Mechanical

Culture

Perhaps what most intrigues me about the UK are the inevitable cultural issues which will arise. Culture, when viewed without context, can be a curious thing. I've had women get very upset with me for holding a door open because I'm being patronizing to women. What??? I could equally argue that women in the deep South were the ones in the wrong for expecting men to run around and open doors for them. Give me a break, folks. Culture is culture and so long as all parties are consenting, no harm, no foul.

While culture is frequently exhibited in behavior (I still don't feel comfortable wearing a hat indoors but it's no longer universally considered rude), more often than not, the issues arise through language. When my brother in London told me he was getting pissed, I felt very uncomfortable until I realized he was "getting drunk". When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, I couldn't help but laugh the first time a lady offered me a "pop" because I was used to little kids referring to "pop" and adults referring to "soda". I heard a grown woman talking like a little child.

Perhaps one of the worst issues with culture arose in Texas when I first realized that my friends' use of the word "nigger" was offensive. Vowing to not be a racist, I altered my vocabulary to show proper respect. This shocked my mother. She, to her credit, informed me that the word I was looking for was "black", not "negro". That I could have thought "negro" was acceptable tells you a lot about Texas culture (and perhaps why so many Texans like Bush).
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'Negro' was considered a respectful word for blacks when I was growing up in India, although 'African' was far more common. I don't think it has anything to do with Texas culture, although certainly there may have been people in Texas who used the word derisively. I think the main reason it has become verboten in the last few decades is the association/resemblance to 'nigger'.
Were blacks in India more likely to be directly from Africa as opposed to merely being of African descent? I really don't know much about India, so it's just a guess.
There aren't many blacks in India. Those that are, are often students or other people who are there temporarily - most are from Africa. You see a lot of African students in Pune.
Well, there's another reason for me not to rush to visit Texas.

I have a few friends who work in India. One works at the Embassy for her country. She can't wait to leave because of the treatment she and other Africans are getting from many Indians. She has received ill treatment from high-ranking officials and from beggars in the street.

She's a really nice person, and is not quick to judge people by a single act of bad behaviour but after a few years of this, she's hitting her limit.
Me, too. She's got a lot of inner strength and has managed to meet many nice people, so she does have a buffer. It was a bit of a shock when she first mentioned it though, because she is not one to get upset about things like this, and if incidents occur, she has always found something to laugh at and she isn't laughing now. She's in Delhi. I don't know if that makes a difference.

These things happen. Life goes on. ;)
When I was a little Texas girl in the late 50s and 60s, Negro was the polite term. Colored was also acceptable. Black didn't come into vogue until I was in junior high. If I had ever said "nigger" Mama would have washed my mouth out with soap. Decent people did NOT use that word. If you heard somebody use it, it was a sure sign that that person was redneck trash.
When I was a little girl I remember the definition for nigger was in the dictionary and very different from the one I just found!!!! This is what I just found...
nigger




nig·ger [ níggər ] (plural nig·gers)


noun

Definition:

1. a highly offensive term for a black person


2. a highly offensive term for a dark-skinned person


[Late 17th century. Alteration of Negro1]


When I was little the definition was something akin to nigger was a person with a bad attitude. I don't remember there being a reference to color. I cannot find the dictionary that had this old definition.
The old definition of Nigger
(Anonymous)
Im almost 50 and I remember looking it up and I remember very well that I read it meant "stupid". Now its all about the black race.
Re: The old definition of Nigger
(Anonymous)
I've been searching for the "60's" definition of "nigger" because I also remember looking it up as a child and being impressed at the dictionary reality versus the social reality. I remember feeling such an immediate confusion about how that definition...which could obviously be attached to persons of ANY ethnicity...was attached to one group. I knew it was wrong and unjust - and I embraced the literal definition. I know that throughout my life I have looked at persons of various ethinic groups (NOT African American) and thought: "that person seems to fit the dictionary definition..." I seem to remember it reflecting "ignorance" and behavior. Have you found anything else about this? I'm trying to reconcile with my wondering of why humans can be so hurtful toward humans...
Thanks!
Cookie
mama to Diego: 07/29/2000 - 08/02/2006
www.carepages.com / DiegoLand
Re: The old definition of Nigger
I KNOW!!! im 23 and i remember lookin it up not too long ago and it meant "ignorant". I think its REDICULOUS they completely changed the meaning of the word!!!
Re: The old definition of Nigger
It's not that someone sat down and changed the meaning of the word. It's that words change over time. For example, "awful" used to mean "worthy of awe". Read about etymology to better understand this. There's nothing ridiculous about this.
You're an intelligent, self-aware guy. You seem to be culturally aware. You will do *fine* here :)
They are totally going to eat your brain and stuff your body to put on display. Or maybe that was the *other* England I visited a few years ago. It's so hard to remeber where I end up leaping to.. Al has to keep reminding me..
Hey there... Sorry I didn't get to catch ya at Noir on Saturday (had to work). We're gonna miss ya lots, but I know it's a great opportunity!!

*hugs*

Jen : )
I find people are much ruder these days...Politeness goes a long ways...for example wearing a hat indoors...holding doors...remaining seated when a woman gets up...helping in and out of chairs and coats etc. It annoys me somewhat we seem to be getting slovenly and rude as a people
All hours drinking
Links to Pub guide above are very good worth a read!

Note - England has finally abolsihed most of the crazy drinking hours regulations, however, you will find a lot of pubs still shut at 11 ish :-((