Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,

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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).
Tags: family, language, my past, philosophy, politics, travel
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