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Thread: Cultural Awareness

  1. #1

    Default Cultural Awareness

    Has anyone ever been outside of the "comfort zone" before? How about, even realizing just because that's the way A. does it, B. should be exactly the same, but could be vastly different than what you are used to and nether are right or wrong?

    Let me get to my point, I'm proud to be an American, BUT I've also never taken the time out to expand my horizon (besides TV, but lets not even go there), nor have traveled aboard (or even to Canada for that matter and it's closer lol)

    If you aren't interested in how the rest of the world views, reacts or does, then the only aspects of life you have to go on, is what you see in front of you, on a day in and day out basis, ever since you've been old enough to understand anything.

    I accuse myself for being one of ignorance (which is even more funny coming from an African American lol), but something has now awoken within me to see things just a little bit differently.

    It would be nice to take my head out of my own ass and look around a little bit. Hell, I might even cure my depression!!

    I believe I once saw a tag here that said "Stop the ignorance and get the knowledge." Truer Words have never been spoken, for now I wish to become a student of life.

    Thank you all for taking the time out to read this <3

  2. #2


    This is a good example of the "cultural difference".

    There is the ones that can look at group a and b and see the difference and make a diverse atmosphere that everyone can work in.

    Then there is the group a and group b that can't see (no scratch that) Will not consider the other sides point of view and do nothing but complain about what the other has or they do not have.

  3. #3


    Yes, I have been outside my comfort zone. Having spent time outside the US, I know diversity and how there is more than one correct way to have breakfast. Even learned to eat rice often instead of potatoes. It was even served with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Another Thanksgiving away from home, fried plantains were served and the entire dinner was mildly spicy, even the gravy.

    Travelling outside of America is not required to know diversity. Just seeing more of America than your own neighborhood will be plenty. I (a pale white guy) have driven over most of this country except the northeast region. My race would not matter except for this one story. In Georgia, I stopped for fuel in this one little town and noticed everyone staring at me. After fueling up, I drive across the street to McDonalds and went in for lunch. The place went silent and started stairing at me as soon as I entered. Looking around while waiting to order, it dawned on me that everyone had dark black skin. There was not a single white person in the town that I had seen. That was probably why everyone was staring. As soon as I started ordering my food, everyone else started ignoring me and went back to their food and conversations. My Oregon accent told everyone I was clueless where I was. Not much diversity there. This was 2008.

    It is easy to get comfortable with how we do things and not realize others may see things differently. It never dawned on me taking that freeway exit was about to make a lot of people uncomfortable. No other time in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, or anywhere else have I seen that. It was just that one town in all of my travels.

    Leaving a big city and entering the rural areas is another culture shock. Where I come from, cashiers greet everyone and try to make polite conversation. This is especially true for really small towns where everyone knows everyone and the person entering is a stranger. Had a friend with me in one such store out in the middle of nowhere. He was so freaked out he just wanted to leave without anything for lunch. All he could think about was small town horror movies. When we got back out to the vehicle, I had to explain why the cashier asked so many questions and why I was comfortable there. Simple: just like back home. Big city stores are too busy to talk that much and are not so concerned about politeness. Small towns will boycot a store to ruin for one rude cashier.

    There are so many areas where cultural diversity can occur. Food, language, customs, and clothing can all vary. I have heard some southern groups like fried chicken and watermelon. My family grew up considering barbecued chicken and watermelon a rare treat. We had baked chicken much more often. Even the words used for carbonated beverages vary. Some places call them soda, others say pop, and the weird ones say soda pop. Can you pick one? There is so much available to learn.

    More important than knowing the specific variations is recognizing that diversity does exist and accepting it. Try not to offend other cultures like showing the bottom of your shoe to Arabs. When in Asia, eat rice with chopsticks and respect their culture. When in Texas, try the barbecue. It is also good to be aware that some are not as familiar with diversity as others. Politeness and sincerity will cover many errors. May we embrace diversity.

  4. #4


    I'm typing this while really tired so hopefully it makes sense.

    I believe this is hugely important. I traveled extensively and it was amazing how different even a similar culture like the American culture is to Australian. Different cultures have so much to offer.

    I agree with that small town thing in the USA Jeremiah. I went to NYC and few people serving smiled. Went to the country areas and I've yet to meet a friendlier group of people in my travels. I love how varied the US cultures are. People may look the same, speak the same language but often their culture is different.

    Unfortunately, many people don't do this traveling or really get immerse themselves in it. Australians travel a lot but tend to seek out other Australian's because they're too scared to really become part of another culture. They also tend to critisise the other cultures instead of exploring it while at the same time really putting on their own "Australianisms." Australian accents become unbearably thick as soon as they step foot on American soil.

    Australia is made up of 25% first generation immigrants and another 25% that are their children. We have a lot of cultures in our country. You'd think we would be very inclusive but, as a country, Australia can't seem to stand other cultures. Every time a new one comes there's a huge uproar and massive racism. In the 50s it was the Italian's and the Germans. (My dad experienced that one) In the 70s it was the Vietnamese. Today it's the Muslim nations. This is all due to the lack of tolerance Australia feels for other cultures. Muslim women in Australia are targeted regularly (to the point where it's not news) on public transport for wearing a hijab. They've had coffee thrown on them, their scarves ripped off.. but mostly just verbally abused. My friend, who's a very strong woman, experiences it weekly in larger rural town.

    I believe Australia is a better country because we are made up of so many different cultures. Unfortunately, Australia is so intolerant of other cultures that this melding of cultures takes multiple generations. Through my business and my teaching I know a lot of Muslims with ocker Australian accents who love our country and who's families have been here longer than mine has... but now feel isolated from our culture because Australian's won't let them join in. These cultures have a lot to offer Australia. For example, I like the modesty of the Islamic cultures and think this would benefit Australia. I hate to see 12 year olds and younger walking around in outfits that teach them that girls are sex objects or that they need make up to be considered pretty. I think people should be allowed to wear this but it should also be normal for kids to dress modestly and be appreciated for their personality traits. I also love the charity in these Islamic cultures. All practicing Muslims give 2.5% of their pay to charity and volunteer if they can. Muslim 15-25 year olds in Australia have the highest rate of volunteering out of any group with a whopping 86% of them donating their time. (Australian young people are pretty awesome too with 35%.. which is amazing when compared to previous generations) Imagine if all Australian's volunteered as much as our Muslim countrymen?

    The other culture I've been immersed in is a traditional Australian culture. There are hundreds of Aboriginal cultures in Australia just like the USA has a lot of native American tribes. The Wongartha culture was in the area I taught in and had a lot of cool things that would benefit Australian culture.
    Their family structure is you have a mum and dad, brothers and sisters.. but then your cousins are also your brothers and sisters. Older brothers are cooled Barda (insert name) (for example, Barda Peter) and are respected but have the responsibility of looking out for the little kids. In the area I taught there was a lot of bad things happening such as neglect, drug and sexual abuse but I always loved to see how caring the older kids were with the younger ones. I had a kid in my class who had a mental disability. He was eleven but developmentally around 4 or 5 year old due to fetal alcohol syndrome. He was helped by all the kids in town. If someone picked on him, that kid was in trouble with every other kid. I even had a teenager give me a talking to when I made the boy cry. (It was sorted out when the teenager found I was justified in giving him a timeout though. ) You never saw this kid by himself because all the other kids always involved him in their games.

    Younger kids are called Bubba (insert name) but are still expected to look after anyone who is younger than them. You see the dynamic even play out among 2 and 3 year olds.

    The other thing that Australia needs from this culture is their respect for the elderly. Every old women is "Nanna (insert name)" and the really respected ones were the elders who were hugely important with keeping the kids in line.
    But the best cultural difference was the great-grandparents. They were called "Daughter" or "Son" by their great-grandchildren. This was weird at first until one of the elders explained it. A grandparent and parent has the responsibility to look after children. But children have the responsibility to look after the great-grandparents. Children look after great grandparents and the very old as if they're their children. So they are the children's "Daughter" or "Son." So you never see a really old person alone in this town. They always have a kid with them who helps them. There were only 5 of these old people in town and they always sat on a bench in the middle of town and there was always a group of kids with them. There's such a huge amount of respect from the kids built into the culture. But you wouldn't know it if you only pass through. They seem very loud, annoying and they would be considered very disrespectful by normal Australian standards. They swear LOTS. B you see the respect come out as soon as one of these old people open their mouth. Every kid goes instantly quiet to listen to what they have to say. Or if you are really well liked in the community, like most of our teachers and police were, you received a huge amount of respect.

    But if you do one bad thing to the people in town you'll never be forgiven and it'll never be forgotten.

    Here's a youtube of this group. (And no, I didn't teach in that town they said.. their culture spreads hundreds of kilometres)

    Anyway... I love different cultures. It's so interesting and I love the way being part of that culture changes the way you think.

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