and motivations of minority groups. My new perspective was further enforced when I, too, became angry at stuff that happens to minorities and felt the need to act out.
Also, as a side note, I also read that the whole "walking in the middle of the road" thing for people in low-income neighborhoods is because humans are territorial, and people who live in the projects don't have true sense of ownership. So public things become their territory. Pretty interesting.
Continue reading on the next page.
8. In my Primary school years I was nearly suspended due to racist comments towards a person of color in my class. I was a brat (to put it mildly) as a kid. Probably down to coming from a rich family that became a broken, welfare needing home in the matter of months. Acting out, you know.
As I got older I got drawn into the whole racist / anti-Semitic view because of my grandparents. Farm folk from a village in Kent, England with about 15 inhabitants. Nice people seriously, they just hated Jewish people, and anyone from a differing racial or ethnic background. Ironically my Grandfather was born in Guernsey, the Channel Islands so wasn't actually English.
The Neo-Nazi idea was one I could relate to. I used to walk around with military boots and trousers, biker jacket and bandanna. I'd listen to really abusive racial music, have a general disgust for the 'cancer' on this Earth as I used to see it as. I admired how the Nazis had become such a powerful government through racist policies. This somewhat supported my ideals.
Where I lived at that time was surrounded by Indian students, studying for medicine at University. I used to have a go at the groups of them, push them around. Some would cross the road to avoid me. Like a group of 10 avoiding just me. I was 6 foot and 260lbs back then.
Now this is the twist, throughout the neo-nazi esque years I had been into watching a lot of gay porn secretly. But I was homophobic as all heck. When I eventually worked out I was being a dick because I was projecting the hatred of myself outwards. I changed. I came out to my parents and grandparents who all supported me surprisingly, just as long as I didn't flaunt it.
Now for the grand ending: I'm engaged to a half Irish Half Algerian, gorgeous man who has been with me for the most wonderful three years of my life.
Raise your hands--who had an emo phase in the 2000s? I know I did, as did a lot of people around me. All of us heard “It's just a phase" from our parents at some point, but when you're a kid, life as we know it seems so permanent.
Of course, most of the time, it was “just a phase". And looking back, those phases are regrettable, to say the least. Here are some prime examples of that.
What was your biggest/most regrettable "It's not a phase, mom. It's my life." that, in fact, turned out to be just a phase and not your life?
The enthusiasm of a young person can lead to some unexpected changes that parents are just not ready for.
I was VERY into The Transformers when I was a wee lad in the 1980s. One day, I decided to change my name to the name of my favorite Autobot. My name was lame, and I wanted an awesome Transformer name. And I was VERY insistent that my parents only call me by my new name. Calling me by my 'old' name would cause a big fat tantrum on my part.
So for the better part of a week, my poor parents had to call me Wheeljack.
Very 2008.Ariana Grande Shrug GIFGiphy
My cat-ear phase. I wore cat ears every single day. Everywhere. I had like 20 pairs of them. Now everyone thinks I'm a furry.
I find that very cute and wouldn't have thought you'd be furry. Even if you'd had cat mittens. I think my suspicions would have started if you moved a bit like a cat, displayed catlike grooming habits or got a cat mask.
Not gonna lie, that car sounds cool.
I went to a car show once as a teen, and the only newer car there was some chick's PT cruiser. It was hot glittery pink, and at the time I was obsessed. I insisted that one day I would have a hot pink car, with pink seats, pink dash, pink carpets, etc. I was pretty heavily goth at the time, so my parents just rolled their eyes.
These phases can often lead to some very strange fashion choices.
When I was a teenager (early 00s), I was waiting for my mother to pick me up and was wearing one of those sh!tty sports wristwatches. It was itching me so I took it off for a second, but then she arrived and because I was struggling to get it back on my wrist, I looped it around the equally sh!tty chain I had around my neck in a rush to get out the door.
My mom asked me about it in the car, and I told her this was my new style and I planned to wear it like that every day. She rolled her eyes.
I wore that watch on a chain around my neck every single day for 3 years or so. There are even professional family photos where I'm wearing it because I refused to take it off.
One day, the chain broke and I lost the watch. I was in high school at that point anyway and it was a major lady repellent, so... phase over.
Not everyone can be Eminem.slim shady eminem GIFGiphy
Baggy pants, being a rapper someday and being a professional skater.
When I was about 14 and Eminem was starting to blow up I bought myself a keyboard with a synthesizer. It cost like $200 which was all the money I had saved up. It finally came (this was way before amazon prime and such) and I tried rapping.
My sister told me "you're effing horrible" and I gave up right then and there.
This should be a sin.
I used to button the top buttons of polo shirts.
I must say, this is probably the worst one I've read.
Looking back at our regrettable choices, all we can do is cringe.
An optimistic look at bad tattoos.check me out season 3 GIF by PortlandiaGiphy
Being a tattooer. Regrettable because of those poor people who have my awful doodles on their bodies.
Take heart! My favorite tattoo is the one I drunkenly got my buddy to do in his living room one year during March Madness! It's dumb and frankly mediocre? But such a good story and has such good associations I smile every time I see it.
My friend and I decided we were going to open a bar in Jamaica with exotic snakes in glass cages in the walls at each booth. We convinced ourselves it would be amazing for at least two years in college. It was going to be called Fredro's.
My entire family made fun of me for it. Once we got out of college, we realized it was not feasible and joined the office grind. We're also two white guys with no ties to Jamaica.
Talk about cringey.
I wore a top hat with an anime pin on it for around a year. Met one of my current best friends while wearing it, idk how he could bear to speak to me after that.
My weirdest phase was probably when I insisted on wearing knee-high rainbow socks to school every day. But honestly, I don't regret it. I rocked those socks, and I wish I still have a pair.
To all the people out there cringing over their past selves, remember that you were just a kid, and to be easy on yourselves. After all, we've all been there
It should not take much for a consumer to be satisfied with the products they purchase.
Yet, too often, manufacturers who oversell their products fail to deliver what is promised and are inevitably left with angry customers who want their money back.
Whether the merchandise was defective or ridiculously overpriced, strangers online shared some of their worst purchases when Redditor BooksMcGee asked:
"What is the worst product you ever paid money for?"
Short Life Span
"This NERF gun that's supposed to shoot tennis balls for your dog. I bought it cause I thought you could load 3 at a time and shoot them far, but it's just one and it's super loud and the gun broke after like 4 shots (reading reviews later, this was a common issue)."
"There were these toys called squiggles when I was a kid and the commercials made it seem like the toy was alive. It looked like you would get this crazy little fuzzy worms as pets that would follow you around an so sick tricks and listen to your every command. It was really just a piece of fluffy string tied to another piece of string with googly eyes on it. People may say that it was supposed to be a magic trick but they should also explain that to a 5 year old who really wanted a pet."
"Not their fault, but I paid $70 for a Yugioh card hours before it was limited to one copy. Probably dropped to $20 by the end of the day."
These purchases were bad for your bum.
"A bicycle that literally fell apart before I made it out of the parking lot."
Not Worth Sitting On
"Joybird brand couch. Was so terrible, we returned it. Still hard to believe, we returned a freaking couch."
Going Nowhere Fast
"A 2000 VW Beetle (used)."
"Biggest piece of sh*t that literally had to have just about everything replaced before 100k miles and would still break down every time you left the driveway to the point where the tow-truck driver knew us on a first-name basis."
"An Oldsmobile Achieva from one of those buy here pay here places. I should have known better, but I was young and thought I was getting a good deal. I had the thing for about 5 months, I drove it for maybe 3 weeks. The rest of the time it was either in the shop, or in my driveway waiting until pay day so I could afford to fix whatever broke on it this week. Eventually told the dealer just take it, I'm not paying for it any more. He said nope, and I will make sure your credit is ruined. I said well you sold me a lemon, do you really want to go this route? He came and took it. Never reported anything to credit. I heard he got sued by several other people who sold sh**ty cars too and eventually went out of business."
"Always amazes me when I see them driving around still, I can only assume there's enthusiasts who just love repairing horribly designed cars."
These Redditors were not convinced what they ingested was edible.
"A box of plain Cheerios. Thought they were honey nut, poured a bowl, was very disappointed."
"If I wanted to taste cardboard, I'd just eat the box."
"A burnt frozen pizza at the air and space museum cafe in DC. I Don't wish that experience on anyone. There are some amazing restaurants in DC, don't settle."
The following electronics just gave off a bad charge.
"Asus Transformer Pad TF700"
"This was one of those early 'high end' Android tablets that was grossly underpowered, and it showed. Thing was slow as sh!t in no time flat. Rookie mistake investing into shiny new tech while they were still working all the bugs out. Think I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-400 for it..."
"macbook pro 2018 13" touchbar. 2 years old and dead (battery). they're asking $300-$400 to change the battery. malfunctioning keyboard with double presses and missing presses. that's a lot of money for bad design."
"Past winter my old room heater broke down and I had to buy a new one. Went to a store nearby and somehow got convinced to buy a very costly heating device.. It's also my fault, since there were some sligthly cheaper options around, but nope. I wanted the expensive one thinking it will make my small room a volcano with little to no effort/cost (that's also what the seller told me). Long story short the device wasn't doing ANYTHING. No significant temperature changes, too much space, a weird noise, and was doubling my previous device in utility cost. I still gloom over those 80 euros.."
Some of my disappointing purchases was clothing, but only because I purchased them online. Unless they are a brand I'm familiar with, I'm usually fine with buying new jeans off of their websites.
But when it comes to graphic tees only available on specialty shops, an M-size shirt is not necessarily the same size as those found in other reputable stores.
I bought a medium sized T-shirt from a boutique store online because I loved the look of the design. But when it arrived, the supposed medium fit me like an XL.
At least I gained a fierce cleaning rag from this impulsive purchase.
We all know the job interview butterflies.
We sit outside the office or wait for the phone call and our foot taps at rapid speed. We run through some rehearsed answers, but worry that they'll ask a slew of things we never even considered. We try not to sweat too much.
Often, it turns out alright. We may not get the job, but we're respectable, give solid answers, and learn a lot about the place we're trying to get hired.
Other times, however, all of our far-fetched worries seem to come to life.
Curious to hear just how bad an interview can go, Redditor UIGrimsen asked:
"What was your worst job interview?"
Plenty of people had some truly bizarre stories to share. Part of these train wrecks were bad luck, and part were the insane antics of the people giving the interview.
But for us, they're simply hilarious.
"I applied for a job in a Planetarium, the interview was conducted in a big dome."
"Problem was, another part of the Planetarium staff was doing fire alarm tests during the interview. The dome amplified the sound so much, it was deafening. The interview staff acted like nothing was going on. We had to shout so we could hear each other."
"My mom raises chickens … and during COVID one of them got sick (not COVID). She had it inside to feed water hourly to try to nurse it back to life. My mom has to run an errand so I'm in charge of this chicken for the afternoon."
"I was on a phone screening with a candidate for a position in my office and this chicken starts having a seizure and dies on the middle of this phone call. I look over and it's laying almost like it was crucified."
"The candidate heard the commotion and asked if everything was ok … Which I relied 'yeah, the chicken just died.' "
"She withdrew her application the next morning."
"1.) I walked in as the HR lady farted"
"2.) it was a small office with no windows"
"3.) I asked her questions about their employee retention rate that she couldn't answer"
"4.) the fart stayed the duration of the interview"
"5.) I hope the fart got the job, because I didn't want it"
A Very Instructive Moment
"Applied to work at a vet clinic. Veterinarian did the interview while spaying a cat, apparently one of the cleanest and quickest surgeries they do. I fainted."
"Was not offered the job (after I woke up)."
Others shared moments when their excitement was deflated instantly. They encountered such closed-minded interviewers that there was almost no need for discussion.
That Bus Perk
"As an interviewee It was when I applied to a job as a Junior programmer and in 5 minutes the guys goes 'look, I'll be honest, there is no job, you can get an internship, no pay, we offer the bus pass' "
Plains, Trains, and Automobiles Later...
"I took vacation days to interview, bought my own plane ticket, and paid for my own hotel. First thing the interviewer said was, 'I have no intention of hiring you. This is just a courtesy because I knew your brother.' I had 8 more hours left in my interview day. It was painful."
"They ended up offering me the position many weeks down the road because they couldn't fill the position. I politely declined and got a very passive aggressively worded survey to fill out explaining why I passed."
There's a Right Answer??
"Wanted to work at H&M, got interviewed by the worst person ever."
"One question was and I am legit not lying, 'What is your favorite color and why?' "
"I answered 'baby blue because it's calming and not too harsh to the eyes.' My interviewer then said Oooh, sorry! Red is what we were looking for. And then proceeded to show me the exit."
Last, some shared the times they arrived for the interview excited and enthusiastic, but quickly learned how out of their league the position was.
These interviews looked more like brutal interrogations from the FBI than job interviews.
All the Principals
"Fresh out of college, I was looking for my first teaching job. I applied at a small district for an elementary school position."
"I walked in, expecting the principal and a few teachers. Instead I had the superintendent of the district, some high-level admin, and every single elementary school principal in the district. Probably 15 people in all. They peppered me with questions for 45 minutes."
"I had zero experience, just my student teaching. I did not get the job."
Shove Your Masters
"Finished up a masters degree in physics. Got a phone interview and was was told it would be an introductory chat. Was confronted with a technical interview panel (over the phone) of 6 PhDs, 4 of which had graduated from the research group I had just left. We walked through my research project in about 10 minutes."
"Then the pain began... felt like I'd only learned kindergarten physics."
An Extremely Intimidating Position
"Got an interview for a job as a floor manager at a gigantic steel foundry. I have some background in metallurgy so I thought it'd fit. It paid $90k and I was qualified resume-wise. I got there, turned out it was a group interview with three other applicants, to hear the pitch."
"If something messes up, the company loses $100,000 (some shockingly high amount, I don't remember if it was exactly 100k) per hour and it's your sole responsibility to fix it. They said you'd have to be on call 24/7 to handle anything that comes up."
"I got to the solo part out of curiosity and the interviewer they put me with said something to the effect of 'I know this job sounds bad, but actually it's even worse.' I was desperate for a job because I didn't land one straight out of college, but I was glad not to hear back from them after the interview..."
Here's hoping you don't have a job interview scheduled and this just amplified your anxiety 1000%. The nice thing to remember is that these horror stories are few and far between.
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Believe it or not, Canadians don't live in igloos or freeze to death all year round. If you go to Germany, it's highly unlikely that every German you meet will be cold and uninviting. Hop over to the United Kingdom and you're not going to run into tons of people with terrible teeth and bad hygeine.
These are called stereotypes, my friends, and it's best you leave them at the door. People were more than willing to strike down some stereotypes about the countries they know and love after Redditor HelloThere577 asked the online community,
"What are some false stereotypes about your country?"
"When most folks envision Scotland, they think of kilts, whisky, bagpipes, and red hair.
All of those things exist (and are common) here.
People might also imagine verdant hillsides, rocky bluffs, and skies that randomly switch between clear and cloudy.
Once again, that's completely accurate.
However, one stereotype which has absolutely no foundation, in reality, is the assumption that Scotsmen are constantly hunting haggis. In fact, haggis-hunting only takes place in February (which is the season for deosil haggis) and May (which is the season for widdershins haggis). For the rest of the year, the haggis is more or less left alone."
"I am originally from Portugal and moved to the United States. Around 80% of the people that I have met thought Portugal was either in South America, owned by Brazil, or a part of Spain. When I first came here it made me really sad."
"If the wildlife hurts or kills you in Australia, it's generally because you are f***** stupid. You are 10000 times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident in Australia than by anything in nature."
This is likely very true, but knowing me, I'd probably be easy pickings for one of those huntsman spiders.
"That we end every sentence with "eh" and drink maple syrup by the gallon and have moose and igloos in our backyards."
You mean... you don't?
Just kidding. Canada is lovely––visit sometime. It's a lovely place.
The United States
"That we always have a shotgun at the ready. A shotgun is a home gun where a pistol is your everyday gun. Your revolver is your dress gun, for special occasions. Then of course your assault rifle is for when you're kicking back and cracking open a cold one with the boys."
"Anything related to The Sound of Music."
Probably gets annoying afer a short while. Great movie, though. Still dreaming about a trip to Salzburg.
"A lot of Americans seem to think we're inbred because we're an island. This is dumb, because it's a very big island (10th biggest in the world), and it's not isolated, we've been invaded, invading, and trading with the mainland for thousands of years."
"That we are car thieves. Crime was widespread in Poland in the 90s but today crime (including theft) rate in Poland is low."
"We do gesticulate a lot, but we definitely don't yell like crazy."
It seems Italian Americans are the ones who could learn a thing or two about being more reserved.
"Iceland. We're not some utopian Disneyland filled with quirky superstitious people that all believe in elves."
Remember: The world is an enormous place filled with people from all walks of life, and they don't take too kindly too stereotypes. Expand your horizons by having conversations with as many people as possible. You'd be surprised how quickly your preconceived notions will vanish.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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