Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cultural differences.

From Sunday's New York Times.

"To be an ugly tourist is to miss the fundamental truth in Mr. Martin’s statement. “It is to have an overall lack of understanding that there is such a thing as cultural difference,” wrote Prof. Inga Treitler, the secretary for the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology, in an e-mail message."

Food for thought for those of us moving to another culture.


msdee said...

I don't think everyone has a complete lack of understanding of other cultures, that is a generalized statement. There are some people who study and embrace other cultures so that they can fully enjoy the experience with a new perspective of the world without offending the indigenous of said culture.
Wow I either sounded really smart or really stupid ha!

Mondale said...

I'm thinking in particular about moving to another culture rather than just visiting it. The comment stopped me in my tracks and really got me thinking. For instance, I've often been bemused by British folk who assume that America is simply an extended version of the UK with a funny accent. It's so vastly different in so many hard to percieve ways. And in return, with our move back to Britain it's time to consider the different culture and values that exist there.
My main thing, I suppose is that I want to tackle an arrogance that can sometimes exist when different cultures meet, I think that's what the article was about. It's no good steamrolling each other nor is it any good for either culture to give way entirely.

msdee said...

got ya! I understand

weasel said...

I'm with you on this one. Spot on, good post. I've semi-wished for ages that the national language of the US was Serbo-Croat so that British visitors didn't wander around apparently dumbfounded that people do things differently in another English-speaking country.

Of course, its not just the States that suffers. One time a certain retired RAF officer from my gene pool went to visit his uncle in Thailand. Upon his return he remarked that Thailand was great but "awfully foreign".