Americans’ views of other countries

PolicyMic: A new Pew Poll conducted near the end of 2013 asked Americans which countries they liked and which ones they didn’t. While the results are colored by ongoing events across the world, they also reflect Americans’ long-standing attitudes towards some of our neighbors.

At the top of America’s favorite-country list is Canada, at 81% approval, presumably because Canada is about as inoffensive and friendly a country as you can imagine. Americans also remained steadfast friends with Great Britain at 79% approval, and were big fans of Japan at 70% approval despite the two nations’ economic competition.

Other countries didn’t fare so well on the favorability index. Israel remains largely liked by Americans at 61%, but if a Gallup poll from 2012 is to be believed, that’s down from 68% in 2011 and 71% in 2012 (Gallup’s numbers seem higher than Pew’s, so the spread may be less significant). But it’s now more widely disliked than France at 26% and 24% respectively. The ratings have a partisan spin, with 74% of Republicans and just 55% of Democrats approving of Israel this year. [Continue reading…]

None of these numbers are particularly surprising, but for me the most striking one is a 52% unfavorable view of Mexico.

I’m inclined to assume that American views of Mexico and of Mexicans are firmly intertwined and thus that this unfavorable view of America’s southern neighbor is mirrored in views about Mexicans who live this side of the border.

I used to live in California and was at that time a legal alien but like the many illegal aliens in that state, I was more struck by the fact that we were being branded as aliens rather than which might be deemed legal or illegal.

Moreover, since I was not visibly alien (so long as I kept my mouth shut), the greatest insult in being branded this way was clearly being imposed on the people who were visibly indigenous to this continent.

Whether it’s in North America or the Middle East, the settlers have no right to pass judgement on who belongs on these lands.

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