All cultures are guilty of some insensitivity to others. Americans seem to be the worst. We not only expect visitors from other countries to think and act American when here in the States, we expect American behavior when we visit other countries. While we are all human and an energy running from source, there are unique differences in all of us based upon experiences, education, birth family, language, spiritual practices and birth country. God Source intended it to be this way.
We use many excuses for our feelings, yet the truth is, we’re being disrespectful. I once had a job in the hospitality business. We were expected to smile and look every visitor directly in the eyes. Approximately 90% of our guests were American, so this was not a huge issue. We still had that 10% who were of other cultures and I’m sure some were either offended or caught off guard by our seemingly ill manners.
We have many other culturally diverse communities here in the States. Almost every major city has an area where immigrants live, work and socialize with their culture. Some examples of non-American cultural influence are:
Native Americans consider it disrespectful to make direct eye contact unless you are intimate with the person. I’m not speaking of only physical intimacy. Family, close friends, and of course spouses all fall into the category of intimate.
However, in Austria it’s rude to not make eye contact when toasting and clinking glasses.
In some oriental cultures it is bad manners to cross your legs and/or expose the bottom of your feet.
In China it is considered bad manners to eat everything on your plate. It indicates the host didn’t give you enough to eat. You are expected to leave a few bites of each course to show you are satisfied. This is also true in The United Kingdom.
In France you should keep both hands visible at all times during the meal.
These are merely examples of some cultural differences. With the unification of cultures around the world, I believe it is becoming increasingly important to be knowledgeable, understanding and considerate of others cultural background in order to foster friendship, trust and diplomacy among all peoples.
Leave a comment below of something culturally unique about your family, where you live or your country of origin.