4 Vote

I am writing a paper over how some people cannot accept a foreign culture into their own. It has to be three pages and I am having a hard time thinking of enough to fill the pages.

How do you feel about other cultures in your own?

  • Posted Nov 27, 2009
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  • icthread sunshine - 00494d19 Nov 28, 2009 flag
  • Sunshine - Think of the expression "When in Rome do as the Romans do" - then think Why? How? That should give some ideas for your paper. - ian-hill Nov 28, 2009 flag

14 Answers

3 Vote

Perhaps a good place to look would be a Wikipedia account of the trouble in the Balkans. The difficulty of the Serbs, Croats and Slavs to accept one another has led to the term "Balkanization": the degeneration into nationalization at the smallest level. In the Balkans is also reflects a religious animosity between Latin, Greek Orthodox and Muslim faiths in the same locals.

A novel approach would be the differences between acceptance in Native American cultures versus the immigrant European peoples. Most Native American societies readily accepted individual (keyword, individual) persons from other cultures into their own. A good example is freedmen and runaway slaves into the Cherokee Nation before the Civil War or white mountain men into the western tribes. The acceptance of such men was thought to strengthen the community. This ofcourse, contrasts with the lack of acceptance of Native Americans into European communities in North America. In my own area, outsiders, whether of other tribes or of the French villages in Eastern Canada, became chiefs in the Menominee and Ojibwe nations. They were welcomed because of what they could bring to the whole nation. I'm guessing that religous prejudices would play the strongest part in nonacceptance. Well, I hope this gives you some "fodder" with which to flesh out your paper. --Gary

  • Yes, many religions set up barriers to acceptance. "My way or the highway." But fortunately, we have the US Constitution to make sure that's not codified into law. And, happily, such has been supported by many religious groups the last few decades. - 0057ed01 Nov 28, 2009 flag
3 Vote

This is a general statement, but it is my impression that younger people in the US have a much easier time accepting other cultures than their grandparents do.

My husband and I live in a very multicultural city in the midwest. It is common to go to our neighborhood supermarket and hear at least 6 different languages being spoken within 5 minutes. Equally common are women in halter tops, women in headscarves, women in burqas, women in skinny jeans and stiletto heels, women in saris. I believe it is difficult for the older people ("older" being people 70 or more) to become accustomed to this change. Younger people have attended K-12 with students from all over the world and, for them, this is normal.

I do believe that it is important for us to recognize that in most cases, people are doing the best they can. For some people embracing change is easier than it is for others. Surely this is a global thing? One time when I was 20 and in a very small village in la Mancha, Spain, housewives actually pulled their children off the street and shut their curtains because there was a "US woman" in town. It was an interesting experience - a combination of humor and amazement. I was not angry with those women, They were dong the best they could with the information they had. Since they had no experience with a foreign woman in their town, I was viewed with suspicion. (It all turned out OK!)

Sometimes I think we are too hard on older people who have trouble adjusting to the post modern world. Between technology and globalism, they frequently feel alienated from just about everyone around them.

I feel very comfortable with most cultures, but it's OK with me if not everyone else does. I just remember that at any given time, we are all doing the best we can

  • I definitely agree with your first sentence, I have that impression also. - cheeseisyumm Nov 27, 2009 flag
  • That was YOU in La Mancha??? Terribly sorry about all that. - webdunce Nov 28, 2009 flag
  • Very funny, webdunce. Thanks for the chuckle. - 0057ed01 Nov 28, 2009 flag
  • Ja Ja Ja!!! I laugh! - mountaingirl Nov 28, 2009 flag
2 Vote

I have always been fascinated by different cultures. To me, it is very interesting to learn of how others live their daily lives, even down to the mundane daily routines.

As far as accepting different cultures into my life, that has never really been an issue for me. Coming from a large city, I am constantly surrounded by people from all over the world. Living on my street, there are people from almost every continent, families with a wide variety of customs and religious beliefs. Going to any store or public center, you will here a wide variety of languages. Just driving down most streets, you can find stores and restaurants featuring everything from Mexican to Israeli goods.

I don't know if growing up this way has affected my thoughts on the topic, or not. I just know I wouldn't want to live any other way.

  • Yo, también. How sweet it is to live among others of different cultures! - 0057ed01 Nov 28, 2009 flag
2 Vote

I have always been bored living in an area without diversity. For the most part mixing with people of different cultures has always taught there are many ways to look at and be in the world.

  • I agree, wholeheartedly. Just returned from visiting my insular birthtown where conformity and suspicion of others who are "different" is the rule. Made me confirm once again, why I fled at an early age. - 0057ed01 Nov 28, 2009 flag
2 Vote

As long as it is a culture not out to do me in, just because I'm an American, I'm all open arms.

2 Vote

how some people cannot accept a foreign culture into their own

Diversity and learning new things is fun for me. However, in the past I have dealt with people unwilling to learn new things such as cultures. Specifically, the older generations, which is funny as the old saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks is semi true.

A while ago I happened to be at a sort of, well, how can I put this nicely, a very small red-neck biker bar. Very fun people but a bit different sort of personality than I am used to on a daily basis. I was with work friends who frequent the establishment alot, and being drunk they seemed to know the entire bar crowd so I did not think it rude to shout out "oi" to get the attention of some friends sitting at a table across the bar. Immediately after that I had an older "gentleman" biker come over and start telling me how we are in america and should speak american?!?!? I realize oi is a general british slang, but I didn't realize it was such a big deal, as he proceded to chew me out and go on and on about how it is such an outrage that stores are starting to put up dual language signs and that he believes this to be an offense on the american people and that if foreigners want to live here they should learn to speak the language and the fact that he has to see these signs offends him....

The story doesn't end there but in short I was shocked at the unwillingness to learn new things such as foreign culture. I don't know if 'foreign signs' or a couple slang words not native to the US counts as "foreign culture" but I was truly amazed at the apparent racism and hate of other cultures (I'm leaving quite a bit of what he said out of the story) that some people still have at this day and age.

I am not defending him or his view point as I disagree with it, but I do understand where he was coming from. I just wish I could help him understand things better and help him be more willing to learn other cultures, but unfortunately, many people are not capable of this. :(

A far as the question goes of

How do you feel about other cultures in your own?

I like adding to myself as a person, and I think that embrasing different cultures and learning about new things helps to make you a better, more rounded person overall. Not to mention the amazing new things you can learn from people that are different from yourself and what you've grown up with.

  • lol - webdunce Nov 28, 2009 flag
  • Beautifully said, Cheeseisyumm. (My favorite cheese is feta, by the way.) - 0057ed01 Nov 28, 2009 flag
1 Vote

I think you might be able to make comparisons with cultures that are more traditionally opened to change than others that are more isolated.

For example, some places in Europe and Asia have kept their roots intact because they are unaffected by the migration of people from other places.

Talk about the United States for example, the big melting pot, how it differs fom those places.

1 Vote

also how Islam is so reluctant to accept the introduction of Western values into their culture. Their politics, all the conflicts that we are having because of what we consider as human rights to them are more like divine precepts. So there is a conflict also in morality and spiritual values.

1 Vote

Many years ago, before Americans started travelling to Europe, I was staying in a hotel in Paris with a group of Americans. One morning, the hotel manager asked me, as group leader, to have a word with one of my group to explain to her what the "bidet" in the bathroom was supposed to be used for.

  • Seems a reasonable request, because "bottom-washers" are unfortunately vrtually unknown here in the States. What "word" did you use with your group. And how did they respond? - 0057ed01 Nov 28, 2009 flag
  • I explained that there was a cultural difference between the old and new worlds and that bidets were not toilets for midgets. - 00f2b5a1 Nov 28, 2009 flag
1 Vote

Why don't you bring it back to American history?

Did you know that the U.S. has a long history of racism and discrimination that extends far beyond just that of racism against blacks? Italians, Germans, Jews, Mexicans, homosexuals, Chinese, and Japanese people have all been subject to discrimination in the U.S.

The dominant group in the U.S. has been, since the moment of its creation, the white anglo saxon protestant. You probably identify them better as the "WASP." Every time a new group tried to come in the only way they were accepted was if they assimilated into the WASP culture. There are a list of things that a group will fear as another group encroaches into their land. The first is a change in religion, the second a change in physical characteristics (from breeding with their children) and the third would probably be a change in language. The fear is usually that they will over run your own culture and destroy it.

For example, I have no problem with Asian people, not in the least, but I find myself enjoying a life where white people are the dominant group in the U.S. Asians are just too far removed from my culture for me to want to live in a country where they are the dominant group.

If a group comes to America and tries to assimilate they will be met with open arms, however it is impossible for some groups to assimilate easily because they do no meet traditional WASP values. Today it is easier if you are black than it is if you are Hispanic or Asian to be accepted into society, although once a Hispanic is accepted they can usually find a place of more acceptance than black people.

The U.S. has always felt animosity towards the Asian people because they know nothing about their culture and they have physically distinct characteristics from our own. In 1882 the President even signed an exclusion act which bared Chinese (but not other Asians) from coming to the U.S. because they felt like there were too many of them. Later, during world war II, the Japanese (and by Japanese I mean both Japanese Nationals and Japanese Americans) citizens were sent to internment camps where conditions varied. Some places were nice, some weren't. But in any event the Japanese were the only citizens to be treated like this while Italian and German citizens were not interned, even though Italian and German Nationals were collected to be sent to internment camps as well.

Germans haven't ever really gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to easy accommodation by the U.S. One of the latest waves of German immigrants didn't really scare the U.S. because the religions of the Germans were spread out, there were Jews, Catholics, Protestants, etc. With such a spread out the U.S. did not fear them because they felt like they weren't a single entity that would try to overtake the U.S.

You should also note that any group that comes over in mostly large numbers of young males without families will scare the living bajeebas out of the dominant group because they feel like it is a bunch of young guys trying to have sex with their women and thus watering down the dominant groups culture.

Which is actually a valid threat, in fact in the U.S. whites are expected to be the numerical minority sometime soon, even though whites will probably remain the dominant group for most of the United States' existence.

  • Up to your saying "valid threat" I agreed with most of your points. I disagree with that one. Some facts to support your thesis would be helpful. - 0057ed01 Nov 28, 2009 flag
1 Vote

One time when I was 20 and in a very small village in la Mancha, Spain, housewives actually pulled their children off the street and shut their curtains because there was a "US woman" in town. It was an interesting experience

I have had the opposite experience. Just within my immediate family, during visits to the Ukraine, the Philippines and Latin America, many individuals have treated us like we were famous people or royalty, just because we were from America. In the Ukraine, several people asked to "touch" my daughter and several people she was traveling with when they found out they were American. I know this is not a sentiment shared by everyone, it is just funny how different our experiences have been.

1 Vote

One time when I was 20 and in a very small village in la Mancha, Spain, housewives actually pulled their children off the street and shut their curtains because there was a "US woman" in town. It was an interesting experience

big surprise big surprise

  • Back in the mid-70's, Jamaicans were also fearful of Americans. With good reason: they were turning a small fishing village into a hedonistic place. - 0057ed01 Nov 28, 2009 flag
1 Vote

A heartfelt thank you to all of you smile Between everything I think I will have more than enough ideas smile smile smile I can't say enough how much I love this sight smile

1 Vote

One last idea: it might be very useful for you to tap into the social psychological literature regarding ingroups and outgroups. There have been fascinating studies including the famous "Robber's Cave" studies. In particular, the research has tended to show that mere exposure to a different group (cultural group, political group) etc. alone does NOT change prejudices and existing stereotypes. The thing that does result in such a change is when the members of the different groups need to work together to achieve a common goal -- when they become interdependent (as can happen in multiracial or multicultural neighborhoods, for example). Of course, this is much easier to do if children are raised in an environment, like a multicultural school, where they must interact and do projects with other kids, etc. There is a large literature on this, and it would certainly add some depth to your study. On the other hand, there are sites like www.couchsurfing.org where people volunteer to let others from far away come stay in their home while they are visiting their country. This is obviously a group of very open individuals/families.

Hope this is useful!

  • My daughter is five and goes to a multi-cultural school :) I love it, they offer four languages, including sign!! - sunshinzmomm Nov 28, 2009 flag
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