America’s Influence on British Society
It is surprising to note that America was once a colony of Great Britain and that it only gained its independence on 4th July 1776. Ordinarily, anyone would expect the colonizer (UK) to be influencing its colony. This, however, is not the case with Britain. Almost every aspect of Britons today has been influenced by the Americans. What the people of Britain can admit is that there is a lot of American political, media and culture influences that have infiltrated their country. What is more surprising is that there are 54 sovereign states which are members of the commonwealth. All these nations have almost every facet of governance structured like that of Britain (Stephan, 2007). Despite this fact, it must be admitted from the outset that Britain has become like a small American nation. The media -televisions and the internet- have played a critical role in transfer of American way of life to Britain.
For a long time, the television, which is a major channel of communication in Britain, has been dominate by American stuff. More than 60 percent of what Britons watch is not home made, but is imported from America. For instance, blockbuster movies and TV series that hit the screens in Britain are from Hollywood. More than anything, what people see with their own eyes plays a great role in determining their lifestyles. It can comfortably be noted that American way of dressing has slowly found its way in Britain -thanks to American content offered in the media. Another sector that American media has dominated is the music sector. In the recent past, what radio and TV presenters would provide to their fans was mainly rock music produced and sang by the Beetles and Smiths. Today, the scenario is quite. Britain’s music fans are treated to hard modern rock, rap and rhythm and blues made by Americans (Cody, 2009). What this means is that media houses in Britain are slowly killing cool rock and soul music that was once the Briton’s anthems.
A major characteristic of American media is that it is dominated by advertisements. Audio and visual ads take a significant amount time compared to other “important” issues. This fact has been witnessed with media houses whose chief objective is to broadcast news. Instead of people being presented with issues that matter in life, capitalism has been allowed to take centre stage. Unfortunately, this habit is slowly creeping into Britain. Like in America, fashion and supermarkets related advertisements are what viewers in Britain are being treated to. This, subsequently, has had an impact on the way Britons clad and do their shopping.
It is very unfortunate to note that the kind of culture that people of Britain are copying from America is self destructive. The list of these cultures is rather too long to exhaust. Some of the most common among these include stereotyping, fast foods, gun and gang culture, rap, hip hop, cars and way of dressing and lastly but not the least commercial sex.
Although Britain has a long record of racism, the issue of stereotyping is new to this economic power house. For a long time, all the inhabitants of the United Kingdom have seen and treated each other with equality. However, this has changed since end of World War I. To make matters worse, stereotyping in this country is that of a negative nature. People of Wales, for instance, are stereotyped to love dogs than their own children (Kirk, 2005). Other Britons think of the Irish as beer lovers and people who eat heavy breakfast such that they remain dizzy even in morning hours.
The people of Britain have for a long time been recognized for their cool and humble music mainly comprised of country and soul music. However, this is slowly getting eroded by hard impolite music genres in the form of rap, hip hop, and hard rock. Young Britons have gone into the extent of borrowing the American music styles and all that goes with it. Musicians have now replaced their hats with tattoos. Literary speaking, not a single aspect of American music has not been copied by Britain’s musicians.
Since time immemorial, Britons have referred to the most popular fast food as chips. This, however, is has changed. Like the Americans, Britons now refer to this food as “fries” or “chips fries”. Apart from changing names, fast foods have become extremely popular in Britain such that the two countries are now at par. In the same vein, there are a number of things that have been influenced by Americans on Britons. For instance, the way certain words are written is slowly changing. The word colour, for example, will appear here as wrongly spelt and a Briton will think that this word ought to be written as “color”. Emergency numbers for the people of Britain is 999 while that of America is 911. Young people in Britain have now come to believe that an emergency numbers cannot be anything else apart from 911.
In America, campaign speeches serve as party manifestos, but in Britain, parties have to have a published manifesto. In most cases, what a presidential candidate in America pledges to do is taken as mere words because there are no documents to pin him down (Garret, 2009). Although the case is different in Britain, results have always appeared to be similar. Party manifestos can by all means be compared to speeches that American presidential candidates make. UK premiers (just like American presidents) always short change voters. UK premiers have been taught by their American presidents to treat manifestos as mere pledges that they cannot be held accountable for.
Another observation that has been made with UK and Americans politics is the issue of respecting sovereignty. The United Kingdom has unfortunately been reduced to an accomplice of the Americans. A classic example to support this position is the invasion of Iraq by the two nations. It was the United States idea to invade Iraq but the then UK premier Tony Blair offered to be an accomplice. In the recent past, the UK has seemed to favor every political decision made by the US. To prove this, all Americas allies are also Britain’s. The two countries have a similar foreign policy, of course drafted by the US but ratified by the UK (Garret, 2009).
It is very ironical to think of Britain as slowly becoming a small version of America. Facts are that the latter colonized the former. America only gained independence in the late 18th century yet this nation seems to be calling shots in the way Britons live. The media, cultural and political fronts of Britain have been infiltrated by those of America. Fast food and coffee houses like McDonalds and Starbucks, have found their way into the Briton’s market. Like in America, coffee and fast foods have become an integral part of Britons lives. In addition to this, American media content (Hollywood and related stuff) has become a main ingredient of what media houses in UK offer their listeners and viewers. Politics have also not been left out. Major decisions on foreign issues in UK are mainly influenced by the decisions taken by the US.