You play basketball right? You sing or dance? What kind of car do you have? So how many Brazilian women have chased you so far?
These are just a few questions I’ve been repeatedly asked when I meet a new Brazilian friend. It sucks when I have to respond that I don’t play basketball (I’m a football man), I neither dance nor sing, I don’t have a car and unfortunately, I don’t have hoards of Brazilian women chasing me down the street.
But some Brazilians think all gringos share key characteristics. It’s normal.
Everyone has stereotypes of other nationalities. Some are good, some are not.
I asked a few of my Brazilian friends what are some common stereotypes that Brazilians have of gringos, specifically ones from America. Check out which ones came up the most.
NOTE: Don’t take these stereotypes too seriously. Brazilians are open minded and allow you to be who you are.
All Americans Are Cold/Reserved
Have you ever been to New York City or any other big, northern metro area? People are always in a hurry, trying to get from point A to point B as soon as possible. We have no time to say hello or even look at another person in the eye while we walk past them.
There’s a common belief that Americans are colder than Brazilians. We aren’t very friendly in comparison.
This cultural characteristic can be partly attributed to our distrust of strangers. The news media is flooded with murder, rape, kidnappings and terrorism.
We are constantly in fear of what a stranger might do. But the truth is, we are unlikely to be hurt by a random person. Statistically, people we know such as family or friends are the most likely to commit crimes against us.
We Are Less Family Oriented
Brazilians stay at home until they are married or at least until they are financially stable. For the most part, Americans are raised to believe we have to leave the house and go into the “real world” as soon as we finish high school.
It’s the culture we are raised in. If you aren’t going to college, then you have to join the military or find a job and support yourself. Many Brazilians find this mentality harsh.
And I tend to agree.
The only real benefit of leaving your parent’s house early is learning how to succeed when you make mistakes. I don’t know any person who left home in their late teens and didn’t have a few bumps on the road. But often, their life didn’t end. They figured it out and now have great careers.
And more Americans are making the conscious decision to not kick their kids out early like their parents.
All Americans Have Superiority Complexes
The Leaders Of The Free World. God Bless America. 1st World.
These are just a few common phrases in American society. One night I was at a neighborhood boteco in Sao Paulo having a drink and this Brazilian guy asked me where I was from.
I told him I was American. He frowned and said there’s no such thing. I asked him to elaborate. He continued to explain how America wasn’t a country, it is a continent split into North and South America.
According to him, if I was American, so was he and every other Brazilian. I could tell he felt Americans were arrogant. I blamed it on the drinking and didn’t argue back.
But yeah, many Brazilians think the United States feels superior. We are always in other countries, trying to bring democracy and other cultural norms to their societies.
It’s hard to argue against that.
American Tourists Never Learn Other Languages
This one might sting a bit. Especially if you are a traveling veteran and still only speak English fluently. But its a pill you must swallow. Many Brazilians think it’s funny how many Americans visit their country and can’t even say basic things.
If you have been to Brazil before, you are familiar with the country lacking English speakers. The tourist areas don’t even have a significant amount of English speakers compared to other destinations.
So, many Brazilians find it funny that Americans are surprised when no one speaks English. Brazil’s official language is Portuguese. Learn a little before you arrive and surprise them in a different way.
We Are More Honest
Brazilians are friendly to a fault in some cases. For instance, after not speaking Portuguese for a while, I know for a fact my speaking ability is rusty. But they still tell me I speak well.
In America, we are brought up to be more honest about our opinions of things. We have no issues saying yes or no when asked about something. In Brazil, people for the most part will tell you whatever you want to hear because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.
We Take Friendship More Seriously
Throwing the F word around in America is serious. We aren’t just friends with everyone we know. We use special terms like “associates” or “someone who I know”.
Personally, I haven’t made too many friends since I graduated high school. Most men find it difficult to really find good buddies who you really trust after you become an adult. You have to be cautious around new people and you wonder if they have ulterior motives.
We are known to network as we get older, not really build strong, genuine relationships.
All Americans Are Obese
Pizza and burgers are infamously American. We are the fast food capital of the world and for good reason. We have no time for a home cooked meal after a long day at the office. Brazilians are introduced to this stereotype through our television shows and movies. There’s a McDonald’s on every corner.
We also drive everywhere. If you combine high calorie processed foods with the lack of physical activity, there is no shock that we are known around the world as a population of heavyset people.