How Our Culture and the Culture of the “Other” Came to be
Many cultures may look strange to us,
but not to the “others”.
And our culture may look strange to the “others”
but not to us.
That simple fact is the beginning of understanding.
We may feel that our culture is simply
the way things have been, are, and ought to be.
The “others” likely feel the same way
about their culture.
We and the “others” were not born
with the rules of our cultures;
we learnt them
from parents and elders,
teachers, and peers,
In both cultures
we and the “others” absorbed
the do’s and don’ts of our cultures –
appropriate and inappropriate emotionality,
ways of speaking,
interacting with elders and
people of different sexes,
and much more.
We were taught our culture’s beliefs and values,
rites and rituals,
ways of solving problems,
expressing joy, or sadness, or grief,
and much more.
In both cultures, these rules were taught
as the ways to live, to survive,
the ways to be in the world.
In time, we and the “others” learn our rules so well
that we no longer experience them as rules,
they become the lenses through which we view the world.
Except we don’t see our lens
and how it shapes what we see.
Instead, we believe we see the world
as it reallyis.
Neither we nor the “others”
experience our culture as an option,
as one of many possibilities.
Each of us experiences our culture as
the way things are or ought to be.
And then we meet.
Our Culture Encounters the “Other”
Loose and Tight, Liberal and Conservative, Pure and Conflicted, Tolerance and Purity Solutions
So now our culture encounters the “other.”
The “other” may have immigrated to our culture.
Or we may have conquered them.
Or they have may have once been invisible in our culture,
and now they have become prominent.
Through our cultural lens
the cultural behavior of the “other” appears
Wrong language, dress, emotionality, skin color, rites and rituals, and so on.
Since our cultural rules are experienced
as the way to live, to survive, to be,
the cultural behavior of the “other” is experienced
as upsetting of our culture,
as weakening it,
or coarsening it,
and, potentially, as threatening its survival.
And we react.
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