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For a very long time I thought that Germany's flag had a swastika on it ( I didn't realize it was exclusive to the Nazis). I imagined those citizens having very mixed feelings when raising it.
When I was about five or so, I saw a beer commercial on tv. It was two guys having a beer, watching a football game. and at the end the announcer said " The American Beer". Well see I'm Canadian, and I thought that an American was what you called someone who drinks beer and watches football today. I believed that for a couple of years, till i finally asked my parents.
When I was young and looked at a map, I thought that the colors of the countries on the map were the colors of the people who lived there.
I used to beileve that all men with brown hair and glasses were from england, and were freaks. I also used to believe that they probably were plotting to kill me.
I am Chinese but I moved to a foreign 3rd world country(even more 3rd world than china) with very limited information resources at early age, I went to school with a japanese and a korean. And the only information I got was from reading dictionaries and the pictures on it and I read about 2nd world war and japanese carriers and since I grew up in the 80s jap products have become very popular there and i thought they were ruling the world and since they attacked china i thought they were better, but later i read on magazine that china had largest army in the world and I couldn't believe it since I only kno china thru chinese kung fu movies which showed very backward people, and this jap used to tease me and look down on me, But I now know better that china has developped nuclear weapons and space programs to kill all japs if we wanted...what a relieve japs are not ruling the world whew
When I was eight or so, I believed Scotch tape came from Scotland and the kilts that Scottish people wore all had the same design like the one on the Scotch tape package.
When I was little and I saw Indian, Hindu etc. people with little red Bindi dots on their foreheads I would marvel at how those people all got 'pimples' in the same place.
When I was young, I thought lesbians were citizens from Lebabanon. I remember seeing an episode of Night Court in which some character says "Christine, I'm a lesbian!" and begins to kiss the surprised Christine and for a few years after that I thought that people from Lebanon had some rather interesting social customs. I found it a bit strange,but I knew that Mongolians stick out their tongues in greeting and it seemed to just be one of those things...
When I was young, I would listen to people talk about "foreigners" and think they were referring to the inhabitants of some specific country. So, one beautiful day, my dad asked me "Do you know where foreigners come from, dear?", to which I hesitantly replied: "Uh... From Foreign?..."
Growing up in Sweden in the 1960's I wasn't exposed to a lot of foreign influence and didn't quite understand racial differences. Someone had told me that "negroes" (the proper term used in Sweden for black people) originated in Africa. So for me, this became a nationality rather than a race. I refused to see black people from any other continent as black. You could only be black if you came from Africa. My parents had also given my a black doll (Ada, my favorite) and it never occured to me that she was of a different race than my friends dolls. I just thought she was prettier then theirs because she had more colour and beautiful brown eyes.
I used to beleive that the people in Australia had sticky feet. That way they wouldn't fall off the earth.
I am Canadian and I moved to Switzerland. I would tell people that I was English because I couldn't understand how I wasn't. I spoke English, didn't I?
I had beliefs about The Netherlands, even though I never had Dutch friends as a child. They stemmed from a traditional song that you might have sung yourself about a mouse wearing clogs in a windmill and from cartoons. I believed that all Dutch people wore clogs, lived in windmills, made cheese and grew tulips. I didn't think many of them had bikes nor horses and walked everywhere-It was flat so it didn't matter. I also thought when I was a bit older that hamsters came from Amsterdam and I imagined them around the streets (I knew that Dutch people didn't all live in windmills etc. by then :-). I thought they dropped the "h" to make the Amster- part sound a bit less like the cute critters. Oh and the age-old belief that all Egyptians “walked like an Egyptian” and still dressed as they did in the days of the Pharaohs. :)
My father told me that Frenchmen had three legs.
I was born in the U.S. in 1940, and WW II was a daily topic in our household. Of course, Germans were the bad guys, and wanted to harm us. On the other hand, Mom was always cleaning, the stated reason was so we would have no germs to make us sick.
It wasn't until I reached the 1st or 2nd grade, after the war, that I finally realized that germs were not Germans, and vice versa.
Until...yesterday, actually, I was certain that Cleveland was in Denmark. I thought a lot of unusual things about them, now that I think about them. I used to think the Danish were called the Netherlanders. And they also invented doughnuts and dogs. And because they invented dogs, God lived there.
I used to believe the Egyptians lives in appalling squalor because they lived next to the Sewage Canal (Suez - get it?)
I'm the middle child of three, and when I was little my Dad told me that they'd had three children because every fourth child born in the world is Chinese, and they'd only wanted English children. I believed him for years.
I used to think Indian women had scabs on their foreheads, but it was bindi!
I used to belive, that USSR is the best country in the World...:(