Advertising in general varies wildly from country to country, even in the case of international brands. American audiences often respond to the very subtle British advertisements with What Were They Selling Again?, Brits see more straightforward American ads as so on the nose and melodramatic that they appear almost parodical. Adverts made in continental Europe and Russia often have a level of sexual content that you would never get away with in the US or UK, and many Asian advertisements are so quirky they look plain weird (and/or hilarious) to many foreigners.
Commercials for Underoos brand underwear, once omnipresent on Saturday Morning TV (especially in the 1970s through early 1980s) vanished by the early 1990s — a combination of networks' programming targeting older kids and increasing paranoia over anything that could even be implied to sexualize kids. Do a search for "Underoos" at YouTube and judge for yourself. Early commercials called them "costumes" to get away with showing them on TV.
These fruit drink adverts were made and broadcast in the UK in the 1980s. Especially weird because "Kia ora" is Maori for hello, and has nothing to do with the American South. And especially weird as most 1980s British people wouldn't even recognize the stereotypes (the piccaninny, zoot suits, crows = black people, basketball as stereotypically 'black', "dog" as a term of affection, the "mammy" are all American ideas).
1960s Jell-O Ad. About how Chinese people have trouble not calling it "Jerro". Fun? And how they can't eat anything without chopsticks.
The earliest McDonald's television commercials featured news weatherman Willard Scott as a far different version of Ronald McDonald. The commercials featured Scott (wearing a burger tray on his head, and sporting poorly-applied clown makeup and a goofy grin) explaining that he "likes to do what all little boys and girls like" and accosts a young boy by bribing him with cheeseburgers - the kid even says that he's "not supposed to talk to strangers", and Ronald replies with, "Well, your mother's right as always, but I'm Ronald McDonald!" Even though people wouldn't have batted an eyelid back then, the commercials were swiftly swept under the rug after the company relaunched the mascot in the late 70s, for obvious reasons.
CSA: The Confederate States of America includes what they lead you to believe are commercials for fictitious products, all including outlandishly outdated black stereotypes and caricatures as mascots. Then as the credits roll it's revealed almost all of these products were real or based on a real product. The companies were forced to adapt with changing times once their advertising content (specifically dark face portrayals and certain word choices) grew to be considered racist.
There are advertising materials that are one of the larger and more persistent problems for online crafts bazaar Etsy, as while they are valuable pieces of Americana collected for that aspect as well as the "never forget" point, they're also valued by racists for, well, rather obvious reasons. There's also the issue that people actually manufacture copies for the latter market, which is a business Etsy wants no part of, also for rather obvious reasons. Enforcing their policy of "yes to originals, no to copies" is something that they take seriously.
Some late 50s/early 60s Cheerios ads featuring the Cheerios Kid feature a Dastardly Whiplash-like villain who would kidnap his girlfriend and the kid would have to save her. These days, it seems pretty disturbing after recent events.
British jam and preserves maker Robertsons took a long time to retire its advertising mascot - a childrens' doll in Minstrel blackface known as a "golliwog". note Possibly the origin of the N-word "wog" used as a pejorative with a meaning almost as strong as the other N-word. It took until the late 1990's and floods of protests from traditionalists who didn't see the problem and who considered black British people were being over-sensitive.
Similarly, Camp Coffee's iconic label, showing an officer of the British Raj being served coffee by his faithful Indian servant, long outlasted the end of British rule in India and again its withdrawal caused outraged protest from traditionalists, who considered Asian-British people were complaining about nothing.
The tonic Moxie (which was popular around the turn of the century but lost nearly all market share south of Massachusetts to Coca Cola when its ad director died) has a good bit now that tonics and other sugary beverages are considered to be contributors to obesity and herbal remedies of unknown content are no longer considered trustworthy. It's very odd to see it being treated as a revitalizing health beverage for the whole family in adventure magazines (hence the name's modern meaning).
The U.S. is the only country in the world that allows prescription drugs to be advertised on TV - and in double-paged full color spreads in magazines.
Unless you are a real car enthusiast with research on varieties of cars, expect to see some stereotypes on automobiles from even the non-car people.
Japanese non-car people sees cars simply as a tool of transportation rather than a status symbol. This is different from overseas people who sees the other way around. They only have (or almostly no) basic knowledge about cars, like many non-car people overseas. And this is why they only drive small kei cars.
Generally, mentioning that you like either European, American, or Japanese cars will get you flack from fans of the other two camps. If you like American cars, prepare to hear numerous Eagle Land "yank tank", "gas guzzler" and "your car can't turn" comments. If you like Japanese cars, prepare to hear Rice Burner, "tiny wimpy" and "no torque" comments. If you like European cars, prepare to hear "whiny rich-kids" and "poor reliability" comments.
The general attitudes "car is the default" versus "Cars are for uneducated rural bumpkins who are too stupid to ride the metro" are highly dependent upon the country, demographic group, and era you grew up in. A person from rural Kansas might look at you like you're from the moon if you suggest getting rid of a car, whereas some places in Switzerland ban cars, period. When those attitudes crash, the result is not pretty.
In the German-made board game Puerto Rico, the little brown cubes were originally "slaves". Later editions changed that to "colonists".
Several Milton Bradley games where children were expected to be the target consumer, both traditional favorites and those based off long-running TV game shows made reference to tobacco smoking and alcohol use. For instance:
The home game of Video Village had a prize card (similar to the ones seen with the Home Game adaptation of Concentration) of a gold-plated cigar lighter (from the "Jewelry Shop"); a "Finders Keepers" card credited the player landing in said space with "a box of cigars" (worth $5). Some of the "Town Council" questions were risque for the early 1960s as well (e.g., one question asks whether women should be allowed to wear bikinis in public).
Multiple editions of the game "Go To the Head Of The Class" - an education-based trivia/quiz game set to a one-room schoolhouse theme - had questions asking players identify brand names of cigarettes; even before the health risks became known, it was never socially acceptable for school-age children to smoke, and such questions continued into at least into editions published in the late 1970s. Several other editions asked players questions concerning the nursery rhyme "I Love Little Pussy"; anyone who has not heard that poem may get the wrong idea, especially today, when children might have learned the poem as "I Love Little Kitty" ("kitty" being a synonym for "pussy," as in "pussycat") and never heard the original, since "pussy" has been a vulgar slang term for both "vagina" and "sex."
Multiple TV game show adaptations, most notably Jeopardy!, have had Potent Potables categories. (In particular Milton Bradley's Jeopardy! adaptations, since they took questions directly from the show; Pressman's late 1980s adaptations, wherein the question writers from the TV show wrote questions exclusive to the home games, also had alcohol-based categories.)
Cat experts and charities in the USA often cite allowing your cat to roam outdoors as a hallmark of a negligent owner, and many feline documentaries (such as My Cat From Hell) and advice columns will be scandalised should they come across a cat with unlimited access to the outdoors. As a result, European owners can come in for a hard time should they read, watch or interact with such sites / shows / books, as mentioned here, especially since USA-based shows and advice tends to dominate. In many European countries, including the UK, common consensus considers it cruel to deny cats access to the outdoors, with many charities refusing to rehome cats in flats (apartments) or houses with no outdoor space. The only exceptions are shows that seek to rehome pets which may (somewhat reluctantly) advise owners to keep a particular cat indoors for health reasons (such as Feline HIV) or if it is likely to be stolen. The key factors involved in this difference mainly come down to traffic / population density (the USA has many more cars and much busier roads), hazards (the UK has very few wild animals that would actively prey on a cat) and law (cats are legally permitted to roam freely in the UK, and owners are not accountable for their cats in the same way that a dog owner is accountable for their dog). This may also be a matter of human convenience too — with so many people in the US living in apartments, sticking to the "cats must have access to the outdoors" rule would deny many people the right to keep a cat. Maintaining that all cats should be kept indoors levels the playing field.
This becomes especially obvious in UK documentaries such as The Secret Life of Cats, where the whole point is to explore what cats get up to when they leave the house. UK documentaries are fascinated with the "wild side" of cats, and generally advocate respecting their independence, while US shows like My Cat From Hell work on the premise that well-adjusted cats should be touchy-feely and happy to snuggle with their owners.
Another feline-related one: Declawing is thorny territory in the US, but not illegal. It is certainly illegal in many other countries, which have deemed it mutilation of an animal. This comes up less often than the indoor/outdoor debate, since many US experts are also adamantly against declawing, but in a UK or European show, this would be grounds to call the RSPCA/SSPCA, not just a slap on the metaphorical wrist for the owner.
The Prayer Warriors have a set of values (it's acceptable to kill people who don't share your religion, who are homosexuals, or who are rape victims that didn't cry out loudly enough) that is quite different from many people, including their fellow Christians, to say the least. This trope is actually acknowledged in-story when Grover sees Benry dealing drugs to Rika and Books, and acknowledges that dealing drugs is (according to him) legal in Soviet Russia, but as it is illegal under US law, he has to kill Benry to enforce US law.
Justice League of Equestria: In Princess of Themyscira, Amazons actually wear clothes, unlike most ponies, and Diana is as disturbed at the possibility of Soarin' seeing her naked as most people in the real world would be. She also brings up this trope when taking her vow to uphold the laws of mortals when in their realm, bringing up how she might run into laws and customs that she feels are unjust.
In Boys Und Sensha-do, this trope comes into play to an extent. Akio is more Americanized than the mainly Japanese cast, and has a tendency to speak his mind more easily. As such, when Miho's mother visits her in the hospital to disown her (something that he points out is almost unheard of in America, particularly not in his family), he lays into her with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
The whole point of the deconstruction of the Human-in-Equestria genre called "The Man With Two Names." This is because the author realizes that an omnivore isn't going to be able to coexist with a skittish group of herbivores at all no matter how well-intentioned he is.
In the West, mahjong is generally seen as a harmless little old-ladies game (or the tile matching game). In Japan and other East Asian cultures, it is a hardcore gambling game that Asian parents would rather not teach their children, in the same way that poker is a gambling game most American parents wouldn't want to teach their children. Many jansou (mahjong parlors) have had ties to the yakuza (mafia) in Japan.
Mythology and Religion
Almost all religions come with a prepackaged moral code. Most of them contradict each other in some sense, though if one considers only relation between believers, most of them are surprisingly similar. The most known points of conflict are polygamy/polyamory, sexual perversions and sex outside marriage.
Similarly to the above, in The Bible and many other religious texts it does not matter whether a person is righteous or just by our standards, it matters whether or not they do what their patron deity tells them to do.
While Hades was never unfaithful to Persephone, the fact that he first kidnapped, and later blackmailed her into spending time with him, probably doesn't sit very well with modern audiences.
A possible intended interpretation of the abduction of Persephone also lends itself to this trope: some believe that the abduction was actually an elopement, and that Demeter was meant to be seen as clingy and overprotective of her daughter. While modern audiences would agree that a woman trying to keep her adult daughter from marrying is overprotective, the fact that Demeter is certain her daughter had been kidnapped makes her wild behavior a bit more sympathetic.
In the case of Ares and Mars, the Romans did not actually just adopt the Greek religion wholesale and change the names of the gods. Instead they engaged in a kind of syncretism wherein they matched the gods worshiped by the Greeks with their own Etruscan-Latin deities. To the Greeks, Ares was the god of brutal warfare. The Roman Mars was a god of agriculture as well as warfare, reflecting the fact that during the early Roman Republic most soldiers were also farmers. It is also worth noting that there was Values Dissonance regarding Ares among the Greeks. For example, the militaristic Spartans held Ares in higher esteem than other city-states, especially Athens.
In addition, the Roman conception of warfare, and hence Mars, was a lot closer to the ideals of warfare in defense of your people and nation than the Greek position was. So less Draco in Leather Pants than Heel–Face Turn. The Greeks perceived Ares as the enemy of civilization, whereas the Romans saw Mars as the patron of its expansion.
There's an awful lot of incest going on in the family tree of the Greek gods. Uranus may or may not be Gaia's son, or possibly her brother, but whatever their relation, they had kids. A couple of those kids got married and had six children: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia. Zeus and Hera got married and popped out a few kids of their own, including Ares, Eris, and sometimes Hephaestus. Meanwhile, Zeus also got Demeter pregnant, resulting in Persephone. The same Persephone that Hades married. Yeah.
Speaking of the Titans, it's also this way between Greek/Roman views of Kronos/Saturn. The Greeks believed, while he did have some marginal affiliation with the harvest, that Kronos was was a "cruel and tempestuous force of chaos and disorder,"note That's literally what they say on The Other Wiki which is justified in that he castrated his father and ate five of his children, just to consolidate his power. The Greeks believed that, when Kronos was overthrown by the Olympians, it followed by was the greatest era of peace. When the Romans came and merged the Classical Greek stories with their own pantheon, they apparently ignored the "entirely evil" part of Kronos' story, and paired him with Saturn, their god of the harvest. They also gave him his own festival, Saturnalia, and built a giant freaking temple for him.
Did you know the Swastika was originally a Buddhist/Hindu symbol of protection and/or good luck? Thanks to a certain group hijacking it, not many others do. Being white and trying to show a swastika anywhere in the US or UK will, at best, get you called a Neo-Nazi, and at worst get you attacked by someone who thinks you present a threat to someone's safety, and in Germany, it's banned outright except for a single religious group note Jainists, a branch of Hindu so pacifistic they don't even eat yogurt for fear of harming the bacteria inside. In general, American Hindu/Buddhist temples tend to either downplay the presence of a swastika or not include one at all, and even in mainland Europe, while old buildings are allowed to remain, new temples often don't either.
Similar to the Swastika is the capirote, a ceremonial costume symbolizing the folly of sin that unfortunately resembles another infamous group's costumes. Penitents wear them during Semana Santa (Holy Week), and this occasionally disturbs uninformed tourists. Ironically, the Klan, whose top target was Catholics, adopted a costume that Catholics have been using for centuries before the Klan even formed.
In one comic, Calvin draws a squadron of B-1s nuking New York. No way they'd run that nowadays.
In the arc where Calvin plays baseball at recess, Calvin considers dropping out and the coach tells him "Ok, quitter! Goodbye." These days, the coach would be catching a lot of heat and would likely lose his job for calling a six-year old a quitter.
FoxTrot: Up until the mid-90s, Paige would regularly beat up Jason after being on the receiving end of his pranks. With school bullying a huge problem these days, such strips would have a hard time getting published.
Garfield: The National Fat Week strips early in the run have become these due to the ever-growing obesity epidemic.
Occurs in The Sopranos if the game is set with "Adult Mode" turned off. Apparently, cursing and profanity is bad, but committing arson, burying bodies in the Meadowlands, and beating up civilians in shakedowns is okay for all ages.
Many bicycle safety P.S.A.s released prior the 1975 would fall under this because a helmet wasn't included in the safety rules. There a difference from a bike PSA from the 1958, like Bicycle Clown and this one from American Automobile Association called Bike Safe, Bike Smart from 2009. Both have the same road rules but the motor club one would be more acceptable today.
In other contexts the older one would be more acceptable. Calling for cyclists to wear helmets is a serious Berserk Button to many bike activists (especially in Europe) and some even believe it to be some sort of Conspiracy on part of the auto lobby. Just look who made the pro helmet ad. Here cycling advocate Mikael Colville Andersen from Denmark passionately argues against helmets.
Boys Beware, a PSA from 1961 would be frowned upon today and would be deemed homophobic due to the subject matter. In addition, a tacit endorsement of hitchhiking that would be horribly irresponsible by today's standards.
Which is an point of difference in itself. In older works a hitchhiker would likely be a free spirit who is perhaps down on their luck. In the modern day, picking up strangers or hitchhiking yourself is seen as a radical risk.
It's also important to note that the film is trying to describe a very real danger which is recognized today—that of older men grooming youngsters for sexual abuse. The dissonance comes from the false assumption that all homosexuals were involved in this sort of behaviour, a view that whilst still prevalent is likely to mark you out as ignorant and prejudiced these days, certainly not one for PSAs.
Fire Safety videos done before 1965 have also come under... well... fire for not including smoke detectors, which didn't become common in the home until around that time. The Discovery Network even includes wildfires as part of today's fire safety videos.
The Disney Short I'm No Fool had two on fire safety, 1955 and a remake in 1986. The 1986 version included the following: exit drills, smoke detectors, stop-drop-and-roll, and fire extinguishers. Today, such method in the 1986 version is now the norm. There are now web videos, mostly from Howcast, that have fire safety videos such as the following: Practice and putting out grease fire safety.
In the PSA Accidents Don't Just Happen, the narrator takes about how accidents are likely to happen and he points out that he should have considered seat belts for his car. This made before 1968 where the US Federal Government began making it mandatory for automobiles made after that date to have them with the exception of buses. In 1984, New York went one step further and made it mandatory for occupants or they face a fine.
The Duck and Cover from 1951 was to inform people on what to do in case of nuclear strike. This is controversial because its not clear if such tactic worked in a nuclear strike. Some videos, like this one from Howcast, updated it in case of a terrorist attack. In fact, many would regard Duck and Cover as a scare tactic due to the early in the Cold War when it was released. However, it has served a purpose when it comes to earthquakes where one must hide underneath an object like a strong-enough table to withstands falling debris. It also was the basics on tornado-drills since seeking cover is key.
In the UK, the "Protect and Survive" series of films and leaflets have come under fire, as although their advice on how to survive a nuclear attack is more comprehensive and appears more likely to be of benefit on the surface, it gives the impression a nuclear war would actually be survivable, earning it condemnation from anti-nuclear/disarmament campaigners.
American Country Countdown: The Don Bowman-hosted programs from about the first six months or so of the show's run (1973-late spring 1974) saw him making jokes that absolutely would not be allowed today. An example: "How do you make a horse stop complaining in the winter? Shoot him in the summertime!" He also lashed out at a listener who wrote in complimenting him on the show in general but that he needed to cool the jokes, implying that he used crayons to write the letter (and was thus crazy).
When BBC Radio Seven emerged note now rebranded as Radio Four Extra as a "nostalgia" station dedicated to rebroadcast of old content, it straight away ran into editorial problems concerning what was and was not a fit subject for comedy and the way perceptions have changed with the years concerning what is fair material for a joke. A much-anticipated staple of Radio Seven was the promised opening up of the BBC's radio comedy archives and the first broadcast in decades of many old favourites, such as The '60s' shows Round the Horne and I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again. The problem was that jokes about gays and coloured people were perfectly acceptable then but not in the 2000's. But fans of these shows protested loudly at any hint of editorialising or censorship, demanding they be broadcast whole and uncut. Eventually the BBC conceded the point and prefaced rebroadcasts with an advisory that the humour reflected what was acceptible for its day and some content might be found offensive by modern standards.
No one today would name a sports team something like the "San Antonio Wetbacks", "Chicago Polacks", or "New York Darkies", yet many people have no trouble with the "Washington Redskins". This recently became the focus of some media attention when the team had an argument with the US Patent and Trademark Office, who have a standing policy that ethnic slurs or other offensive language may not be protected by a trademark.
Incidentally, occasional opinion polls have found very little enthusiasm for changing the name, even among local Native Americans, probably due to the Grandfather Clause. However, many Native American activists claim that the opinion polls among Native Americans are either highly misleading or not actually scientific. Given that some of them were made by or paid for the owners of the Washington NFL team, this subject is somewhat controversial.
Similarly, while in the United States teams named after the natives raise controversy (along with the Redskins, there's the Cleveland Indians with their stereotypical logo, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Bravesnote plus the Chicago Blackhawks, named after an old chief and not much derided despite their logo, and the Golden State Warriors, who don't use Native American imagery ever since they moved to California), in Latin America using such imagery doesn't create outrage. Examples include Colo-Colo from Chile and Guarani FC◊ from Brazil.
Invoked by the Fighting Whites of the University of Northern Colorado. Originally intended to show how racist the above sort of names were, it ended up being popular enough, selling t-shirts, to allow the creation of a scholarship fund for Native Americans.
A controversial example occurred when the NCAA went after teams with Native American based names under Myles Brand's leadership. The issue was that they not only went after the stereotypical named teams (which there were still a few of, though most had already been renamed), but also teams named for specific tribes, such as the Florida State Seminoles and University of Utah Utes. The controversy came from the fact that these teams were using the names of tribes native to the region that the schools were in, and were used with the knowledge and consent of the tribes. Though at least in the case of the Seminoles, there are two tribal councils, and one of them (the Seminoles of Oklahoma) is absolutely opposed to the name. Interestingly enough, the tribe that's in favor (Florida) is the one that's getting money from the school.
In an amusing example of values evolving over time, when Michael Sam was drafted to the St. Louis Rams in 2014, a huge fuss was made over the openly gay athlete kissing his boyfriend on national TV. However, few people commented on the couple being interracial.
In another example of prejudices changing over time, Kenny Washington, the football player who broke the NFL's color barrier originally planned to play baseball, but failed to make it due to refusing to pretend to be Puerto Rican instead of African-American. In the Jim Crow era, having a Latino player in major league baseball was much more socially acceptable than a black man. Fast forward to 2013, and black athletes playing alongside whites in any sport, including baseball, is considered normal; however, when Cuban-born player Yeonis Cespedes gave an interview in his native Spanish, some people raged at the idea of a Hispanic immigrant playing the "American pasttime". Indeed, the growing number of Hispanic athletes finding success at the sport is often met with anger at a time when anti-immigrant sentiment is prevalent.
In the UK, the fans of Tottenham Hotspur FC are nicknamed "Yids", though as this is also a sometimes-pejorative slang term for Jews, it has caused some controversy.note Spurs are based in a district of North London where British Jews are in the najority and are proud of their British-Jewish roots and associations. Even their Gentile fans are proud to call themselves ''The Yids''.
Violence in sport has become a major source of values dissonance. It's not uncommon to come across hockey and football fans who laud the days of aggressive hits, and in the case of hockey, fights. The 1980s and early 1990s NHL exemplified this, when fighting and brawls were practically over the top, especially in the Norris Division (Which was nicknamed the "Chuck Norris Division" for this very reason).
The 2000s saw the biggest catalysts to change these views. Once the apparent ugly consequences of this violence was too obvious to be denied, the attitudes changed. Concussions were better understood and demanded more respect. Both leagues were sued. The code of the NHL for many years was that of enforcers keeping the game clean from the dirty cheap-shot artists who would injure players, especially star players. But then the Todd Bertuzzi-Steve Moore incident bore an ugly example of the NHL's "culture of revenge". While a freak occurrence, it made the fans understand that they can't crave the violence, but then refuse to be held accountable for it. The WWE went through this with the Chris Benoit double-murder suicide, once autopsy results revealed that the man was almost half brain dead when he committed the horrible crimes. And a career of violent shots and untreated concussions caused it. And ECW? Let's just say that men and women doing everything short of hacking themselves to pieces inside the ring didn't promote an example of a league looking out for the best interests of its athletes. The concussion age brought a lot of this over the top violence in sports to an end, and despite many fans wishes, it won't be coming back. There's simply too much accountability for it anymore.
The Washington Wizards' most recent name change was due to a form of this, when then-owner Abe Pollin announced the change from the Washington Bullets due to his uneasiness of having a team named the "Bullets" in a city known for its high violent crime rate.
The '70s comedy star Bill Oddie ran into trouble in the 1990's by failing to grasp the nature of comedy had changed, and some of the personas that had made him famous in The '60s were no longer politically correct. Rastus Watermelon was a sound-only character Bill invented in voice only for the Radio precursor, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, a stereotyped black man he later reprised in blackface, as part of The Goodies. note In common with other ISIRTA voices recycled for the show, his appearance drew a huge cheer from the studio audience. This sort of reaction is hard for a comedian to let go of. Bill Oddie seemed unable to grasp this character had become politically uncorrect with the years and became visibly angry when gently told by Stephen Fry he could not use this, and other familiar radio voices, during a 1990's comedy benefit show Fry was producing. Bill had also written a comedy song which relied on long-outdated comedy about gay stereotypes. As it was for an AIDS charity benefit, Fry said this was out too. While Oddie later apologised, the spat was embarrassing and unedifying to those who witnessed it, and may have contributed to Bill retiring from active comedy performance to concentrate on his natural history shows.
This can apply (in part) to any story that teaches the moral about "obeying your parents", or even respecting your elders.note Because after all, respect is a two way street. That is, if you show disrespect for someone, they'll show disrespect towards you, no matter how old the two people/entities are. In part, because while it's important that one should at least oblige their parents/teachers/caregivers/etc. if told to do chores/homework/etc., it's important to remember that "grown-ups" are not always right, especially when more serious situations are involved.
Stand-up comedy gets hit pretty hard with this trope; some jokes that may have been fine in the seventies, eighties, and even the nineties would not fly today.
The importance of Holidays varies greatly, not just place-to-place, but also generation to generation. Most notably in the United States; while Christmas is the undisputed champion of holidays, its chief rival tends to be Thanksgiving among people middle-aged-and up, and Halloween among Generation X and Millenials.
As Germany, and European countries in general, don't have a significant Native American or Hispanic population, dressing up as a stereotypical "Indian" or "Mexican" during carnival season or at a costume party may be considered uninspired, but basically never inappropriate or racist.
To British people, the Japanese are a weird race from East Asia who they happened to be at war with for a few years way back in our grandparents' day. The word "Jap" is just convenient shorthand. This can get British people in the USA into bother - they accept their grandparents might have had good reasons to loathe Japan and all things Japanese, but hey, that was back then. So why are all these Asian-Americans looking at them as if they're in the KKK and using the N-Word to describe black people? All they did was refer to the Japs...
The word "race" is commonly used to refer to black, white and so on in English. It is also used as a shorthand for discussions about subjects having to do with that issue. (E.g. "the President has failed to address race"). A dictionary might tell you the German translation of that word is "Rasse", but if you use that word the same way as Americans you are in for a world of hurt. Many Germans will remind you that "Rasse" is a useless construct that does not actually exist. It's safe to say the national debates are very different, though the casual racism is Not So Different at the same time that it manifests in different ways and against different groups.