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S/o International people views on Americans


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7 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

You need to just eat your delicious people soup and stop being so delicate.  

A whole generation of Americans can't think about conjunctions without singing the Conjunction Junction song.  School House Rock did a number on us. Don't get me started on the No More Kings song.  

 

8 minutes ago, Valley Girl said:

Not to mention ... how else would a student learn the Preamble to the Constitution?


Or how a bill becomes a law?

ETA: Anyone hankering for a hunk of cheese?

 

 

 

P.S. How do you do the quote within a quote thing? I’ve never figured it out. 

Edited by brehon
Wow! What a trip down memory lane.
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The discussion isn't are all Americans like this or do the non-Americans on the board think this is what all Americans are like. The discussion is why do those who generalize think this way. Amer

I am not wasting time on disclaimers, since you all know that lumping people into a group doesn't account for the individual. But here's what comes to mind (and when I say "Americans", I obviously do

Don't shoot the messenger; these are not all my opinions: On a geopolitical level: interfering in the affairs of other countries (friend or foe) and generally throwing weight around.  Dominant co

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Just now, brehon said:

 


Or how a bill becomes a law?

 

 

 

P.S. How do you do the quote within a quote thing? I’ve never figured it out. 

Now this thread has done it. I've got those songs in my head and I. Cannot. Get. Them. Out.

Gonna have to roll with it today, I guess.

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My graduating class was 28 kids. Our school offered both Spanish and German, but both were via satellite. The year after I graduated, they started offering Mandarin and maybe some others through an internet program. I don't know more than that, because I had left by that point.

The not terribly large school my daughter volunteers at has over 20 languages represented in their FOO's.  The school my kids are zoned for have very few. Both are about equidistant from our house, but one is in the city and one is rural.

I'm sure all of the local schools offer foreign language instruction, but I'm not sure how many languages are offered at all of them. We have one bilingual school where classes are taught in English half the day and Spanish half the day. I love that. If my kids had gone to school, I would have tried to get them in there.

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7 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

You need to just eat your delicious people soup and stop being so delicate.  

A whole generation of Americans can't think about conjunctions without singing the Conjunction Junction song.  School House Rock did a number on us. Don't get me started on the No More Kings song.  

My brother was a 2 time Citizen Bee National finalist (competition for high school students on Civics and US Government) and according to him, whenever there was a question in the written rounds on the preamble, you could tell when anyone got to it because they would start humming. These were the top 2 students from each state, plus a handful from US bases abroad, US Territories, and one from Washington DC. I figured that was a good justification for using songs as a big part of our homeschooling until DD got old enough to fight me on it :). And indeed, I kept hearing Geography Songs in my head every time a place name was mentioned in the world Congress. Sigh....

 

My high school offered French, Spanish, or Latin. Since the highest performing kids were encouraged to take Latin (the better to get high SAT scores) that meant a lot of us left high school with one spoken language. There are a few bilingual magnet schools in my area (and I rather wish I’d had the money to send DD to the triple immersion school where each class had a teacher who spoke only English, one who spoke only Spanish, and one who spoke only Mandarin to the kids. That might have been worth dealing with the school for.), but most schools do not begin foreign language until 8th or 9th grade, and few kids get any level of fluency. It is normal for University level classes to begin from scratch-and end with minimal fluency as well. Efforts for kids who come in speaking a different home language focus on getting them fluent enough in English to join a mainstream class, and while some subjects may be taught in their home language in the meantime, it is a stopgap. 

Immigrant parents who want their child to actually be fluent in their home language send them to German School, Chinese School, Korean School, etc, which are run by community groups for their kids, but if you are outside that community, you will never know such exist, nor be invited to participate. 

I live in Appalachia on the map, although both DH and I come from families with ties to other parts of the country and parents who moved for work reasons, and both of us have beliefs more like those original cultures. Being fluent in  second language, or more, is one of the major reasons why people I know IRL homeschool or after school. 

 

 

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I was just discussing school size with my sister yesterday. The local public high school has about 700 students per grade. I have a theory that one reason we lean toward such large schools is because competitive sports--football especially--are such a big deal. If you want to field a really strong team you need a large student body to recruit from.

The school offers Chinese, French, and Spanish, Chinese and Spanish at the AP level. Chinese has a beyond AP option for students who attended the be local Chinese immersion program beginning in elementary.

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2 hours ago, MEmama said:

Colin Woodward should be required reading in all high school US history classes, IMO. All his books are fabulous and incredibly well researched but this one particularly stands out to me. I’ve read it several times and still learn something new every time. I am encouraging DS to read it before he takes APUSH (AP US History) next year.

I'm always excited when you reference him or his work. I truly believe if every North American (includes Canadian and some Mexican history as well) read this book they would gain valuable insight and a deeper understanding of the effects that historical immigration patterns had on our current political and social cultures. 
 

Woodward lives in my general area and I keep hoping to get the chance to see him speak. 

Some of the reviews I've read and seen say he's less objective in the last 1/3 of the book, but I didn't think so. He seemed very balanced to me.  I think it's incredibly useful information, particularly for people who are locals with deep roots in places that are growing quickly with people moving from all over.  I grew up with that in Phoenix and now it's happening here in Raleigh. I think it's probably harder to take for the locals here than it was for the locals in Phoenix because of the long established cultural norms.

My daughter has what is basically a current events discussion class at our co-op. Most of the kids from here all agree on everything.  The teacher leading it took us aside and told us she was so glad my daughter had joined because it was the first time some of these kids were being exposed to someone of the same faith having very different ideas about social issues and political issues. The teacher had always been pointing out different views on each subject, but now she finally has a kid who brings them up, holds quite a few of them, and personally knows people who hold them.  Again, it's a situation where kids don't understand nuance because they haven't had to deal with it before.  Yes, you can support the legalization of something you find morally wrong and would never do without being philosophically inconsistent.  It's something those kids haven't heard before from someone in real life...and they're teens.  

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10 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

 

There's a nice little museum about the development of the combine harvester near-ish by. I found that when dd was too small to remember it. Ha. I'll put that on the list of things to do.

I live really close to a barbed wire museum. Fortunately, the museum is housed in a mansion (the guy made his fortune in barbed wire), so they weren't too upset to visit although it's a lot of barbed wire. My kids distinctly remember the fancy playhouse on the grounds. 

 

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9 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

 

What I REALLY want to know is why Canada seems to largely get a pass on everything when not one of them has explained WTH "Letterkenney" is all about.  It's really weird and they should take some responsibility for it.

 

Ive been reading this thread from the start, and I don’t actually often hit reply - but this comment made me laugh out loud for real. 

I live in the town where most of Letterkenny is filmed. That show is one of my faves and makes me laugh - mostly because it’s so terrifyingly accurate. The way they live, the things they do and say, is actual life in my area of Ontario (and from what I gather, also some small towns in rural prairie areas)  

I adore Letterkenney, and I feel strangely protective of it lol - but I do agree that it’s weird af. 

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10 hours ago, Sneezyone said:


Please refrain from telling me how I should feel about or react to the comments in this thread. Thanks.

ETA/: for those who are actually curious, I find it distasteful to stereotype people based on what they look like and how they dress not what they actually do. And demonizing people based on their national leadership is how the US got to the point of banning immigration from a variety of countries. I fail to see the humor in any of it.

We can all do with less stress in our lives. And there are a ton of boardies dealing with some very serious personal issues. A little gentleness can go a long way, instead of jumping in "guns blazing," as the saying goes.

No one is demonizing anyone here. Good grief. If you can't learn to laugh at the crazy, unexplainable ways people behave all over the world, as well as in our own backyard, then life will be pretty sad. 

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34 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Some of the reviews I've read and seen say he's less objective in the last 1/3 of the book, but I didn't think so. He seemed very balanced to me.  I think it's incredibly useful information, particularly for people who are locals with deep roots in places that are growing quickly with people moving from all over.  I grew up with that in Phoenix and now it's happening here in Raleigh. I think it's probably harder to take for the locals here than it was for the locals in Phoenix because of the long established cultural norms.

My daughter has what is basically a current events discussion class at our co-op. Most of the kids from here all agree on everything.  The teacher leading it took us aside and told us she was so glad my daughter had joined because it was the first time some of these kids were being exposed to someone of the same faith having very different ideas about social issues and political issues. The teacher had always been pointing out different views on each subject, but now she finally has a kid who brings them up, holds quite a few of them, and personally knows people who hold them.  Again, it's a situation where kids don't understand nuance because they haven't had to deal with it before.  Yes, you can support the legalization of something you find morally wrong and would never do without being philosophically inconsistent.  It's something those kids haven't heard before from someone in real life...and they're teens.  

More often than not, when speaking to people that are either looking at migrating to the U.S. or sending their children to college, North Carolina is fast becoming the first choice.

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10 hours ago, SKL said:

The US does not generally bankroll cultural events of any group, but there are many such events produced by the many communities as well as multi-cultural groups.  There are all sorts of cultural and business organizations, church/religion-run and community schools, etc. which provide pretty comprehensive exposure, mutual support, and a voice for people of various backgrounds.  Where there are concentrations of ethnic people, we have neighborhoods self-designated Polish [etc] Village, Little Italy, Chinatown, etc.

I am not sure why the government would need to educate immigrants about their birth cultures.  For that matter, I don't know why anyone would want the government deciding that kind of message for their children.

I wonder how much of that in Canada was related to the movements in Quebec to ... well, I won't put words in their mouths, and I don't remember it clearly, but from what I understand, Quebec is a powerful force and a bit rebellious against being subjected to central Canadian rule, and some of the governmental differences, such as requiring French translations of everything, is the result of having to work out compromises (which not all Canadians agree with).

The other part is probably because the US generally prefers a "smaller government" and more local and individual control over most details.

In terms of foreign languages, a couple things.  First, in areas with a lot of kids who speak a given foreign language at home, schools are available that teach in those languages as well as in English.  That said, most immigrants and bilingual families are more concerned that their child learn English [in school] in order to keep their career options open etc.  Second, foreign language is a normal funded part of public education - different systems offer different amounts of education, but afaik every public high school offers at least a couple languages other than English - and these would include the language(s) most commonly spoken in the region, as well as other(s).  Though I don't know how much value that adds as far as studying the language one already speaks at home. 

For a few groups, most notably Hispanics, there are special rules and government-funded programs intended to prevent uneven / discriminatory educational outcomes.

Now, politicians like to get involved in the various movements / activities.  They have their initiatives etc.  They have some funding behind these initiatives.  But these are not what the communities rely on to celebrate, preserve, and pass on culture.

Yes, it does seem to be more the "American way" to let people chose how to spend their money and where to put their personal resources. I prefer that myself to higher taxes and more government trying to be "all things" when they do most things pretty poorly.  And the international languages education is for the children, grandchildren of immigrants or anyone with an interest. It's open to all.  Recent immigrants would be more likely to take the government-funded English/French education classes. 

I won't go into Quebec at all. That is a thread (on the "dark forum" 😉) of its own. It's very complicated, very political, and potentially inflammatory. I'd compare it a little to Northern Ireland. And I would not be able to give a well rounded account on my own. A Quebecer would be needed. I'd love to include a New Brunswicker as well, as being the only province that is officially bilingual. Federal bilingualism is very different than provincial bilingualism. Quebec is unilingual with French.

French is not considered a foreign language. It's one of the 2 official languages in Canada, so there will never be French offered at the international languages classes.

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11 hours ago, StellaM said:

 

Who knows? It's difficult to discount the role of the Russians on the European front(s).

If we just consider the Pacific, I'd say they were more decisive.

 

Yeah... but I've read too much of how the Russians handled the territories they "liberated" to think that leaving the entire continent to their tender mercies had they had a bigger part in winning the war on that front wouldn't have profoundly impacted everything going forward, and not in a good way. They were remarkably brutal in victory.

I'm far from proud of everything the United States military has been responsible for over the years--I lived in Nagasaki long enough to understand a small part of the real horror of the bomb dropped there for example. We did handle management of occupied territories after WWII with much more humanity than the Soviet forces did though.

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20 minutes ago, maize said:

Yeah... but I've read too much of how the Russians handled the territories they "liberated" to think that leaving the entire continent to their tender mercies had they had a bigger part in winning the war on that front wouldn't have profoundly impacted everything going forward, and not in a good way. They were remarkably brutal in victory.

I'm far from proud of everything the United States military has been responsible for over the years--I lived in Nagasaki long enough to understand a small part of the real horror of the bomb dropped there for example. We did handle management of occupied territories after WWII with much more humanity than the Soviet forces did though.

I think the Marshall Plan, while not perfect, was one of the shining moments of humanity in that dark time. I had hoped that we would take a lesson from that plan in more modern times. 

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18 hours ago, SKL said:

IME people in the US are accepting of visitors even without all these "rules" I'm hearing like "at least learn how to speak some of the local language" and "dress as they do" and "only eat the standard local type of food."  IME nobody here expects that of a tourist.  Nobody actually cares. 

 

Oh yes they do.  I had some Chinese kids stay with me for 2 weeks and took them out shopping. A woman that I barely knew (she was a mom of another kid and I had seen her in passing at various functions) was working in an electronics store and I told her how I was hosting visitors from China for 2 weeks.  The kids were talking to each other about the products and she said to them, “You need to speak English here.”

Like someone else posted upthread—there are many different subcultures here in the US and they can be in direct opposition to each other.  Around here, I know a number of people who if you say anything (anything) negative about the US, their comeback is always, “Don’t like it? Leave.”  

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1 hour ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

We were at Niagra Falls, US side. While waiting for what seemed like forever for our guests to pick out souvenirs, I heard the cashier complaining about how stupid the Asian tourists were because all the crap they sold was made in China. We saw Americans get off a church bus from a nearby city and then swarm a large group of Amish men and take pics. Another person ran up and said that they don’t really like being in photos, and the church group actually loudly complained, saying then that if they don’t like America they could leave. I’m guessing the Amish lived about the same distance from Buffalo that these nitwits lived. The concept of the Ugly American has been around for decades and decades. Mark Twain has quite the good time with that truth.

But really, that’s just ugly human being. Might have been Americans that time, but ugly behavior isn’t bound by nationality, sadly. 
Thankfully it’s the exception and not the rule. We just notice and remember the exception because it’s loud.

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23 hours ago, wintermom said:

 

This promotion of multiculturalism in Canada is supported by various levels of government through direct funding and other support for things like: international languages education is offered to children and adults in schools and community settings, and community cultural festivals. There are also the private cultural parts of cities (e.g., China town, Little Italy), private language and culture classes, and many business who sell international foods.  

All of these things happen in the US.

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13 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Wow, I went to a school with 800-ish students and the local high school my kids are districted for has over 2800 this school year! I know some schools are small but I’ve never personally seen a public one outside of rural Alaska that is under 200 kids.

Take a look at a map of IA. There are small towns pretty evenly spread throughout every single part of the state. It doesn’t have the geographical barriers or differences of many other states and virtually all of the land can be used for farming. The vast majority of those small towns have at least one school. People have far fewer children these days than when I grew up there surrounded by double digit sized Catholic families and went to a high school of under 250 (representing three towns), but small towns do not want to lose their schools. For athletic competitions, my high school was not even in the smallest size classification.

Even in my current state of Oregon, there are some very small schools in the rural eastern portion of the state. There are counties there that are larger in area than some other states, so the distance between towns is too large to just combine all students for high school. For sports here now, the smallest classification (1A) is for fewer than 90 students in the high school and the next (2A) is for fewer than 205.

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I haven't been following this thread terribly closely. My experience, as an American tourist and someone who lives in an area frequented by tourists, is that tourists in general tend to stand out. They are obviously not comfortable even if they are enjoying themselves. Overseas, I think Americans are typically a little heavier than people are in most places. I don't consider myself terribly overweight, and my genes are heavy on the British Isles, but even there, where you would think I'd blend nicely, I felt rather large. Moreso in other international spots. Tourists in groups tend to lose perspective. It's like they are watching the whole experience on television or something. I suppose also there's a sense of "I'll never see these people again." I try to give people grace because who knows how others interpret my behavior when I'm traveling.

Years ago I was taking my then-11 yo to visit the Southwest, looking at places where we used to live but that she did not remember. It was April, and somewhat chilly, but felt warm to the Alaska girl, and she was eager to play in the water at one of the state parks. I will never forget the small crowd of tourists that gathered around her to watch and shoot photos. You can only see a couple of onlookers in the photo below (one shooting his own photo), but there were many and it was funny. I imagine they thought we were local, but we were just a couple of fellow foolish tourists ;-)

4412_1140187179513_7874178_n.jpg

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14 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Wow, I went to a school with 800-ish students and the local high school my kids are districted for has over 2800 this school year! I know some schools are small but I’ve never personally seen a public one outside of rural Alaska that is under 200 kids.

Our local public school only has about 12 kids per grade, so approximately 50 high schoolers. This is in the rural midwest.

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7 hours ago, maize said:

I was just discussing school size with my sister yesterday. The local public high school has about 700 students per grade. I have a theory that one reason we lean toward such large schools is because competitive sports--football especially--are such a big deal. If you want to field a really strong team you need a large student body to recruit from.

At least when I was growing up in IA, high school athletics were also a very big thing and almost everyone did at least one sport,  but it didn’t matter what size high school you attended because at least for conference, district, and state championships, you were competing against schools of similar size. You might compete against larger schools during the regular season to hone your skills, but all of the championships were based on school size. For cross country and track, we had at least 25% of the school population competing and we didn’t even have a track. But we won numerous championships, including many state titles.  Similarly for baseball, they had enough players and pitchers to field several teams and to this day my hometown, with its Field of Dreams ball field surrounded by a cornfield, regularly wins state championships.

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13 hours ago, arctic_bunny said:

I’ve been reading through this whole thread, searching for something to apologize for! I’ve never seen the show, but I’m sorry it’s weird!

 

So weird.  It must be a party in the writer's room, though.  I imagine they're like 'Ok, here's a thing.  We need 15 different ways to describe it.  Annnnd GO."

8 hours ago, dmmetler said:

My brother was a 2 time Citizen Bee National finalist (competition for high school students on Civics and US Government) and according to him, whenever there was a question in the written rounds on the preamble, you could tell when anyone got to it because they would start humming. These were the top 2 students from each state, plus a handful from US bases abroad, US Territories, and one from Washington DC. I figured that was a good justification for using songs as a big part of our homeschooling until DD got old enough to fight me on it :). And indeed, I kept hearing Geography Songs in my head every time a place name was mentioned in the world Congress. Sigh....

 

My high school offered French, Spanish, or Latin. Since the highest performing kids were encouraged to take Latin (the better to get high SAT scores) that meant a lot of us left high school with one spoken language. There are a few bilingual magnet schools in my area (and I rather wish I’d had the money to send DD to the triple immersion school where each class had a teacher who spoke only English, one who spoke only Spanish, and one who spoke only Mandarin to the kids. That might have been worth dealing with the school for.), but most schools do not begin foreign language until 8th or 9th grade, and few kids get any level of fluency. It is normal for University level classes to begin from scratch-and end with minimal fluency as well. Efforts for kids who come in speaking a different home language focus on getting them fluent enough in English to join a mainstream class, and while some subjects may be taught in their home language in the meantime, it is a stopgap. 

Immigrant parents who want their child to actually be fluent in their home language send them to German School, Chinese School, Korean School, etc, which are run by community groups for their kids, but if you are outside that community, you will never know such exist, nor be invited to participate. 

I live in Appalachia on the map, although both DH and I come from families with ties to other parts of the country and parents who moved for work reasons, and both of us have beliefs more like those original cultures. Being fluent in  second language, or more, is one of the major reasons why people I know IRL homeschool or after school. 

 

 

 

I also grew up in Appalachia.  I lucked up and had TWO languages in high school.  The French teacher moved, so he was replaced with a Spanish teacher. 🤣  I'm not sure that the typical American's lack of fluency in a second language is a failure of the education system so much as it is a lack of necessity to use one in everyday life.  Fluency comes from using that language outside of the classroom.  The only time I got to use my high school French in real life was when I was IN France.  (Dh used to travel to Quebec to use his.)  I had some  conversations, but it was a struggle because I'd studied two other languages after taking said high school French.  My worst dabbling-in-languages moment came when I exhausted my vocabulary describing an envelope to a shop keeper because I needed to buy an envelope but didn't know the word for envelope in French.  Go ahead! Laugh AT me. 

If every state spoke a different language, we'd be better at it as a group.  A lot of people speak a little bit of Spanish because they live near where it's useful to know some.  My daughter got straight A's in high school and college Spanish, but what really helped her fluency was working with ESOL kid every day and NEEDING that language to communicate.  There is a necessity and opportunity component to language acquisition that's not easy to come by in the US.  If we didn't produce many movies or tv shows, I'll bet people would pick up another language just to watch television.

7 hours ago, Above The Rowan said:

 

Ive been reading this thread from the start, and I don’t actually often hit reply - but this comment made me laugh out loud for real. 

I live in the town where most of Letterkenny is filmed. That show is one of my faves and makes me laugh - mostly because it’s so terrifyingly accurate. The way they live, the things they do and say, is actual life in my area of Ontario (and from what I gather, also some small towns in rural prairie areas)  

I adore Letterkenney, and I feel strangely protective of it lol - but I do agree that it’s weird af. 

 

I came home late from class last week and my ds and dh were laughing hysterically when I opened the door.  I walked in on a group of Goths having an epi-pen fight?  It took me watching a few episodes to even get my bearings with that show.  I can't even think of anything to compare it to  What would the sub-genre even be?  Theatrical Hick?  And that bartender?  And the minister? And the whole thing with The Ginger and the ostrich? WTF? I can't look away!

7 hours ago, wintermom said:

We can all do with less stress in our lives. And there are a ton of boardies dealing with some very serious personal issues. A little gentleness can go a long way, instead of jumping in "guns blazing," as the saying goes.

 

Pew pew pew !!!!! You're not the boss of me! I came to dance!

 

ETA:  I wanted to chime in on the size of our local high school.  The one near my house is the small one in the district.  It has about 2000 students.  The largest school in the entire state of WV has this many.  Our local schools seem huge to me.  There are also no long bus rides to "away games"  because the other schools are only a few miles away.  It's definitely a different culture from where I grew up. I mean, the whole town just doesn't come out to high school football games because there are other things to do.  I lived here for almost two decades before I realized they don't have middle school football here.  I just assumed that was universal but my daughter looked at me like I had two heads when I asked how the high school managed to share the football field with the middle school on the same property. In my defense, my kids didn't GO to middle school.

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17 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

 

What I REALLY want to know is why Canada seems to largely get a pass on everything when not one of them has explained WTH "Letterkenney" is all about.  It's really weird and they should take some responsibility for it.

Letterkenney is the most amazing thing ever!!!! I have loved most Canadian shows I've seen but letterkenney is the best.

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12 hours ago, MEmama said:

Colin Woodward should be required reading in all high school US history classes, IMO. All his books are fabulous and incredibly well researched but this one particularly stands out to me. I’ve read it several times and still learn something new every time. I am encouraging DS to read it before he takes APUSH (AP US History) next year.

I'm always excited when you reference him or his work. I truly believe if every North American (includes Canadian and some Mexican history as well) read this book they would gain valuable insight and a deeper understanding of the effects that historical immigration patterns had on our current political and social cultures. 
 

Woodward lives in my general area and I keep hoping to get the chance to see him speak. 

The WTM forum is killing me with book recommendations. I would have more time to read them if I spent less time here. But if I spent less time here, I wouldnt know about all these great books...

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18 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Most people in the US aren't going to use a 2nd language, except possibly Spanish.  I took 5 years of French in school and have never used it in my adult life.  I wish I'd studied Spanish, because I'd actually have a chance to use it here in Texas.  

When my oldest children were in school they wanted to study German. I tried to convince them to study Spanish because I thought it would be the most useful. They didn't listen and studied German and became quite fluent. They've proven me wrong again and again. One son works for an international company and when they found out he speaks German, he got put on teams for the sole purpose of traveling as their interpreter. They don't need Spanish speakers, but they do need German speakers. Later, we found out that dh's birth family are German immigrants who all speak German and that German is still one of the most commonly spoken foreign languages in our area. Now I let the younger ones study any language they want. What do I know?😂

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On 1/18/2020 at 8:41 PM, Sneezyone said:


When I speak about assimilation/conforming it means adopting WASP cultural norms with respect to social conventions, religion, dress, speech, and even hair. While it may be possible to thrive in various regions and smaller communities without adopting those norms, they have dominated our media landscape and business culture.

I don't agree at all that there is no variety in USA and everything is Waspy.  New Mexico certainly isn't.  I believe that there are more than 11 cultures in the US.  Noticing differences in cultures is something that really interests me.  And each place we were stationed at had a different culture. ---- some of the most pronounced differences were in regarding time.

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22 hours ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

ETA: Here's the map and a brief summary of the American regional "nations."  I assume it's confusing for the international crowd who can't be expected to know this.  Here's a cheat sheet: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-map-11-separate-nations-colin-woodward-yankeedom-new-netherland-the-midlands-tidewater-greater-a8078261.html

For those of you interested in the different cultural nations/regions inside the US and how they came to be, this book is a helpful read: https://www.amazon.com/American-Nations-History-Regional-Cultures/dp/0143122029/ref=sr_1_1?crid=MJOSG9DO0U6Y&keywords=american+nations+colin+woodard&qid=1579408161&sprefix=American+nationas%2Caps%2C183&sr=8-1

I think it is a super simplistic.  First of all, they have my state in only one category.  They do not haveboart of it being more like Appalachia. They di not have part of it having decidedly French influences. And it doesn't have my city which is most decidedly not the Deep South with rigid social structures. My city, which will in a few years,be age largest city in my state, is full of people who did not come from here.  And since it is very much a nerd city, no rigid social structures either.

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2 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

When my oldest children were in school they wanted to study German. I tried to convince them to study Spanish because I thought it would be the most useful. They didn't listen and studied German and became quite fluent. They've proven me wrong again and again. One son works for an international company and when they found out he speaks German, he got put on teams for the sole purpose of traveling as their interpreter. They don't need Spanish speakers, but they do need German speakers. Later, we found out that dh's birth family are German immigrants who all speak German and that German is still one of the most commonly spoken foreign languages in our area. Now I let the younger ones study any language they want. What do I know?😂

That's a great outcome for your son, but I wonder how many people in the US end up using the foreign language they studied in high school.  I don't know of any.  We don't have very many opportunities to practice with foreign language in the US.

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14 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

That's a great outcome for your son, but I wonder how many people in the US end up using the foreign language they studied in high school.  I don't know of any.  We don't have very many opportunities to practice with foreign language in the US.

I know lots of linguists, but most of them aren't using a language they studied in high school.  Still, having the experience of studying a language or two in school really does help prepare you to learn another one later. It's very uncomfortable to try to retrieve a word and grab it in the wrong language, but that's amusing in it's own way.  There are Americans out there working with a second language but they're likely clustered in areas where those jobs exist. Lots of military linguists take that skill into new jobs when they leave the service.

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5 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I know lots of linguists, but most of them aren't using a language they studied in high school.  Still, having the experience of studying a language or two in school really does help prepare you to learn another one later. It's very uncomfortable to try to retrieve a word and grab it in the wrong language, but that's amusing in it's own way.  There are Americans out there working with a second language but they're likely clustered in areas where those jobs exist. Lots of military linguists take that skill into new jobs when they leave the service.

I'm not saying that zero Americans use a second language.  It's just that we don't need it to get around most of North America.  If I lived in Europe and wanted to travel around, knowing a language other than my native tongue would be more useful and necessary. But I can live my whole life in the US and never, ever need to speak anything other than English to get around.  

According to google, only 20% of Americans are bilingual, while 56% of Europeans are bilingual. My opinion, (for what that's worth), is that it's probably much more useful and necessary to be bilingual in Europe than it is in the US. 

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8 hours ago, Selkie said:

Our local public school only has about 12 kids per grade, so approximately 50 high schoolers. This is in the rural midwest.

 

There are quite a few schools in rural Oregon that are under 200 including our local one.   One  that a good friend of my son’s was at was around 50. 

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1 hour ago, MissLemon said:

I'm not saying that zero Americans use a second language.  It's just that we don't need it to get around most of North America.  If I lived in Europe and wanted to travel around, knowing a language other than my native tongue would be more useful and necessary. But I can live my whole life in the US and never, ever need to speak anything other than English to get around.  

According to google, only 20% of Americans are bilingual, while 56% of Europeans are bilingual. My opinion, (for what that's worth), is that it's probably much more useful and necessary to be bilingual in Europe than it is in the US. 

I absolutely agree with you. Americans aren’t too dull or self-involved to learn other languages. They are just lacking the opportunity to use them regularly and without expensive long distance travel as a motivator. You really have to go out of your way to find people who don’t speak any English at all and we don’t often travel to those places. Even when I had a second language in my pocket, and a 3rd and 4th that were better than nothing, I still managed to get into a situation abroad where the person I was trying to speak to knew none of these languages. He knew more than one, but nothing I’d studied. It was comical later but frustrating at the time. Sometimes you want to give a second language a try but the other person’s English is better and they really want to practice it more. I have suspected that this is a ploy to both spare my feelings and save their ears from my inadequate French. 

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9 hours ago, Dotwithaperiod said:

I was responding to Garga, who was replying to someone else about hearing people say if you don’t like it then leave. Of course it’s ugly human being, but the whole point of this thread was describing how American tourists are often seen. I was describing how an entire group of American tourists, at a tourist site full of a ton of nationalities, were acting towards another group of people- who were also Americans but the first group of people were too clueless to know that. So people from around the world came to Niagra Falls and experienced poor behavior by American tourists.

eta- yes, I see that the cashier story isn’t relevant here, sorry. They happened the same morning and are stuck in my mind together. 


I understand. I didn’t mean it negatively.

While living in a country due north of us, I gained an enormous amount of respect for the fact that Americans are able to talk about our problems freely. As has been noted upthread, we don’t have or even strive to have a single unifying culture so I feel it's as though we are more free than some places to point out our own deficiencies and discuss them, maybe especially amongst ourselves. We are a far, far from perfect country but we also don’t pretend to be. The greater national conversation can be loud, ugly and divisive for sure, but I have to say I appreciate that we—generally— own our differences and don’t to try hide them from ourselves or the world.

Obviously nothing excuses ugly behavior by any individual. 

 

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9 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

I think it is a super simplistic.  First of all, they have my state in only one category.  They do not haveboart of it being more like Appalachia. They di not have part of it having decidedly French influences. And it doesn't have my city which is most decidedly not the Deep South with rigid social structures. My city, which will in a few years,be age largest city in my state, is full of people who did not come from here.  And since it is very much a nerd city, no rigid social structures either.

The book goes into great depth about historical migration patterns and how they continue to shape our cultures today. It doesn't attempt to detail every last influence, but paints a broad—and very accurate—brush across the continent.

It does illustrate—again, broadly— modern migrations, explaining that  *most* people move (when voluntary) within similar, familiar cultures. New England to the the upper Midwest, coastal west coast or southern Ontario makes cultural sense as they share strikingly similar historical patterns. Coastal California to Alabama, on the hand, share few historical cultural similarities. Perhaps the same is true of your city, perhaps its influences are different from its surrounding greater area.

Several posters from western states have commented that western Canada feels comfortable to them, that there are clear ties that transcend the border. It’s not a surprise, given that both were settled similarly and for similar purposes.

 

 

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I find this dialogue about having a foreign language but not needing it fascinating. The rest of the world has recognized the need and the value of having at least one other language added to their skill set. Times have changed, we are living in a global market. China, for example, also a superpower, is aware that being fluent in another language can only forward your agenda in today's economic climate.

In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose. 

Throughout this thread, what I've been trying to convey is yes, of course, there are loud, off putting American tourists. The larger issue, in my opinion, is the quiet superiority that often times shows a lack of inclusion, and a lack of willingness to grow and adapt to the ever evolving world.

It is not unlke white privilege, only seen upon self reflection, and most times not even then.

This is one of the reasons why America is perceived by the world at large of thinking they are better than anyone else. Make America great again......

 

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1 hour ago, MEmama said:

The book goes into great depth about historical migration patterns and how they continue to shape our cultures today. It doesn't attempt to detail every last influence, but paints a broad—and very accurate—brush across the continent.

It does illustrate—again, broadly— modern migrations, explaining that  *most* people move (when voluntary) within similar, familiar cultures. New England to the the upper Midwest, coastal west coast or southern Ontario makes cultural sense as they share strikingly similar historical patterns. Coastal California to Alabama, on the hand, share few historical cultural similarities. Perhaps the same is true of your city, perhaps its influences are different from its surrounding greater area.

Several posters from western states have commented that western Canada feels comfortable to them, that there are clear ties that transcend the border. It’s not a surprise, given that both were settled similarly and for similar purposes.

 

 

 

After some years in Western USA, I found not only some parts of British Columbia, Western Canada easier to adjust to than some parts of USA, but also Toronto, Ottawa and other parts of Ontario easier than New York City and parts of the US southeast—less different seeming culturally and easier accents to understand. When I first moved to NYC, I could barely understand a lot of my teachers and other kids.   It was English, but nearly as different from the English I’d been used to as when Aussies use a lot of shortened down Australian slang words. 

 

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11 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

I think it is a super simplistic.  First of all, they have my state in only one category.  They do not haveboart of it being more like Appalachia. They di not have part of it having decidedly French influences. And it doesn't have my city which is most decidedly not the Deep South with rigid social structures. My city, which will in a few years,be age largest city in my state, is full of people who did not come from here.  And since it is very much a nerd city, no rigid social structures either.

Remember that this is in the context of historical influences.  The last half of the 20th century saw a lot of migration, and the last 20 years has seen a shift in rural vs. urban, but that's not what the book is primarily about.  It's about why, when people move a new place from a different region, they're surprised to find different, long standing norms.  This is about the genesis and growth of the norms and how they came to be before now.

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12 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

I don't agree at all that there is no variety in USA and everything is Waspy.  New Mexico certainly isn't.  I believe that there are more than 11 cultures in the US.  Noticing differences in cultures is something that really interests me.  And each place we were stationed at had a different culture. ---- some of the most pronounced differences were in regarding time.

Again, they're talking about dominant regional cultures, which is not at all the same as saying that there are only 11 and no others exists.  This is an example of the nuance I was talking about up thread.

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Most Americans will never need a second language, and those who speak one will hardly every use it in the US.  I grew up in PHX, in what started out as a rural area full of agro when I was born in 1973 and by the time I moved out in 1993, it was one of the fastest growing regions in the country and a large city. I've been around migrant worker kids on a daily basis.  I went to school with a large number of kids who spoke only Spanish (usually border Spanish) at home.  The Latino population is very high there, and there's no need to learn Spanish.  The only immigrant Latinos who don't learn English are those who immigrated when they were old.  Everyone else learns English.  The kids go to public school, watch American TV, and listen to American music.

You can learn textbook Spanish in every public Jr. High and High School, but for the few situations where a translator is needed, usually legal or medical situations, other employees there are Chicanos who are fluent in both Spanish and one of the many Latino subcultures. When the landscapers come to your house the foreman speaks English and Spanish but most of the workers, who are usually recent immigrants, don't.  If the foreman isn't there and you need to communicate, one of the workers will take out a phone, dial it, speak briefly in Spanish, then hand you the phone and you talk to the foreman or a family who is bilingual, then you hand the phone back, the worker listens to the translation.   In little restaurants where no one speaks English the food options are numbered. You just tell them the number, which they understand, point to the option on the menu, or hold up fingers and they get you what you want.  It's simple and effective.

I know quite a few people who are paid by foreign countries to teach English to their students, some in person, some remotely.  English just happens to be a frequently used second language in many parts of the industrialized world.  It's a quirk of historical and economic fate, not anything that makes English or English speakers any better than anyone else.  International business is frequently done in English.  That's why a second language isn't needed by the vast majority of Americans in the US.  Few students can accurately predict where their future companies will do work internationally.  My uncle regularly does business in China and Russia.  He couldn't have know that was going to happen in high school, and the high school he went to, though large, couldn't have afforded teachers for those languages in the 1960s because of lack of demand.  His company just hires professional translators as needed. 

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1 hour ago, Islandgal said:

I find this dialogue about having a foreign language but not needing it fascinating. The rest of the world has recognized the need and the value of having at least one other language added to their skill set. Times have changed, we are living in a global market. China, for example, also a superpower, is aware that being fluent in another language can only forward your agenda in today's economic climate.

Obviously there are individual Americans who don't see the value of a foreign language but that is not an opinion I personally have come across often. Some of my kids attended a local public elementary school that offers language immersion--half the day was in Chinese starting in kindergarten, taught by a native speaker. Other immersion schools throughout the state teach a variety of languages.

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47 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Most Americans will never need a second language, and those who speak one will hardly every use it in the US.  I grew up in PHX, in what started out as a rural area full of agro when I was born in 1973 and by the time I moved out in 1993, it was one of the fastest growing regions in the country and a large city. I've been around migrant worker kids on a daily basis.  I went to school with a large number of kids who spoke only Spanish (usually border Spanish) at home.  The Latino population is very high there, and there's no need to learn Spanish.  The only immigrant Latinos who don't learn English are those who immigrated when they were old.  Everyone else learns English.  The kids go to public school, watch American TV, and listen to American music.

You can learn textbook Spanish in every public Jr. High and High School, but for the few situations where a translator is needed, usually legal or medical situations, other employees there are Chicanos who are fluent in both Spanish and one of the many Latino subcultures. When the landscapers come to your house the foreman speaks English and Spanish but most of the workers, who are usually recent immigrants, don't.  If the foreman isn't there and you need to communicate, one of the workers will take out a phone, dial it, speak briefly in Spanish, then hand you the phone and you talk to the foreman or a family who is bilingual, then you hand the phone back, the worker listens to the translation.   In little restaurants where no one speaks English the food options are numbered. You just tell them the number, which they understand, point to the option on the menu, or hold up fingers and they get you what you want.  It's simple and effective.

I know quite a few people who are paid by foreign countries to teach English to their students, some in person, some remotely.  English just happens to be a frequently used second language in many parts of the industrialized world.  It's a quirk of historical and economic fate, not anything that makes English or English speakers any better than anyone else.  International business is frequently done in English.  That's why a second language isn't needed by the vast majority of Americans in the US.  Few students can accurately predict where their future companies will do work internationally.  My uncle regularly does business in China and Russia.  He couldn't have know that was going to happen in high school, and the high school he went to, though large, couldn't have afforded teachers for those languages in the 1960s because of lack of demand.  His company just hires professional translators as needed. 

I absolutely agree with your point that most will never use or need a foreign language in U.S., or for conducting international business.

I feel that the exposure to a foreign language and culture broadens the mind, as well as, teaches empathy, and brings awareness that others live differently. Which I fear is sadly lacking in the U.S.

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2 hours ago, Islandgal said:

I find this dialogue about having a foreign language but not needing it fascinating. The rest of the world has recognized the need and the value of having at least one other language added to their skill set. Times have changed, we are living in a global market. China, for example, also a superpower, is aware that being fluent in another language can only forward your agenda in today's economic climate.

 

 

 The United States is not ignorant of this. My son is interested in a program through the US State Department that sends high school and college students to different places in the world. The goal is both language acquisition cultural understanding. The US government pays for almost all the travel expenses including an intensive language program in Russian, Polish, German, French, Turkish, Arabic, Hindi, Indonesian, Mandarin and a variety of other languages for almost an entire year.

While it's true that most Americans can go their entire lives, even traveling widely throughout the US and Canada, without ever needing to use a language other than English, I know more than a few native born Americans who are fluent in other languages. 

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Language acquisition is also a bit “use it or lose it.” You can study diligently and reach a level of proficiency, but if you go a few years without the need to use it your language skills can atrophy. It takes a lot of self discipline to be a language student in a void. You really need a person to catch your mistakes. 

There is a lot more material online now and streaming shows in other languages, but that hasn’t been the case for very long. I did most of my language studies before the Internet. 

Living where another language is used often is a huge motivator to learn. Without immersion or a clear plan for use, most people aren’t carving out time in their adult lives for serious language study.  Studying earlier won’t fix this problem either. 

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1 hour ago, Islandgal said:

I absolutely agree with your point that most will never use or need a foreign language in U.S., or for conducting international business.

I feel that the exposure to a foreign language and culture broadens the mind, as well as, teaches empathy, and brings awareness that others live differently. Which I fear is sadly lacking in the U.S.

My language experience was not like this at all. My kids are learning Latin, which I think will be equally "effective" in "teaching empathy and bringing awareness that others live differently." Thank goodness foreign language acquisition is not the only means of doing this. Our family spends a lot of time with the homeless, the elderly, and the very sick/dying (often these categories overlap). Not only do I not need a foreign language for this, I didn't need to spend any money and/or leave my city. If the bolded is the goal, there are far more accessible methods of achieving that with a much more direct impact on all involved.

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On 1/17/2020 at 1:20 PM, SKL said:

Again (the bolded) - you can pick out the loud obnoxious Americans.  Apparently the quiet, considerate ones escape your notice.

I wonder if part of this Americans - only - notice - ugly - Americans - abroad thing is because we feel extra embarrassed as if it's part of our family acting the fool.  Like when my kids or my [non-American-born] loud extrovert friend makes a faux pas, yeah, I notice it.  (And I correct it as best I can.)

I'm a quiet, introverted person who has traveled a fair amount.  I don't have memories of constantly being horrified by other Americans' behavior.  Most people from most countries behave reasonably decently.  The majority of the misbehaving tourists are not Americans in my personal experience.  Are there some, sure, but not to the extent that I'm ashamed for my country.  (But then, I don't consider differences in clothing style etc to be a national disgrace.  So maybe that is the difference.)

I see quiet considerate people of all nationalities, including American. But, I don't see loud, obnoxious people of other nationalities. That isn't to say that there aren't some, but it's noteworthy that the loud, obnoxious people that I have seen are Americans. I'm relating my personal experience, and my personal experience leads me to conclude that our reputation for rudeness in other cultures is understandable.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Islandgal said:

I absolutely agree with your point that most will never use or need a foreign language in U.S., or for conducting international business.

I feel that the exposure to a foreign language and culture broadens the mind, as well as, teaches empathy, and brings awareness that others live differently. Which I fear is sadly lacking in the U.S.

I don't disagree that foreign language acquisition is a good thing, but there are lots of other ways to teach empathy, etc.  I'm not even sure how foreign language alone teaches those things, though the classes my kids took included a cultural component, which was probably more effective than the actual language study.

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40 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I see quiet considerate people of all nationalities, including American. But, I don't see loud, obnoxious people of other nationalities. That isn't to say that there aren't some, but it's noteworthy that the loud, obnoxious people that I have seen are Americans. I'm relating my personal experience, and my personal experience leads me to conclude that our reputation for rudeness in other cultures is understandable.

 

How far/broadly have you traveled? The worst behaved people we saw in Mauritius were, ironically, Australians. They were drunken louts and extremely rude with the wait staff. Which means nothing except that THOSE Australians were jackasses. There also just so happened to be a cruise ship in town when we were visiting.

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Just now, Sneezyone said:

 

How far/broadly have you traveled? The worst behaved people we saw in Mauritius were, ironically, Australians. They were drunken louts.

I wonder this too, and if your community is pretty isolated. Totally not a dig—as you said, we all have our own experiences and I’m totally not discounting yours. But I am surprised that you’ve never encountered a rude tourist, even?
 

 I’m fairly well traveled and have lived in many different states and types of communities and this does represent what I’ve experienced * at all*, whether in North America or overseas. I mean, it’s just never been true anywhere I’ve lived or traveled that only Americans are rude.

Fascinating.

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1 hour ago, MEmama said:

I wonder this too, and if your community is pretty isolated. Totally not a dig—as you said, we all have our own experiences and I’m totally not discounting yours. But I am surprised that you’ve never encountered a rude tourist, even?
 

 I’m fairly well traveled and have lived in many different states and types of communities and this does represent what I’ve experienced * at all*, whether in North America or overseas. I mean, it’s just never been true anywhere I’ve lived or traveled that only Americans are rude.

Fascinating.

Ditto. I have lived in several major tourist cities and have travelled a lot internationally. I have seen many, many non-Americans and Americans (USians?) being loud and under my culturally defined version of "rude".

I really struggle with saying "obnoxious", because that word is so loaded with value judgments. After all, the behavior of children, teens, older people, insert group of choice here can be seen as obnoxious depending on who you ask. But the intent is not to be obnoxious. Old people dont walk slowly to be obnoxious. Kids dont have loads of energy to be obnoxious. Teens are not self-absorbed to be obnoxious. The middle-aged are not super busy to be obnoxious. But these "in general" behaviors are much more stage-of-life driven rather than because of some negative intrinsic property. Can the same not be said for different cultures? Or the types of people who have enough money/time/energy to travel abroad?

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On 1/16/2020 at 5:40 PM, StellaM said:

Final comment.

I feel like this thread was a set up. 

 

 

Fairfarmhand is the OP. I highly doubt she started this thread as a "set-up." She is not that kind of person. 

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