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Where are you from?
As a foreigner here I always get this question at bars. Some idiot asks me "where are you from?". My answer has always been "the restroom". You should see the expression on their face. What is it with idiots in this country? Are they so insecure about losing their position?
As a contrasting example, I am sitting in a bar in Boston. There's these two guys from Scotland that sit next to me. Know what they said to me? "what brings you to boston?" we got talking and I found out there was a great movie I have been missing out on. Europeans seem to have 1000x more intelligence than the average american. I think it's because of religion here. what do you think?

By lafunguy8184
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55 comments

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7

Calling an American an idiot for simply asking you a question is equally idiotic. It’s a huge place and it is not often I meet someone from somewhere else. Perhaps I just want to know about you and your travels. Maybe I’m curious to know why you are here: job, vacation, family, or millions of other possibilities.
I’m not sure why you find the question so rude and idiotic. My guess it’s partially cultural and partly you just don’t like Americans. Americans will often ask each other where they are from with our accents. How does the question relate to our insecurity with position? Most of your post is illogical with conclusions based without causation. I find it ironic that you are concluding Europeans are 1000x more intelligent.
Your post makes about as much sense as people having faith in religion.

darthfaja Level 7 Sep 20, 2018

Definitely agree.

6

When I lived in Seattle, I wrote at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill... which was a fairly diverse part of town One block up the hill from Downtown Seattle. Thousands of tourists visited this Starbucks every year. I heard accents and languages there all the time. I always felt it was a great experience getting to know the people, who they were, where they were from, what brought them to Seattle/America... Occasionally, I got to direct them to some of the more "local" places in the area to visit that tourists often miss but are well worth the visit.

I met a lot of US college students who traveled the country with their stuff, spent the night on someone's couch, and then moved on to another town. I lived close by, and could share a couch from time to time, and that was a lot of fun as well.

Now if they thought I was an idiot for wanting to learn more about them, then that's on them. I took care to make sure I didn't take up more time if they were otherwise busy, but most of the people loved asking me about Seattle and all the things they could do while they're 'here.' I loved hearing about where they were from. In some cases, I'd even been in their neck of the woods.

Our exchanges were quite 'enlightening.' Hell, we even discussed politics sometimes (ours and theirs).

Saying you're from "the restroom" is clever, but what if these people generally want to know more about you and your point of origin? Is that really so "stupid"?

Benthoven Level 8 Sep 20, 2018

Well said!

Agree.

6

I am a bit of a foreigner myself, with a little accent. I have studied many languages and love trying to figure out where people's accents originate. I have no problem with being asked hat question. It's a conversation starter and a way to get to know people. People like comparing and contrasting their country with another. Culture is different in different countries and it gives you an idea about where the person is coming from. Where are you from that makes you so reticent?

6

I think it is a somewhat ungracious attitude toward a country that you are a guest in. My experience of American people are that they are generally charming and very friendly, especially in Boston where I lived for a short while. Being from UK as am I, I am sure you have encountered the same types of people but will greet you with a grimace instead of a smile. As for religion, I suspect you totally misunderstand the religious topography of Notth America. I am also not sure what position you are suggesting they are losing. That would be a good conversation to have to engage more deeply with the American psyche.

5

Perhaps the question is being used as a conversation starter and a seeking of common ground that can lead into other discussion. Your self-righteous indignation at a question that is clearly not meant to offend is a serious overreaction. Everyone is from somewhere - get over yourself.

GwenC Level 7 Sep 20, 2018
5

"where are you from" is in my opinion, a fairly common question here in Florida.
Most people that live here came from somewhere else.
It's not a stupid, nor insulting question.
What I don't get, was your statement, " What is it with idiots in this country? Are they so insecure about losing their position?".
Exactly what position do you mean?

4

Europe is a continent of ~3.9 million miles made up of 50 different countries with more on its borders and has a population of roughly ~740 million people.
The United States is a country of ~3.8 million miles made up of 1 country bordering 2, with a population of ~325 million people.

Are you surprised that it's more common in America to ask where you're from than it is in Europe? I'd say stupidity has no nationality or religion.

4

If I ever ask someone that question it comes from legit curiosity about the world and all the cultures and people who inhabit it. I love learning about people and shit like that. I guess it just depends on the inflection and undertones they use.

Sbaren00 Level 4 Sep 20, 2018
4

Wow. Just ... wow.

4

I have traveled a lot in Europe and elsewhere, I got asked this all the time. It’s, as people are pointing out, a conversation starter. My ex was from Brasil and he loved this question, as do I when I travel.

Kriptikos Level 6 Sep 20, 2018
3

So, let me get this right: Someone is interested enough in having a conversation with you so they ask your origins and you immediately lump them into the category of being an idiot?

I travel to GBR regularly -- England and Scotland mostly --and I have been asked at least 100 times my origins when the locals hear me speak. The same has happened in Norway, Japan, Central American countries, and all the islands of the Caribbean.
By your logic, all those people are "idiots" for asking me.

You have an awful attitude (and a bit of a chip on your shoulder).
You are certainly not living up to your user name "funguy" and should be renamed "arrogantasshat" for clarity.

I have a suspicion that this post was just a rant to insult USA/Americans in general.

If you don't like the people and the culture.....you are free to put your ass on a plane and leave.

3

When I'm out and I meet people I always ask about them, start a conversation you know! To say that we're stupid, now that's just stupid on you! Shows your narrow mindedness! Think carefully when you post on here with the majority being American! I always thought that this site was open to like minded people not for this kind of nonsense!

3

I am an American by choice and I have an Australian accent (still, after 30+ years of living in the USA) and when I visit Australia, I get asked if I am an American. So, people have been asking me this question for 30+ years. Sometimes I am happy to oblige and sometimes not so much, but I have never, not once, considered the people asking, as idiots. A tad harsh I would say.
Idiocy or intelligence are not strictly limited to Americans....there are idiots and intelligent people all over the world.
I think that the influence of religion in the U.S. has certainly influenced the way that many people view life, just as it has throughout the rest of the world.
Yes, here in America, there are many things that could be improved upon but again, that could be said about any country in the world.
I have no idea why you see the world as you do and that is your business but I hope, for your peace of mind, that at some point you can see the the people of America in a more positive or even less negative light.
My experience has been that there are far more fair, curious, intelligent and aware Americans than there are of the closed and ignorant kind. Seek them out. You won't regret it.

3

No, where are you from? But where are your people from?

??

JeffB Level 6 Sep 20, 2018
3

Tell them to learn proper English and not end a sentence with a preposition. The question should be from where do you come? Correcting someone else's grammar in their language will shock them. Haha.

Skeptic66 Level 7 Sep 20, 2018

@AmyLynn I teach writing and correct that error every time. I speak that way and know a number of people who do. Better to say most Americans do not speak that way. It is not pretentious at all. Look how Trump and his epigones speak.

Ok, where are you from, bitch? ?

@Skeptic66 @AmyLynn theres not actually any real rule about not ending a sentence in a preposition in English. This is a common misconception but it's a latin rule whose application to english was totally made up by pretentious people to sound smart. Sometimes it's unavoidable and when a preposition gets used that way I think you'll find it's almost always functioning as an adverb instead.

What is proper English, after all the language is basically a hybrid of French, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, a smattering of Indian sub-continent, and Classical Greek amongst other derivatives. Is there a uniquely formulated type of English? Perhaps we can ask people to stop using words such as Bungalow, kayak and regality. Just a thought. The term, if we are being pedantic should be ‘correct English’, not ‘proper English’. That sounds colloquial and uneducated!

3

It is not clear why people showing an interest in you is so offensive but if you are so impressed with the intelligence of Europeans, move there. BTW, there are as many religious people, if not more, in Europe than there are in the US but don't let that stop you.

OCJoe Level 6 Sep 20, 2018

Ooooh, that sounds like the comments I have heard about go back home if I find something wrong with these United States of America ... Really?

3

Sir , they are asking u where are u from , not telling u " get the hell out of here ".
I have heard both in my life , and there is a huge difference ?‍♀️?

Pralina1 Level 8 Sep 20, 2018
3

I lived in Mexico for a year, and many people asked me where I was from. It never offended me in the least, and I was flattered that they took interest.

palex Level 5 Sep 20, 2018
3

I'm British. I think that the question 'Where are you from?' is a perfectly okay and to be expected question when a foreigner (with an accent) in another country. But, on the other hand, I totally understand that if you are being asked this question LOADS of times then, yes, it must be bloody irritating. And it depends on how you are being asked the question...it depends on the tone of the question. I'm not sure that religion is a factor in you being asked that question, at least not obviously so.

RICKYT Level 4 Sep 20, 2018
3

Honestly Religion is very strong in Europe as well. It just so happens those two Scottish fellas were very nice and not basic morons. However every 1st world country is more or like the same we just always see the grass is greener on the other side. No matter where you go there will always be racists and bigots and religious fanatics.

DeafOne Level 3 Sep 20, 2018
2

I live on the Isle of Wight, UK. I was born in Wiltshire (UK) and moved to London when I was about a year old. I left the London area 47 years later. I have a London accent, south London to be precise. I don't know if it's the same round the world but there are nuances and subtleties to accents in Britain. The super trained ear can tell the difference not only between different areas of Britain, most of us can do that, but variations in the same area, there are different London accents for example.
I do get the 'where are you from' question on the Island, especially during the holidays, as my accent isn't local and they think I'm on holiday.
I've been to America a great many times and I certainly don't think Europeans are more intelligent, there is an equal spread of dimbo's round the world. Europeans have a longer history as nations, usually involving being at war with each other for most of the past two thousand years, but I found Americans, if anything, to be more polite and inquisitive rather than a variation of less intelligent.
Something I have also found around the world is that the vast majority are welcoming and enjoy your being interested in them and if you can learn a few bits of the local lingo, such as 'Please' and 'Thank You' then so much the better........with the possible exception of Parisians lol

ipdg77 Level 8 Sep 20, 2018

This is common in most countries. When I grew up in France and French was all but mu primary language outside the home, I could tell you which part of France the TV news announcers came from by their pronunciation of words. My last wife, who was Slovak, could tell which part of Slovakia people she met over here were from just by their way of speaking Slovak. And there were definite class distinctions in how she reacted to those from some areas than others. And we here in the States certainly have hundreds of differing accents, not only state to state, but specific areas and even cities within the states. I live in Lancaster, PA, home of the Pennsylvania Dutch and often get asked where I am from because Even though I was born here, I grew up overseas and never quite developed the accent despite living here for 50 years. Never bothers me.

2

So where you from ? smile009.gif

Rudy1962 Level 9 Sep 20, 2018
2

Oh, I get asked, "Where are you from?", a lot, A LOT!!!! As a kid, I didn't get asked so much because I grew up in a very multicultural environment and went to school with kids from all backgrounds. As an adult, I get people wanting to know where I'm from. Now living here in Alberta, when I get asked, I always say I'm from here. Then they asked me, but before that? And I'd say I'm from Vancouver. LOL. I'm sure that's not what they were expecting me to say. I know they aren't being malicious though nor are they threatened by immigrant minorities. It's because I have what they consider an exotic look. That is not to say I haven't experienced racism spewed directly in my face, however.

Oh, and obviously I'm not American, and I don't know how intelligence is connected to asking someone where they are from. But I do understand the frustration of being asked that all the time.

graceylou Level 8 Sep 20, 2018
2

What do I think? Here is what I think, since you've asked...... If you dislike Americans that much and the average is below your standard, WTF are you doing here????? Go back where you came from (don't want to know), learn how to be more graceful and then and only then come back.....or not

IamNobody Level 8 Sep 20, 2018
2

I agree with the several other replies that you shouldnt automatically take offense to the question. Yes it's a bit clumsy that your foreignness is the first thing people want to address but superficial elements like that and the weather is all people can think of to start a convo sometimes, and ignorance does not equal hate. I know it must be tiresome to answer over and over but unless they say it with a palpable degree of contempt, disdain, bewilderment or incredulity they're probably just genuinely curious about you as a person. Try to be patient with people like that; its likely they've been in their white people bubble long enough that their experience with you will heavily influence their overall attitudes on people of color in general.

I think the generally more bucolic attitudes of Americans (and the extreme ignorance of many) is due to several factors. Being more religious in the midwest and bible belt is surely one of them, plus the history of jim crow segregation in the south and economic de facto segregation in major metro areas of the north, plus the fact that we're a giant melting pot that people of every culture seem to assimilate into, rather than having many ancient cultures within cheap travelling distance means everyone comes to us, not the other way around. Wondering and asking about where you're from is the closest many of us will get to being able to afford to travel out of the country, if only in our mind's eye. If they're not being rude about it try to humor them if you can, you may wind up having a nice conversation or aiding in the destruction of their unpalatable ignorance.

Wurlitzer Level 8 Sep 20, 2018

Also if it makes you feel any better thats a fairly common opener amongst white folks as well. As a southerner if I found myself up north or out west Id expect to be asked where Im from quite frequently too.

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