In this course, we’re learning more about anti-American and pro-American sentiment. We’re also exploring some scholarship on the issue. But as students from a new generation (some call your age-group “Generation Z”), I’m curious on how you personally define anti-Americanism. I’m also curious how you define the flip-side, pro-Americanism. Please post your thoughts on this. How do you define these key terms? Feel free to draw from any prior experiences you may have had in addition to outside readings on the issue.

How Do We Define Anti-Americanism? What about Pro-Americanism?

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15 thoughts on “How Do We Define Anti-Americanism? What about Pro-Americanism?

  1. As a member of this new “Generation Z” the way, I see anti-Americanism and pro-Americanism is likely different than how people of other generations do. Starting off with anti-Americanism, I believe that it is the ideology that is in opposition to the spread and boasting of American Culture and norms. Basically, those who are anti-American are against the ideals that America promotes and for many people that can mean different things. Some people might see the political climate and some might see the Coke and Mcdonalds commercials and take a negative stance on the matter. Similarly, with the concept of pro-Americanism, people can see these different parts of America and be proud and feel inspired by what we promote. Pro-Americanism is like patriotism except that you don’t need to be American to be pro-American, there are people from all over the world who look up America like a big brother and love the ideals and culture we spread.

  2. As an international student and a member of Generation Z, I have personally experienced anti-Americanism and pro-Americanism in Asia, especially Vietnam. Anti-Americanism is the opposition to American policies, which people in non-ally countries often view with suspicion and distrust as they believe the U.S. tries to influence the economic and political situations in their countries. Many individuals with anti-Americanism view see the U.S. as a hypocrite as it always urges other countries to honor human rights while neglecting domestic human rights problems and disregarding human rights violations in countries with significant U.S. interests. On the other hand, pro-Americanism is the point of view of people who highly regard American ideals and values that are presented through social media, movies, and music, among other cultural forms. These people admire the rule of law and the integrity of the American society, in which individual freedom, such as freedom of speech, is respected and protected by laws. Pro-Americanism can result in increased support for events or projects with American involvement, cultural products—movies, TV shows, and music—and international and local policies initiated by the U.S.

  3. I feel as though my place in Generation Z has not greatly affected my view of anti- or pro-Americanism. In my opinion, anti-Americanism is simply a dislike or distrust of American ideals, such as those outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (like freedom of speech or religion), as well as general trends in American governance, like our long term foreign and economic policies, that we Americans stand by. On the opposite side, I feel that pro-Americanism is simply demonstrating support for or the favoring of these same ideals. I am sure that many of different generations would find their definitions of these words similar to mine, for the true question of pro- or anti-Americanism in my eyes is really “Do you like what American stands for?”. A more nuanced question and response might come from the discussion of specific American policies or historical incidences, but, in my opinion, one single presidential action or historical fact does not make America, and thus, cannot make a person pro- or anti-American on its own.

  4. My first encounter with anti-Americanism occured when I was abroad in Japan, the summer entering my senior year. While at a subway station, a Japanese man aggressively kicked the luggage of one of my groupmates and angrily stalked off. I was taken a back by the hostile act as we were not causing any trouble; we were simply easily identifiable American tourists in the beautiful city. Today, I understand that encounter was not personal, rather fueled by anti-Americanism. I define Anti-Americanism as dislike and mistrust of the ideals, culture, foreign policy, and past and present actions of the United States. Anti-Americanism stems from perceptions abroad in which people dislike U.S interests and its role in the global world. On the contrary, pro-Americanism is the support and indulgence of American ideals and culture. Demonstration of pro-Americanism may include consumption of American products and culture. Pro-Americanism supports the United States and its interests on the global platform.

  5. I believe Anti-Americanism is the sentiment showcasing how an individual or nation perceives America negatively in terms of its values, policies, and ideals. People favoring this ideology oppose America for its confidence in being the most powerful nation in the world. They may also dislike America’s tendency to get involved in foreign affairs, claiming to be the world police while in fact, seeking out its own benefits. In addition, many nations feel strongly about America’s inability to uphold its values and ideals. Instead of protecting citizens and their “unalienable rights,” the world witnesses American citizens constantly experiencing gun violence, racism, and inequality. On the contrary, Pro-Americanism is the ideology that describes people’s fondness toward the U.S. ideals and policies. I believe that the American Dream and democracy are the ideals that draw people to the United States as it creates an idealistic illusion of an utopian society where equality and justice can coexist. Thus, nations that are pro-Americanism are most likely to be American allies. They have strong confidence in the U.S for its strong military background and its ability to assist in difficult times.

  6. As an International student from China, a country in which Pro-Americanism and Anti-Americanism both have a lot of supporters, I think those two ideologies are based upon different elements that construct America.

    For Anti-Americanism, I consider it to be resentment towards America based upon its foreign policy. The national identity of individuals from country of birth also mixes into this kind of ideology. Take China as an example. For supporters of Anti-Americanism in China, though the United States claims itself to be the ‘land of freedom and home of free’, what they did since the beginning of the US-China relationship was nothing but to suppress and exploit China. Beginning from Treaty of Wanghia in 1844, to the Korean War in 1950, to the Incident of Yugoslavia Embassy in 1999, to the trade war and supporting the protests in Hong Kong today, those ‘American Imperialists’ were conspiring ‘colonizing’ China again, even though China itself has had considerable development because of diligence of her citizens.

    For Pro-Americanism, I think it is more cultural-oriented. It is an affirmation of American value based upon their ways of living and cultural products. That just reminds me of my parents. They went to the KFC, ordered themselves fried chicken, and went to the cinema to see the film Titanic. After that, they affirmed their relationship.

  7. Personally, I define anti-Americanism as the position of opposing American ideals and the country itself whether it be our policies or motives. It can be a single person or even a whole nation that does so. Through technology and the internet, foreign countries and people have been able to piece together an idea of what they believe America is. Depending on their image of the U.S., they either hate us or don’t. As a country, we have strengthened our influence on foreign nations through our policies, movies, and even food. Some may see it as the erasure of their own cultures. Pro-Americanism is defined as the exact opposite. It is the acceptance of American culture and sometimes its place in the world. Depending on what aspect of America being described, you either get a pro- or anti-American response. They are more positive when talking about American music than American foreign policies.

  8. Today, anti-Americanism is explicitly seen through stereotypical portrayals of American culture and violent actions of foreign terrorism that aim to weaken American morale fundamental values. However, anti-Americanism also exists on the domestic level through continued racism, abuse, and violence towards those considered to be minorities or living on the edge of society, preventing these core American values of equality, freedom, and justice from being reached. Anti-Americanism resists American influence in other countries and resents America for its hypocrisy and internal failures to uphold its own values. In contrast, pro-Americanism is seen in those who support American policies, culture, and political ambitions. Pro-Americanism manifests itself through the continued appeal and pursuit of the American Dream and its core values. To be in favor of American values is to actively maintain existing liberties but also advocate for the rights and freedoms not yet achieved. Gen Z has experienced and reacts to both pro and anti-Americanism, recognizing that it is not just about ideology, but also the actions that occur in response to it.

  9. Anti-Americanism, in my opinion at least, can be defined as being against America for not only what it is, but what different countries think that it represents. Where Americans have many stances on internal politics and foreign relations, this impacts its own people as well as citizens of other countries. For instance, gun control not only makes a difference in the US, but it effects the global community in terms of international safety, tourism and any other interactions that occur between the US and other countries. Anti-Americanism is a concept of interdependency, just as pro-Americanism is. I think that pro-Americanism is where people are proponents of what America is and what it represents. An example of this could be in South Korea, where the citizens are more supportive of American views because Trump is currently helping them with the unification process with North Korea. This system of interdependence impacts the citizens of both countries, as with anti-Americanism. As a Gen Z individual, my peers and I will likely be impacted by this social interdependence between countries. The repercussions of these relations will impact our generation and ones to come.

  10. As someone who has family in other countries, it has helped me gain a better understanding of how people view America. I believe that anti-Americanism is the negative, bitter view of the United States based on our founding principles, laws, and our social culture. People in other countries often view the United States as how it’s portrayed on television or by common stereotypes. This can include things such as that everyone eats unhealthy McDonalds, has not received an education, are greedy about money, and that the U.S. does not have their best interests in mind. On the other hand, pro-Americanism is also very alive in many countries. Pro-Americanism is the positive admiration of the United State’s through its values and overall culture. They look up to the idea of the American Dream: that anyone can accomplish success through hard work. The culture is one of individuality and freedom based on our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It may also be influenced by our foreign policies towards that country or our policies in general. Many countries that have overwhelming support for the U.S. often see themselves as our “little sibling” and want to follow our lead.

  11. I would define anti-Americanism as anyone one who doesn’t support the shared ideals and beliefs that America was founded on versus pro-American as those that do. But it’s important to separate what American values, ideals and belief systems are versus what particular action The United States government or it’s people have done in the past. For examples, a shared widely held value is freedom, in our constitution we have the right to free speech,freedom of religion, for example. Anti Americanism would be those which do not want people to practice any religion they want, or even if disagreeable, or hurtful or ignorant, the right to say what you want. If you don’t like a policy, such as segregated schools, that doesn’t make you anti-American, it makes you anti-segregated schools. Not wanting a system of government and freedom to debate freely in order to prevent people from making changes is anti-American. Making changes to a system which prevents future generations from changing rules is anti-American. Supporting self determination for this and all generations is pro-American.

  12. I see anti-Americanism as a negative perception of the United States’ government, citizens, or cultural products which originate and persist through media. This leads to stereotypes and, in some cases, acts of violence and rebellion against the United States. I think pro-Americanism can stem from supporting the actions of the United States and believing in the nation’s values, but I think that pro-Americanism is often the result of blind faith in ideas such as the “American Dream” and American exceptionalism. I think, in the latter case, this can be just as rooted in stereotypes and just as harmful as anti-American sentiments whenever patriotism leads to the idea that the whole world should be “Americanized.” As a member of Generation Z, I feel as though the advent of social media and the internet has contributed to the propagation of stereotypes globally, both positive and negative. Moreover, I feel as though extreme forms of pro- or anti-Americanism prevent people from rationally and realistically viewing the United States and its actions.

  13. There are many dimensions of both Anti-Americanism and Pro-Americanism. Anti-Americanism can be unfolded into two aspects. One is having hatred towards core American values, while the other is resentment towards the actions of America. Resentment about the very existence of America is much more aggressive; they reject the values of America. They won’t even consume products of American culture. Meanwhile, the second hatred generates from the consequences and influences America has brought to the world. In contrast, this type of Anti-Americanism is more positive because they believe in the potential of America; they merely pity for the status quo. Likewise, Pro-Americanism can also be divided and categorified in the same way: love towards actions of America or towards foundational values of America.

  14. Growing up as a member of Generation Z, I only have memory of a post-9/11 society, which has impacted my understanding of Anti-American and Pro-American ideologies. Now often guided by fear, the world has become more divided and critical. I view Anti-Americanism as regarding the majority of American actions and values to be negative or objectionable, and Pro-Americanism as approval of American culture and actions. In an increasingly polarized world, I believed that these two concepts were divisive and distinct. However, after speaking with friends in Brussels this summer, I began to view these sentiments as more fluid and capable of coexisting. While these friends held strong beliefs either for or against certain elements of American society, they were also able to find many comparisons and similarities between different countries’ current events. For example, one friend compared the interest in immigrating to Canada following Trump’s election, which shut down their webpage, to the increased regulations on Ireland’s immigration and citizenship policies following Britain’s interest in immigration due to Brexit. I think many Americans take supportive and opposing sentiments to America as unique, when in reality these sentiments are compatible to our own international perspectives. In today’s increasingly interconnected and interdependent society, I think that Anti-American and Pro-American sentiments should be regarded as one aspect of a larger global network of opinions and perspectives, rather than an exceptional and isolated set of beliefs.

  15. I believe that anti-Americanism is being against the spread of American values and culture, and/or being opposed to the actions and policies of the U.S. government. This can include a wide range of acts. From simple personal opinions (for example, in the documentary we watched in class featured many French people who were vehemently opposed to the spread of American culture) to actual harm in the form of terrorist attacks such as those of September 11th, 2001. Anti-Americanism can come from within America itself, of course. Racially motivated attacks can be considered an example of anti-Americanism, as they are an effort to deny minority groups fundamental human rights. On the other hand, pro-Americanism would be the support of American culture, or American policies. It can be respect and admiration for American ideals and rights. It can also be the continued pursuit of the American dream. I don’t know how much being a member of Generation Z impacts my opinions on this issue.

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