I want to start this off by saying that some people may read my entries and realize that it is you I am referring to in something I have written. I just want to remind you that this is my space, for my thoughts. That is all.
I have come to realize that there is no safe place to discuss cultural differences when it comes to Americans. Even my own ethnic community sometimes seem far removed from the cultural differences of our own people. The cultural differences that have oftentimes made us the subjects of subjugation and othering by the majority populations wherever we reside. I think that economic situations may factor into this, although I am not sure. Sometimes it seems as if those of us who were raised in middle upper to upper class families are a bit more far removed and have more in common with the dominant upper middle/middle class in general, I dont know. Im not sure how accurate that part is, but I do know that when discussing some of the cultural differences between me and my husband……there arent many who understand. And some even mock or make fun of or have otherwise negative things to say about things that I see as simple cultural differences between my husband and I. My husband was raised in somewhat of a “hermit kingdom” (that is a bit of an exaggeration..but Saudi Arabia is so vastly different and unknown and unfathomable to most westerners that it may as well be).
When I actually take the time to talk about some of the differences between the way he was raised and educated and the way I was raised and educated…the ugly western-centric or even Ameri-centric sentiment seeps out from between the cracks of people who I thought were otherwise, open, tolerant, understanding and intelligent.
I have never been one to look at people from other countries and think them dumb or not smart because of the cultural framework within which they were brought up. Sometimes I may think things about that cultural framework are absurd, but, this has never struck me as a reason to think less of the people raised within them. I certainly cannot imagine being raised in a place like Saudi Arabia or North Korea, etc and then trying to navigate my way around the United States as an adult, alone. I cannot fathom their reality and there are definitely aspects of their realities that I am aware of, and I dont have the best opinions about some of those realities…but socioreligious and sociocultural indoctrination is a very powerful thing and I have the utmost respect for anyone fighting to tear it down in their own life.
So why does it seem that so many Americans* (*westerners) do not fight to tear down their own sociocultural indoctrination? Do they think that it doesnt exist or is it a case of their privilege being so normalized that they dont have have any idea that they are the victims of sociocultural indoctrination at all? I am not sure.
But….it is frustrating. I have always been incredibly cautious when it comes to who I discuss the inter-cultural workings of my marriage with. Sometimes the differences between us are funny. Sometimes they are frustrating. Sometimes they are cute, and endearing. Sometimes they are alarming. But I understand why they are alarming. I know enough to be careful that I do not project my own idea of “normal” and “right” onto anyone else. I know that my reality and my morality is largely subjective. I am constantly trying to check any subconcious ameri-centricism.
I guess I just feel that it shouldnt be so hard for others to do the same.