The Rest Of The World Thinks Americans Should Be Ashamed

Reputation is the general opinion that people have about someone or something, and although Americans have a very high opinion of themselves, and this country, that is simply not the case around the world. Even setting aside the event in Charleston this week, it is easy to understand why, like a few astute Americans, people around the world do not have a very high opinion of a nation they rightly describe as structurally violent and racist.

If there is only one thing the world has learned about Americans, it is that besides being inordinately racist, they typically resort to violence to achieve their goals at home and abroad. That being the case, there is nothing un-American about the Confederate racist who gunned down nine innocent African Americans in a place they considered a sanctuary; their church. Violence, particularly gun violence, against people of color and to solve differences is explicitly American, and as the world sees it, shameful.

Whether Americans believe it or not, people from around the world and outside of America’s immediate sphere of influence get a very accurate picture of this country because they are not fed by America’s corporate conservative media. The latest race-driven attack on a specific group of people was not so much a shock to other nations, although it was shockingly brutal to many, but a reminder that Americans as a group are gun-addicted and steeped in racism. In countries that have strict gun laws in place, firearm violence is virtually “unheard of,” and like this author’s colleagues from around the globe, they wonder why, after so many mass shootings, there is a fanatical gun culture panting for more firearm ownership.

Some of the assessments of the sad state of affairs in America, affairs that stain the nation’s reputation, are not only telling about the American people, they show just how backward and savage this country really is. For example, people in China compared the United States to lawless Somalia and cited racial discrimination as fueling the level and frequency of violence. 

Claire Taylor of Gun Free South Africa said, “The USA is completely out of step with the rest of the world. We’ve tightened our gun laws and have seen a reduction.” Taylor is not entirely correct; America may be out of step with civilized societies, but it is completely in step with lawless countries like Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq where gun proliferation and prejudice have produced a nation that a neighboring country accurately portrayed as a “structurally violent.”

That incredibly astute observation was courtesy of a Mexico City newspaper, La Jornada, that wrote that “the U.S. has become a structurally violent state where force is frequently used domestically and internationally to resolve differences. In this context, the unchecked and even paranoid citizen armament is no coincidence. Such a phenomenon reflects the feeling of extensive sectors about the supposed legitimacy of violent methods.” The paper’s editors mean extensive sectors such as Republicans in Congress, gun fanatics in the racist Confederacy, the white supremacist and militia movement, and much of the nation’s law enforcement community.

The La Jornada observation was particularly prescient in describing Americans’ reliance on the use of force to resolve differences both against other Americans who are not white, and other nations (that are also not white). Even though President Barack Obama changed the nation’s international relations by using diplomacy instead of force to resolve its differences, he is virtually powerless to stop white Americans with guns from killing African Americans due to the prevalence of racial animus in the population. America is structurally violent and if Republican warmongers had their way, it would exude its violence all over the brown people in the Middle East. American racism is not confined to animus toward African Americans, but they are the primary victims of this country’s race-driven bigotry; bigotry that confounds other people around the world.

An attorney in Tokyo, Hiroko Takimoto, said America’s “Racially motivated killings are simply something Japanese as a people cannot understand.” The Charleston killings “devastated” a Tokyo University political science student, Yuka Christine Koshino, who had previously participated in racism awareness campaigns while studying at the University of California at Berkeley. Koshino said “those interactions had given her hope that the situation [in America] was improving. The shootings shocked me.”

Koshino was either shocked because she has not paid attention to the news from America over the past six years, or she was naïve to believe that “racism awareness campaigns” are of any value in a deeply racist nation like America; obviously they hold no value whatsoever. Teaching people that racism exists and how to identify it is not now or ever going to make it disappear. In fact in a country like America ‘racism awareness campaigns’ will only expose the high level of racial animus plaguing the nation; particularly in the former Confederacy, the conservative media, and of course the Republican Party and all its iterations.

The Charleston racially-motivated massacre did surprise some people around the world who, like many Americans, thought an African American President meant the nation’s dark days of naked racism were history. Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif, representing Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, said the church shooting shocked many. He said, “People all over the world believed that racism had gone from the U.S. when Barack Obama was elected to lead the superpower, twice. But the Charleston shooting has reminded us that in fact, it still remains… and can explode at any time, like a terrorist act by an individual.”

American racism is not necessarily unique, and it is true that other countries, such as Britain do struggle with racism and prejudice against outsiders, but that racism does not result in regularly occurring mass shootings. People around the world rightly acknowledge that the massacres in America are a result of a Constitution that protects the right to keep and bear arms, but not protect people of color’s lives. A Canadian resident said, “Guns are in their constitution. I’m pretty sure no one else has anything similar. I never understand why they think gun violence is going to solve anything.” It is simply because this is America and gun violence is as much a part of the culture as the racism that pervades the former Confederacy.

The Charleston shootings reinforced the opinion of the British people that “America has too many guns and too many racists.” In fact in a British newspaper on the front page the headline read, “America’s shame.” The paper’s editors said that “America seems to have moved backward since Obama’s election” and that the “obscene proliferation of guns only magnifies tragedies like the racially-motivated church shooting.” What the newspaper’s editors obviously fail to understand is that the racism rearing its Confederate head of late never went away although they are correct that the President’s election did incite racists to come out of the closets with their guns locked and loaded looking for a race war.

What the British people, and world community for that matter, fail to comprehend is that Americans have no sense of shame over the increasing frequency of mass and racially-motivated shootings. It is just part of what it means to be American, and exceptional. It is why law enforcement continues shooting unarmed African Americans with veritable impunity and why conservatives are scrambling to explain away the Charleston shooter as ‘disturbed.’

Dylann Roof is not disturbed, he is a typical American gun fanatic and a Confederate racist; a product of his American South upbringing.  Except for a relatively small segment of the population, most Americans think his actions are nothing to be ashamed of no matter what the world thinks because this is America and whatever happens here is exceptional.

54 Replies to “The Rest Of The World Thinks Americans Should Be Ashamed”

  1. Money, that’s what it all boils down to. Fear and being ‘murkin means you spend your cash on stuff to make you more ‘murkin and less fearful. That’s why gun sales sky rocket after shootings like this. The NRA is not a gun owners association, it is the organized propaganda wing of the gun manufacturers of ‘murka and abroad.

  2. So are the people around the world not aware of the disrespect our President and his family have endured for the past six plus years? Have they been kept in the dark about the number of people, especially black people or people of color, who have been assaulted or murdered in this country?

    I’m not sure how much longer America can present itself as the Leader of the Free World.

  3. So the people around the world have been kept in the dark all these years? They must know about the many death threats against the President, or the constant lies from the Republican Party, started by Mitch McConnell, et al, since the night of the President’s Inauguration Party in 2008.

  4. When your in another country and people know your an American, they’re curious and will ask you questions about events reported in the news. I was in England after Katrina, and I was mortified by some of the questions I was asked. They weren’t being rude, they just couldn’t understand how we could neglect our own people that way. I’m glad I’m at home for this, I’d wouldn’t leave my room till I was heading for home. Totally shameful!

  5. As long as one part of the American political system, the republican party, embrace racism nothing will ever change. It is time to start shaming their asses

  6. It’s been 11 years since I permanently left the US after becoming tired of GWB’s war-mongering. Without being continually softened-up by the media it’s much more obvious how absurd life has become there. And it’s no wonder Americans are so politically divided – you are either educated, worldly and caring enough to recognize that you are headed in the wrong direction – or you are not.

  7. You can shame the GOP until hell freezes over. It won’t help. They have no shame, morals, common decency, or humanity.

  8. Tell us Paul, What’s it like there?

    History will tell:
    “Dred Scott turned People into Property. Citizens United turned Property into People.”

  9. Well for what it is worth World- there is much about the U.S. of A. that makes me very ashamed.

    Ashamed enough to keep trying to get everyone to improve.

    My Country- Right Or Wrong. If Right, kept Right.
    If Wrong, made Right. And the making it right would be challenging to Hercules.

  10. I have posted it before here, I have relatives in Europe, and they have very negative views of Americans, now not ALL Americans, but they feel that the people are arrogant, racist, do not value anything except money, and they are deeply disturbed by the way the elderly, children, and infirm are treated in our country. I tell them, I know all about it and it is shameful. The question I get the most is “Why don’t you normal ones all band together and fight this??”

  11. It seems the RW attacks Obama for the rise in terrorism, but they dont realize how their indoctrinated racism is no different than the hatred indoctrinated by Isil, generationally. The RW still cant get over the election of a black man in America. That was Never supposed to happen in America, according to the 20th century raised racists.

  12. In order to change, enough people have to work on changing it. If the voting numbers of 2014 were any indication of the apathy in our country, it is not too promising.

  13. About 30 years ago, when i was in (my country´s equivalent of) High School, I took Political Philosophies as a subject. Here we learned about the very controversial norwegian sociologist and founder of the Institute of Peace Studies at the University of Oslo, Johan Galtung, his work as an International peace-negotiater, and his philosophies.

    One of the theories he had (more than 30 years ago) was that there were two countries on earth which could not exist without an outside enemy; USA and Israel. Without an outside enemy for politicians and the public to focus their attention on, they would basically implode in internal differences and fighting. (Sorry, can´t find any references to this, so it´s based on my own memory).

    This has been in the back of my mind ever since, as I though it absolutely horrendeous at the time. Having followed american politics and society closely since, I´m however now convinced Mr. Galtung´s theory was spot …

  14. I believe the evangelical xtian hypocrites also need to be exposed and shamed for their hateful beliefs that their way is the only way. They drive the jackass repugs in the red state governments.

  15. Im an Aussie, my daughter is travelling USA at the moment, the first thing on the tourist agenda a firing range and the use of the big guns, (sounds typical the first thing guns)we have firing range but you have to be a member and licensed, a former Prime minister changed the law on gun ownership and everybody that had one had to hand it in. that was after a massacre where 20 people were killed, a big protest against the handing in of the guns, but it worked, I have been reading a lot about America and their feelings on guns and the racism and how are you the normal people going to change or heal your beautiful country, it seems to be almost an impossibility, I don’t know much at all about your politics but Obama seems to be a man against violence and not in a hurry to send your men to war, which is good, on reading the comments here, I see there are good people but it will take a lot more, scary where the US will end up in the future another country like the middle eastern countries,

  16. Our huge public threat isn’t our children being exposed to cigarettes or second handed smoke. It’s the NRA & Republican lies. They don’t care about Americans they pretend to represent. We will have to continue fighting against unbelievable amounts of cash. The threat to public health is the NRA, Republicans, Kochedassed, Teapartier jackasses & the jackasses that support them. Shouldn’t they be declared a public health threat number one?

  17. yesterday I commented on an article on Charleston and got such vile responses from RW trolls I am still feeling the ‘yuck’ factor this morning. There are people of such extreme hate in the US that their mind is a bottomless pit – they are armed and very dangerous – one guy yesterday said he buys 2 guns per year & has a house full of guns, and seemed to think HE was the epitome of the “civilization” that would need to be re-established after his global war against lefties – with such wonderful Americans just itching for a war, what is the future of this country?. Hate is it’s other name, yet I know so many intelligent, caring, wonderful people who have no guns – how does the country get control of the nuts ? We need to disarm, as the world’s other people’s realize full well, but how ?
    I can see that an attempt to remove the guns from the these people would simply create the very fight they are itching for.
    Why do I think “where is there a different planet I could move to?”.

  18. My family lives in the UK, and are totally bewildered about the treatment of our President. My niece watches Fox sometimes, and is truly disgusted. The lack of respect for a man who is highly intelligent, well educated and doing his best to perform a difficult job to the best of his ability is shocking. Of course, the Brits recognized the lack of intelligence, and gravitas of W immediately, so maybe they are not so shocked after all. The gop prefers a dumb, rich, white person in the WH over a highly intelligent, peace seeking person.

  19. The ONLY way there will be any meaningful gun laws passed in this violent country, is if a group of right wingers, holding a meeting, are shot like the people in Charleston. Until it touches the people who are gung ho for selling guns to every nutjob, there will be no changes made. Print in every newspaper how much each person in DC receives from the NRA, so we can be enlightened to how much goes to which puppet to vote the NRA way.They are creating this hellhole right here in this country.

  20. Capitalism is ‘murkin, Gindy.

    If you don’t want to worship it, the true God, then move to Commie China!

    You can pry my gun and Bible from my cold, dead hands.

    And Benghazi….

  21. Rho, the answer is both. There is no doubt gerrymandering and voter suppression played a huge role in 2014 elections, along with apathy.

  22. Which explains Bush, Cruz, Rubio, Christie, Trump. Graham, Walker, Perry, Santorum(Dagwood Bumstead), too many to remember the clown brigade, you know who the haters are.

  23. That has happened to me before when commenting on gun control. One response to me actually threatened to “find me, rape and gun my family down”. (after claiming to be a Christian) This is the greatest threat to a free America. My comment was regarding the safety of my children with so many gunnuts out there. They were promised a “Revolution” if they bought more guns urged by the nra.

  24. I think this is something you should turn over to the USAG Office, USAG Lorretta Lynch. These GOP Members of Congress should be investigated and held accountable Events secretly held Pres,Obama Inaugaration,how to get rid of the Pres.

    The Guest List:
    Frank Luntz – GOP Minister of Propaganda
    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
    Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)
    Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA),
    Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX),
    Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX),
    Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)
    Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA),
    Sen. Jim DeMint (SC-R),
    Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ-R),
    Sen. Tom Coburn (OK-R),
    Sen. John Ensign (NV-R) and
    Sen. Bob Corker (TN-R).
    Non-lawmakers present Newt Gingrich

  25. This is the list on Innaugaration night, one person spoke out on this meeting
    “Secret GOP meeting of President Obamas 2009 Innaugaration”

    The Guest List:
    Frank Luntz – GOP Minister of Propaganda
    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)
    Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)
    Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA),
    Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX),
    Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX),
    Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)
    Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA),
    Sen. Jim DeMint (SC-R),
    Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ-R),
    Sen. Tom Coburn (OK-R),
    Sen. John Ensign (NV-R) and
    Sen. Bob Corker (TN-R).
    Non-lawmakers present Newt Gingrich

  26. Veronica,
    It isn’t only those who do not own guns who they attack with their weapons of words.
    I am an adult male, a business and home owner.
    I also own a few guns.
    I am ABSOLUTELY FOR tighter restrictions and controls for gun ownership.
    I fully agree with others that there are those who should never be allowed in the vicinity of a gun, let alone possess one.

    Yet, I get attacked from BOTH SIDE by those with a pro or anti gun agenda.
    The pro gunners attack me as a traitor who owns guns yet knows that some very realistically need to be prevented from access to them.

    The there are the others, the anti gunners who attack me because I own guns.
    They are as blind as the other ones in that they see me as a whipping boy ONLY because I own guns.

    In my home, my guns have not been out of their cases for several years, even on those rare days when I am angry about something or the other.

    BTW-I’m also attacked because, as a white man, I enjoy dating interracially.

  27. …I’ve been deeply ashamed of this country since the “election” of Le Shrub…
    …I think that’s what caused me to become severely depressed…

  28. The world knows this is evil, racist barbaric Nation. Very soon there will be sanctions place on us for our human rights abuses it just a matter of time!

  29. Thanks for your sensible response. I hope you and people like you will keep everything in balance because there is an undercurrent of pure evil in this society. They will ‘get’ you also for dating interracially – you are a traitor to their small minded perception of the world – funny how the ‘Archie Bunker’ people are so predictable, you have to laugh.
    We can but hope that the current crop of sensible, caring kids manage to keep away from falling into that pit of hatred, and there is a loving, tolerant future country in store for our grandchildren.

  30. Any Australian who tries to shame America on it’s race and gun issues should take a good look at how white Australia treated/treats its Indigenous (Aboriginal) Australians and their current policy and treatment of Asylum Seekers. EADC Australia.

  31. Listen! heres the truth! you talk to LIBERALS about how they feel about america and you’ll get 2 different answers! MOST caucasian liberals will be upset how corrupt the system is or that we need social justice, you ask that SAME question to MOST A.A. and they’ll tell you they HATE this country! Lets tell the damn TRUTH! A.A. experiences and history with america has been nothing but RAPE- SLAUGHTER and SLAVERY! think about it! this country was LITERALLY built on SLAVERY! and 200 yrs later A.A are still being hunted down like ANIMALS! I love my caucasian liberal brothers & sisters but YOU have a completely different view of america than A.A DO! I wrote a flaming rant here about how america should be DAMNED! and the crickets were in full force! I’m just saying out loud what MANY other people are too afraid to say! The USA shouldn’t be a world leader! this country is INSANE! just look at how we treat each other! we LEAD the world in GUN violence! ENOUGH SAID?l

  32. @Carl, THANK YOU, the usa and israel are 2 countries that play their citizens like fools! The republicans 3 biggest fund raisers are HATE- FEAR and whoring themselves out to corporate america! As for israel??! netanyahu needs to be running a fruit stand!

  33. That’s THE WRONG flag! That should be A CONFEDERATE flat with “SHAME” over it!!
    The American flag IS THE CURE for that.
    The shooter wasn’t generally pictured with American flags. And he WAS pictured with flags (in his OWN social media, before the end).

  34. America will continue to present itself as the Leader of the Free World as long as they can fool the American people into believing that, because no one, NO ONE, outside these borders believes that anymore.

    Instead, America is seen as a bully, thanks to the elite that drive oil for war and sanctimoniously claim to be for democracy while denying those same rights and privileges of a democracy to their own people.

    The United States of America is a proud eagle with mighty wings spread. But a closer look reveals that the poor bird is picking at the maggots destroying it from the inside out.

    One thing I have to say about Americans, though…they’re good at fooling themselves, smiling, as they believe all is well while their world is crumbling down all around them.

  35. The first word,Reputation,in this article kind of says it all. It means that America has the reputation of being racist and hate-filled. Its bad but we must not succumb to defeatist and anti-American sentiments because the idea of America still exists. The Roofs of our country do not represent the American idea. We need to practice love and kindness. The thing I worry about is how we get a person like this killer 150 years after the Civil War. It is passed down generation to generation. How can we stop this?

  36. Speaking as an Australian, to an extent I agree with you; however, a couple of things need to be noted. Our present (Conservative) government was elected with a supposed “mandate” to ‘Stop the Boats’, bedazzling voters with lies, xenophobia and misrepresentation of foreign refugees that led to what amounts to the imprisonment of many of those fleeing persecution. Please note, that this is in violation of eleven international laws and treaties to which Australia is signatory. Likewise, there has been an history of abuse directed at our Aboriginal peoples and minorities. A couple of diffeenrnce from the American experience have been that, over time, we have made efforts to change; beyond our massive change of gun control laws in 1996 (under a Conservative government to boot), which seem to have eliminated mass shootings for the last 20 years and nearly halved our violent crime rate, we had our nations’ then-leader Kevin Rudd formally apologise to the Aboriginals for our treatment…

  37. One thing we are seeing in today’s Australian society is an adaptation of many American-Conservative influenced policies, such as cuts to social welfare, a raising of retirement age (up to 70), with tax cuts to supposed job creators such as Gina Rhineheart (who apparently needs a billion dollars in tax credits and rebates because…rich); likewise, we have had our treasurer Joe Hockey saying increasing petrol tax won’t affect the poor since the poor don’t own cars, or those who do, don’t drive very much anyway (seriously, you can’t make this stuff up); in short, we seem to have elected a Republican government. My policital discontent aside, the most noteable difference seems to be that, as John Stewart said, America will look deep into its’ abyss of racial tension and hatred and do absolutely nothing about it (his language was less polite). Australia has screwed up, and done some shameful things, but, over time, we try to bring change. I can but pray America will face her demons….

  38. I AM ashamed. Our country has seriously gone off the rails, and I completely blame the politicians (primarily Republicans) who have been bought and paid for by a handful of uber-wealthy men. What is happening here is why my husband and I are seriously looking at moving to Europe. We’ve narrowed it down to Portugal or Italy.

  39. I have read most of the comments and agree with almost all of them. We have a problem in this country and the problems are being fueled by the RW.
    Before we can control racism, we need to know what is driving it. I feel we will never eradicate racism because it has become part of the DNA of many people including some Blacks. Therefore in my opinion since we cannot eradicate it, we can minimize it to the point where it is hardly noticable.
    Racism started in America after it was decided to eliminate Indentured Servants (that included both whites and Blacks) and replace it with Blacks as slaves only. Laws were written by the so called colonies to make this happen. After the start of slavery, the Black slaves had to be controlled through many laws, fear, terror, and intimidations. The laws that had the most effect was the one where a man can do anything with his property without consequences. This in effect cause the culture that is still feed racism. We need new tough laws correct this…

  40. Scarsdale, sadly even the loss of a bunch of Conservatives will not wake these people up! They are too dense to see reality, in fact the karma of that incident will only enrage the red eyed gunpowder greed beasts that walk our streets with impunity. The Ammosexuals will murder even more innocents. Only the abolishment of the NRA, and the REPEAL or significant re-writing for MODERN TIMES!!! of the 2nd Amendment will even put a dent in the cowardice that infects a good portion of Americans. VOTE DEMOCRAT across the board!

  41. The Kochroaches recipe for getting elected-
    Keep the public divided with social issues. Simple to do and this keeps the Koch owned politicians from having to open their mouths and having to formulate real plans to fix the major problems in our country. All the Rudumicans want is more and more money and to make it where the middle class is stripped of all power or chance to getit by education. Don’t believe me, look at what those horses asses are doing in the republican run states. Soon, the only people who will be educated, will be the wealthy class. Vote them out! We have to do the cleaning up. Start by voting their asses out of office. Want real gun legislation, then we have to have politicians who aren’t owned by the NRA and any of the corporations. Don’t hand me the mess about the corporations make jobs-yes they do, but mostly they make jobs in other countries and pay off our politicians.

  42. I’m a native born US citizen who spent about 10 years living abroad in Europe & South America and I experienced firsthand the bewilderment of foreign nationals about us Americans. I often felt truly embarrassed. While their countries provided them with universal healthcare, free university, good mass transit, reliable social services and a relatively safe gun free society, I was hard pressed to explain how it was that our country, so much larger and economically richer, could be so backward. Bernie Sanders is so right to extol the virtues of i.e. Denmark and to urge us to radically change our country. Otherwise not only will we continue to suffer as no other inhabitants of the G7 nations do, but we also will continue to be looked upon as uncouth, uncivilized or just plain stupid.

  43. Good point. You´ll find the vile, hateful haters, with no life and only the computer to keep them company, in all societies and countries on earth. The difference, – in my country they´re just vile, hateful loosers that nobody takes seriously – they can rant and spew their hate as much as they like in online-forums, no sane people read them anyway. While in the US of A these loosers are armed to the teeth, ready to start a civil war. For me as a Scandinavian and European, having actually lived in the US for a while, I can´t help but be thankful for not having to live in America at these times.

  44. America is the greatest country in the world because of this article. The fact that people can write about how much it suck here but continue to live in its protections and comforts. I mean we are protected by the greatest military in the world protecting our right to think what ever we like. I have been all over the world and there are many fascinating cultures out there to experience. However everyone of those places has dark parts of its past but the people are proud anyways, even in countries where people don’t have the right to complain about their country for fear of prison or even death. Well that’s something we don’t have to worry about yet in this country. I say yet because we still have a first amendment, at least until someone gets offended by it. I challenge anyone who complains about America go to Iran or China and complain about their government and policies. American wont suck as much to you then. I’m a proud American and I wasn’t even born here.

  45. I blame the people because they refuse to do their jobs and vote the bums out. America is great because we the people hold the power but refuse to act on it. We blame politicians we put in office and then refuse to kick out when they piss us off. We draft the team but complain when they lose year after year. We had one revolution and then created a government that would allow for a complete change in leadership without firing a single shot. But we fail to do so.

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