amanda knox…the lesson

The Ugly American

Image via Wikipedia

When I was a schoolgirl, I’d hear the phrase “Ugly American” mentioned in and out of the classroom. That deprecating phrase would be tossed around in the news, and in conversations that attempted to ascertain what was meant.

Among natives of the Hawaiian Islands where culture was suppressed as we were ushered in as the 49th state in the union, prejudice against the white man simmered. A double-edged sword, statehood. There are those who would like Hawaii to secede and become a self-governing entity, just as some Texans envision happening in their state. I’m not one of those; I’m a little more pragmatic. I opt for the advantages…over the disadvantages.

What I am…is respectful of other cultures. It doesn’t mean I am without criticism of ways different from mine. We’ve all got a bit of the sinner and the saint in us. However when I walk among people on their turf…be it a neighborhood, a town, or a country…I’m wary. I’m mindful of my p’s and q’s.

Cosa mi fa ridere

Image by redbanshee via Flickr

Amanda Knox’s treatment at the hand of the prosecutor in the Perugian courthouse, is proof that the age-old stereotype of the “Ugly American” survives to this day. Americans and our western lifestyle are not always admired. A dose of humility should temper the overwhelming pride with which we seem to view ourselves.

Ugly Americans poster

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

…something we might want to teach our children…to help them…as they travel…and live…among others…


6 thoughts on “amanda knox…the lesson

    • I thought this 4 years ago when the whole ordeal began…and I’ve continued to feel the same. I believe Knox is innocent, but her youth and her American mannerisms bode ill in rural, Italian Perugia. It probably didn’t help that long-held prejudices against the “Ugly American,” were heaped upon the college student’s head.

      i empathize with her loved ones…i would’ve done the same were i in their shoes…


  1. Like this blog very much . . . especially your comments regarding our Hawaiian culture and the changes we’ve gone through. I have debated for a very long time with those who keep longing to return to “the old ways” and reject anything that is “haole”. My question to them is always . . .” but, what about the young ones? Should they stop looking ahead now?”

    You are very fortunate to be able to travel a lot. That is a valuable education.
    Aloooha from your maku’le brah


    • Thanks, Ben. So glad we see eye to eye in some things. 🙂 I think returning to the old ways is naive. Life has obviously progressed so far beyond those times. This is true of everything, I think, including America as we knew it. Better to put our energies towards improving where we are…here and now…and move forward. No need to reinvent the wheel.

      We’ve been fortunate to have made our careers in the travel industry. We’ve traveled some…and learned much. But there are those who have not been as privileged, like my mother-in-law, who have an innate understanding of human beings…and how they should be treated. More than anything, I think she has influenced me in my adult life. She teaches by example. 🙂


    • Respect, I think, goes far in the treatment of others. Denigrating their ways, however arcane or bizarre by our standards, is asking for trouble. And these days, people the world over are very willing to take us on, it seems.

      better safe than sorry…i think. 😉


hugs for sharing some brief thoughts...and keeping them positive

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