It is quite true that until you've lived overseas, you don't really know what another culture may or may not have in common with your own. If you think you can guess, you're wrong. You can't just watch an episode of Anthony Bourdain's travels and actually have a feel for a place. It that were true, government wouldn't make foreign policy blunders; and despite ambassadors and intelligence analysts and all manner of available research, it does. You just have to live in a place to know it.
Add to this that the Internet makes it easy to propagate rumors, inaccurate surmise, and manufactured "facts", and anything said about another country that's not said by a native is suspect. And even then, other countries have persons with political biases and agendas, too, so what one person says may not be a universal perception where he lives.
The earlier misstatements about U.K. homicide rates remind us how to spell 'assume'. I think I'll close this one before it turns into a xenophobic exercise. Feel free to PM me if you think it needs to keep going.
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