Friday, December 21, 2012

Challenging Western Culture: An Introduction
QUOTE: "Many people who come here from where you are from do not like it here. You may not like it here. I visited where you live and I was surprised. Where you are from is almost UN-AMERICAN!"

This was said to me during an interview for a PhD program out of state. I did not get accepted. But this was a comment from a professor near the East Coast.

At the time I was almost offended. What is American? Was this meant as an insult? Or was this person trying to say something else? If where I live is "UN-AMERICAN" then what makes a place "AMERICAN?" And how can you tell if a place is AMERICAN? Where does the stereotype of AN AMERICAN come from?

Western culture can be compared and contrasted to Eastern culture. Mostly, every culture and subculture pretty much believes that WE ARE RIGHT, AND THEY ARE WRONG. Or at least more right. But what can we challenge about Western culture?

Western culture is not just the United States, but it is also Western Europe. Immigrants to the "New World" brought with them many ideas and ways. Primarily religion and it's social contexts, along with mores and social norms (which stemmed from religion).

Where I live, there is a lot of Eastern influence. There is a large Japanese, Indian, Chinese, and Korean population along with the population of Middle Easterners. Please, continue reading.

I am not here to group everybody into a box, but rather
to explain those boxes.
And to show that those boxes have clearer and more liquid walls than we may see.

In my neighborhood you can walk the shopping centers. There you will find people speaking in non-English languages. You will find store names that are not in English. You will find people dressed in clothing from their native lands. You will see people participating in customs that are not native to the U.S. You will see children explaining, translating English, to their non-English speaking folks what a flier says, in the parent's native tongue. Most of the foreign languages you will hear near my home are Japanese, Korean, and Hindi. Down the street about 30 minutes there are many Tagalog and other Filipino languages spoken. Spanish is nearly everywhere. My neighbors are from a different country. My dad is from a different country. Half my family are immigrants. THIS IS NORMAL HERE.

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