PDA

View Full Version : Cultural Identity



Scheherazade
11-14-2009, 10:42 AM
Following some comments in another thread, I cannot help wondering what is the make up of our cultural identities.

What determines our cultural identities? Our religion? Our nationality? Our ethnic background or where we live?

Do we tend to stick with our ethnic identity throughout our lives or do we end up doing as the Romans do whenever we are in Rome?

For those who have "straightforward" lives (born and bred in the same cultural atmosphere), I assume, this is an easier question to answer but for those of us who were born in one cultural environment and end up establishing lives in different (and sometimes incompatible) cultures, it is a rather confusing and, somehow, painful issue to deal with.

So what is the make up of your cultural identity? How do you define yourserlves?

Lokasenna
11-14-2009, 11:37 AM
Its all a matter of levels. Culturally, I think of myself at different times as Welsh, British, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-American, European, Lower-Middle-Class, Conservative, Catholic, Christian, Western, and Human.

Generally, the level and area to which I define myself at any given time is usually dictated by the frame of reference which acts as an opposite to it.

Granny5
11-14-2009, 11:59 AM
So many cultures make up Americans. I am American, but I'm part Native American, which is different. And I'm Irish and I'm Scottish, and Hillfolk, and I'm a flatlander. So many of the traditions my family have are from different "cultures". No matter where one is from I think we are all just mutts.

Hurricane
11-14-2009, 12:39 PM
I'm an American, a New Englander, Mass resident, and a whole host of other things. I can be proud of my Finnish, German, British, French, and French-Canadian heritage, and still define myself an American.
There are quirks in my speech, mannerisms, and traditions that make me different from people from other regions, but I think these differences between Americans can make us stronger as a country rather than weaken us.

Niamh
11-14-2009, 12:47 PM
I'm Irish. My Heritage is Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Cornish... you could say i'm a celtic through and through! :p I was born Catholic because my parents were catholic, and catholicism is the dominant religion in my country.

subterranean
11-14-2009, 03:10 PM
I define myself culturally thru the norms and values I was raised with. This will come to practice when I have to act or react upon, perhaps, many things. Like, for example, when I had a Swedish boyfriend who hardly ever picked up a girl at her place for a date (because apparently that's how it is in Sweden). But that's not how it is in Indonesia, where it is very common for a guy to pick up his girlfriend at her house. This is due to the fact that children will stay with their parents until the time they got married. So, to pick up a girl and show yourself to the parents is considered as a part of the norm as Indonesians. There are also quite deep influence of religions (i.e. Islam) blended with norms and habbits that rooted from ages before any established religions came to Indonesia.

OrphanPip
11-14-2009, 03:25 PM
I am descended from the British conquerors and speak English at home, and for most Quebecers this excludes me from the right to declare myself Québécois. On the other hand, Quebec is the only home I have ever known so it is difficult for me to identify with any other culture.

kasie
11-15-2009, 10:26 AM
I had a huge cultural shock when we moved to Wales - I had always regarded myself as 'almost Welsh' because both my parents were Welsh and I was brought up with the values of Chapel-going Welsh valleys people (the importance of the Family, protestant work ethic, loyalty, perseverence, high regard for truth and justice, equality and value of the individual). I was born in England because that was where my father's work was at the time, educated in England and my parents, who had suffered in their time from a mild form of discrimination because of their Welsh accents - 'Taffies' - had ironed out my speech into a neutral BBC-standard English, though to the gentle amusement of close friends, I still had a Welsh lift in certain intonations. When we 'came home' to Wales to visit families, I was accepted as 'one of us' who just had the misfortune to have been born away from 'home' (entirely my mother's fault, of course, but what do you expect, she never would be told). But - when we came to live here, I was 'English' and as such, despised. I had not realised how much anti-English sentiment there was in Wales the further away from the borders one moved. It was a shock - I was hurt by this casual rejection before anybody took the trouble to get to know me or find out what I had to offer; I was surprised that I was supposed to carry the blame for the way the English had treated the Welsh (in Welsh eyes) for the past seven hundred years. It was a salutary lesson, one which I am only gradually getting over: I am in the process of selling my house and have lost count of the number of people, even friends, who have asked, 'Oh, are you going back to England?' Actually, no - this has been my home for the past twenty years, I like it here. (And I have learned that the Welsh are suspicious of someone who comes from the next town, let alone the next county or another country....so it's nothing personal.)

Similarly, though on a different scale, the difference between British and American mores on my sole visit to the USA in the early '70s was an eye-opener, as was the attitude of certain sections of the South African people to the British on my trip there last year. We - and I include both sides - do not see the individual - we see our preconceived idea of some historical, abstract amalgamation of that person's nation of origin. Surely we ought to have learned from recent history the appalling dangers of that blinkered approach.

Annamariah
11-15-2009, 12:32 PM
In many ways I'm a Finn through and through. As far as I know, all my ancestors were Finnish too. I look Finnish with my blue eyes and blonde hair, I recognise many Finnish stereotypes in myself and I love my country. One thing that sets me apart from most other Finns, however, is my religion. Even though most Finns belong to the Lutheran Church, most of them aren't really religious at all. I come from a Christian home, and it has affected the way I see this world, and my values often differ from those of other people of my age. So in a way I also feel like I fit in here very well, and in another I feel like I'm in a completely wrong place. Not that I'd like to move anywhere else, I like it here :)

Maximilianus
11-15-2009, 01:53 PM
When it comes to food and certain other habits I have an ethnic identity. When it comes to music, films and TV shows I am a total misfit unable to adapt myself to the ways of my people's ideologies and entertainment industry. I'm very much of an outsider in my own land, which I think could help me adapt easily to other cultures if I ever need to move to another country, something that I find very difficult in most of my people who have moved abroad (my folks are very nostalgic when they leave the homeland). I'm very much of what would be a ... Southern Viking :lol: If I had to move to someplace in Europe or US, I believe I can adapt. However, I'd still be nostalgic quite often, though not to the point of a breakdown.

I think that what determines our cultural identity has to do with the choices we make according to whatever pleases or displeases our senses. At least it is how it works for me. I think that ultimately, we are our choices.

Scheherazade
11-15-2009, 07:44 PM
I think that what determines our cultural identity has to do with the choices we make according to whatever pleases or displeases our senses. At least it is how it works for me. I think that ultimately, we are our choices.Don't you think what pleases or displeases are affected by our culture as well?

Anna> Would you say you define your culture identity more through your religion?

Kasie> I loved reading your post.

I sometimes feel like I do not belong anywhere anymore. Not enough Anglicized to be considered English but not enough well-preserved to be considered still a "native" in my homeland either. Stuck in a constant state of limbo! :p

Lokasenna
11-15-2009, 08:03 PM
I had a huge cultural shock when we moved to Wales - I had always regarded myself as 'almost Welsh' because both my parents were Welsh and I was brought up with the values of Chapel-going Welsh valleys people (the importance of the Family, protestant work ethic, loyalty, perseverence, high regard for truth and justice, equality and value of the individual). I was born in England because that was where my father's work was at the time, educated in England and my parents, who had suffered in their time from a mild form of discrimination because of their Welsh accents - 'Taffies' - had ironed out my speech into a neutral BBC-standard English, though to the gentle amusement of close friends, I still had a Welsh lift in certain intonations. When we 'came home' to Wales to visit families, I was accepted as 'one of us' who just had the misfortune to have been born away from 'home' (entirely my mother's fault, of course, but what do you expect, she never would be told). But - when we came to live here, I was 'English' and as such, despised. I had not realised how much anti-English sentiment there was in Wales the further away from the borders one moved. It was a shock - I was hurt by this casual rejection before anybody took the trouble to get to know me or find out what I had to offer; I was surprised that I was supposed to carry the blame for the way the English had treated the Welsh (in Welsh eyes) for the past seven hundred years. It was a salutary lesson, one which I am only gradually getting over: I am in the process of selling my house and have lost count of the number of people, even friends, who have asked, 'Oh, are you going back to England?' Actually, no - this has been my home for the past twenty years, I like it here. (And I have learned that the Welsh are suspicious of someone who comes from the next town, let alone the next county or another country....so it's nothing personal.)

Similarly, though on a different scale, the difference between British and American mores on my sole visit to the USA in the early '70s was an eye-opener, as was the attitude of certain sections of the South African people to the British on my trip there last year. We - and I include both sides - do not see the individual - we see our preconceived idea of some historical, abstract amalgamation of that person's nation of origin. Surely we ought to have learned from recent history the appalling dangers of that blinkered approach.

Yeah, the Welsh can be like that. I'm a Welshman, and proud of it, but I do come from English stock, so I know what its like to be on the recieving end of a cold shoulder. In defense of my compatriots, they can warm up to specific English people... eventually...

Scheherazade
11-15-2009, 08:06 PM
they can warm up to specific English people... eventually...Oh, please do tell!

:D

Virgil
11-15-2009, 09:29 PM
Following some comments in another thread, I cannot help wondering what is the make up of our cultural identities.

This is a subject close and dear to me. It is something i've given perhaps a lifetime of thought to. Let me say that when it comes to literature, the notion of identity is either directly addressed as a central theme or at least a tangential theme of every form with the possible exception of lyric poetry, and even there it may or may not be part of the work. The Illiad is a work that defines the cultural identity of a people. So is every narrative if you really think about it. A narrative is a story in a time and place where characters make decisions and form values. All of that defines an identity. james joyce understood this very well. Here is a passage from Portrait of An Artist, a work that shows the evolution of a character as his identity is formed:

He opened the geography to study the lesson; but he could not learn the names of places in America. Still they were all different places that had different names. They were all in different countries and the countries were in continents and the continents were in the world and the world was in the universe.

He turned to the flyleaf of the geography and read what he had written there: himself, his name and where he was.

Stephen Dedalus
Class of Elements
Clongowes Wood College
Sallins
County Kildare
Ireland
Europe
The World
The Universe


That was in his writing: and Fleming one night for a cod had written on the opposite page:

Stephen Dedalus is my name,
Ireland is my nation.
Clongowes is my dwellingplace
And heaven my expectation.
That is cultural identity being formed and realized. Notice the other Joycian works, Dubliners, a collection of short stories about people in Dublin at the turn of the 20th century. Ullysess, a novel that through the consciousness of three characters forms the very identity of a time and place. Toward the end of Protrait, Joyce has Stephan write the following in his diary:

So be it. Welcome, O life, I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
To forge in his soul the "uncreated conscience of my race" really is another way to say he is going to discover his cultural identity.

You can take almost every novel and locate the cultural identity theme. Henry James's Portrait of a Lady defines a particular cultural identity, a late 19th century American; Mark Twain also defines a late 19th century American cultural identity in Huck Finn. How different and yet they are both from the same time and roughly place. Just think about the great novels: Great Expectations, Madame Bovary, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, The Great Gatsby, etc. While they may not tackle head on the cultural identity theme like Joyce, they are certainly either integrated with an identity or try to stand in contra distinction to an identity.

By the way, for me the absolute best novel I have ever read that took on the theme of cultural identity head on is D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers.



What determines our cultural identities? Our religion? Our nationality? Our ethnic background or where we live?
Every thing determines our cultural identity. Everything that makes up our persona, our conscious (and unconscious for those that may believe in one) minds, our selves. What else but our persona is what speaks, is what makes choices, decides on a course of action, selects friends and forms relationships. Our persona is who we are and who we are is our identity and our identity is linked to our culture in time and space.


Do we tend to stick with our ethnic identity throughout our lives or do we end up doing as the Romans do whenever we are in Rome?
I don't know about do as in Rome, but I do believe that identity is an evolving thing. Sure, I guess the older we get the more fixed we are, but no question that throughout my life I have felt my identity shift. I don't think I've ever lost past identities. I think it's more of adding new ones on.


For those who have "straightforward" lives (born and bred in the same cultural atmosphere), I assume, this is an easier question to answer but for those of us who were born in one cultural environment and end up establishing lives in different (and sometimes incompatible) cultures, it is a rather confusing and, somehow, painful issue to deal with.
I guess if you only think of identity as formed by a place then you would have a limited set. But identity is formed by a multiplicity of factors: what we become, the sports we enjoy, the career paths we embark on, our sexual orientations, the types of people we are. There were those where I grew up who were college bound, and they had and then further developed a distinct identity from those who became plumbers or mechanics and therre were those who hung out drinking in bars and those who went to the library and played chess. All living within the same street. Heck we had an identity of being the guys from 72nd street and we played ball against those who were from 76th street and we had very strong bonds of loyalty between our respective cliques. I think of identity as a circle which contain a slew of cultural elements, those we share with some and those we don't. It's as if there are overlapping circles of shared elements of identity.


So what is the make up of your cultural identity? How do you define yourserlves?
Yikes, given what I said above, it's incredibly complicated. Italian Immigrant, American, Brooklynite, Staten Islander, New Yorker, American, Catholic, Mechanical Engineer, ameteur writer, lover of literature, etc...

Bakiryu
11-15-2009, 09:33 PM
I'm 2nd generation Irish/scottish and 2nd generation Canarian, born and raised in Cuba until I was about 10 years old, I've lived in the US for the last six years. I've never identified as a Cuban, as I child I was a bit of an outcast since Cuban children often do not read and are little interested in intellectual pursuits, girls my age are expected to be honestly, slutty and their main occupation is prostitution.

I don't feel like a Cuban girl and as for the values I was raised with, i feel they are the same as most people's: honesty, bravery, truthfulness, kindness etc.

However, many Americans expect me to be the aforementioned stereotype due to my accent. My own subculture looks at me like something other and most people can't believe I'm interested in writting.

I don't identify myself with any one country. I look a bit different than most Cubans too since I'm rather pale whereas they're sun-tanned. As for religion, most of us are Catholic and honestly, i couldn't care less about the church.

I'd like to move to an entirely different planet.

soundofmusic
11-16-2009, 12:06 AM
Excellent topic, Scher,
I don't recall ever thinking of myself as an American, even though we chanted the "Pledge" everyday in school. My ancestors were all from the UK, mostly fishermen and builders who began leaving England in the 1700's. I was one of 4 children born to a schizophrenic mother and a sadistic, abusive father. They were poor, proud and fanatically religious. There were no books allowed in the house except the bible; we sometimes risked beatings to watch the late night horror movies. When my mother wasn't sick, she was very sweet, silly and inventive.
I was taken out of the home when I was 3, after a sibling died. I was sent to live with an elderly couple, psychologists. I learned to speak properly, good manners, not to be too inquisitive; I was rewarded, like some monkey, for being brilliant. Then when I was ten,
I was sent home. I had forgotten the "language of my family", the hierarchy.
My brother and sister hated me, tricked me because I didn't understand how much they resented that I had been taken out: They locked me in closets, tried to suffocate me while I slept... My parents had frequent visits from child services, or whatever version they had in those days, so I was constantly dressed in party clothes, I was never able to play. The children at school made fun of my mother because she would show up looking lost with her hair half down, holes in her stockings to pick up the kid in the party dress.
The school tested my IQ, and decided to put me in yet more advanced classes. Make me more of a freak than I already was; make my family hate me even more...I began to skip school, christmas treed the tests and married the first boy I could find to get me out of the house.

Unfortuantely, we carry our culture with us, it's there every time we open our mouth, every time we lick an ice cream cone. It's burried so deep within that we don't feel the bias' until someone else does. It's what causes us to loath strangers, feel uncomfortable with certain literature, fear certain political religious groups. It is what causes us to be victims or victorious...

blazeofglory
11-16-2009, 01:06 AM
My upbringing was in an Orthodox Hindu setting and I grew up in a very traditionally woven family background and I was grown up in a community with a mono-culture. That means there was no other religious or ethnic section or other sects than Hindu in my locale. I was totally conditioned accustomed to set values, beliefs, mores and the like and we did not transgressed and contravened those values; for to do so was to be out of that community or society and drifting apart or disorientating oneself from set values and traditions is likened to go dead in my village. I knew nothing of other cultures, religions outside my community. I held a string belief in caste systems. I was a Brahman and this is the highest and holiest class and the rest are below me. We were treated with respect and I had pride in being Brahmanic. Brahmanism was very rampant and the rest had to be submissive.
Everything burst suddenly and I am in the city, though it is a very small city. Here I am amidst many cultures and beliefs. Now in the city I feel estranged but I choose to be disoriented culturally and I despise the idea of caste, creed, belief and ethnicity. We are one and all these externalities or attributes are skin-deep

billl
11-16-2009, 03:11 AM
I am an American (U.S. citizen). I grew up in a military family and my best friends were often minorities when I was young (although our military-kid culture was distinct from any "ethnic" or minority culture). After leaving home, I was a typical suburban american young person, living in an area that was predominately Black (I am White), but with friends that were mostly White (although some among my closest friends were not White). There was plenty of healthy interaction between cultures and races of course (especially in the workplace, where I worked for and made friends with people from various different backgrounds), but I remember that friendships were not always so well-mixed--not so much out of animosity, as out of shared experience/cultural comfort, or something like that.

Eventually, I found work that had me involved with people from a very wide range of countries, cultures, races, religions, etc. I have taken part in discussion with people from many cultures, and as a result, I find that I am often in a different cultural mindset from people around me. But really, I am not so outgoing at all (outside of the workplace), so I think that the cultural issues usually end up meaning less to me than they would to a person that was more focussed on activities in their broader community.

I spent 5 years living in Japan, in a culture that was, to begin with, entirely unfamiliar to me, and I made some friends there, but basically learned little more than how to play the role of an outsider (gaijin) in that culture. My Japanese never progressed beyond functional (e.g. in shopping contexts), or just suitable for basic chatting with friends that had become familiar with my quirks and limitations.

Now, I live in Texas, in a majority Hispanic neighborhood, and Spanish is spoken with about the same frequency as English here. My Spanish is MUCH better than my Japanese, but I am still thrown a bit off-balance when I am suddenly immersed in Spanish conversation (not even a monthly occurrence, since I am usually recognized as non-Mexican). It can be uncomfortable when it happens, but thrilling too!

To specifically address pop-cultural contexts, I should finally admit that I love music from many different countries, and some foreign films, but--on the whole--my appreciation for the arts, TV, etc. is pretty much just English language stuff (with some Spanish-language and Japanese music, TV etc., too).

blazeofglory
11-16-2009, 03:45 AM
I am an American (U.S. citizen). I grew up in a military family and my best friends were often minorities when I was young (although our military-kid culture was distinct from any "ethnic" or minority culture). After leaving home, I was a typical suburban american young person, living in an area that was predominately Black (I am White), but with friends that were mostly White (although some among my closest friends were not White). There was plenty of healthy interaction between cultures and races of course (especially in the workplace, where I worked for and made friends with people from various different backgrounds), but I remember that friendships were not always so well-mixed--not so much out of animosity, as out of shared experience/cultural comfort, or something like that.

Eventually, I found work that had me involved with people from a very wide range of countries, cultures, races, religions, etc. I have taken part in discussion with people from many cultures, and as a result, I find that I am often in a different cultural mindset from people around me. But really, I am not so outgoing at all (outside of the workplace), so I think that the cultural issues usually end up meaning less to me than they would to a person that was more focussed on activities in their broader community.

I spent 5 years living in Japan, in a culture that was, to begin with, entirely unfamiliar to me, and I made some friends there, but basically learned little more than how to play the role of an outsider (gaijin) in that culture. My Japanese never progressed beyond functional (e.g. in shopping contexts), or just suitable for basic chatting with friends that had become familiar with my quirks and limitations.

Now, I live in Texas, in a majority Hispanic neighborhood, and Spanish is spoken with about the same frequency as English here. My Spanish is MUCH better than my Japanese, but I am still thrown a bit off-balance when I am suddenly immersed in Spanish conversation (not even a monthly occurrence, since I am usually recognized as non-Mexican). It can be uncomfortable when it happens, but thrilling too!

To specifically address pop-cultural contexts, I should finally admit that I love music from many different countries, and some foreign films, but--on the whole--my appreciation for the arts, TV, etc. is pretty much just English language stuff (with some Spanish-language and Japanese music, TV etc., too).

much interpersonal contacts and interaction and there is much to learn from and influence in a country like that. Of course one feels a little bit broadminded and forward-thinking in a country like yours. I wish I was born there. I have a passion for learning about other cultures, other religions but in Nepal we have no such opportunities. However with globalization we have most of international channels and I can watch them at a fairly low price and at the same time we can have access to international bestsellers but belatedly. I do not feel I am just a Nepali confined to my geopolitical periphery and that is why I am on this forum interacting wide numbers of people representing multicultural communities and ethnicities. All this has been possible for me owing to two factors: one is the Internet and the other is the English language and with these two advantages over the rest of people in Nepal I am a highly privileged man. I really am excited to be together with all of you in a virtual world sharing and learning and I will continue to do so as long as I will not bore you with my gibberish ideas.

billl
11-16-2009, 05:03 AM
much interpersonal contacts and interaction and there is much to learn from and influence in a country like that. Of course one feels a little bit broadminded and forward-thinking in a country like yours. I wish I was born there. I have a passion for learning about other cultures, other religions but in Nepal we have no such opportunities. However with globalization we have most of international channels and I can watch them at a fairly low price and at the same time we can have access to international bestsellers but belatedly. I do not feel I am just a Nepali confined to my geopolitical periphery and that is why I am on this forum interacting wide numbers of people representing multicultural communities and ethnicities. All this has been possible for me owing to two factors: one is the Internet and the other is the English language and with these two advantages over the rest of people in Nepal I am a highly privileged man. I really am excited to be together with all of you in a virtual world sharing and learning and I will continue to do so as long as I will not bore you with my gibberish ideas.

Blaze, I almost began my post with a great thanks to you for yours, and now I really wish that I had. You are a fascinating person, with a great gift for language. I know that English is not your first language, but your prose is something very special indeed, and a great boon to this website (as are, of course, your opinions and insights). To learn more of your background was a great treat.

And I'd like to point out that here, being something as rare as a Nepali, and living in Kathmandu, there are probably many readers here that envy you and your experiences.

Lokasenna
11-16-2009, 06:00 AM
Oh, please do tell!

:D

Well, the criteria (or perhaps commandments?) for English acceptance in a Welsh village runs something like this:

You must live there for at least thirty years.
You must never say anything negative about Wales.
You must be generous in the local pub.
You must visit the Eisteddfod anually.
You must be able to sing "Land of our Fathers" in Welsh, while drunk.
You must have a picture of Bryn Terfel in your loo.

After all that, they might grudgingly admit that you're all right... for an Englishman.:lol:

kasie
11-16-2009, 06:45 AM
Lokasenna - you forgot the bit about never, but never, saying anything remotely approving of the English rugby team. In fact, you would be well advised to stay indoors, draw the curtains and pretend to be suffering from some unspecified but highly contagious disease on International days. And never do anything eccentric - like keeping a large dog or going to Foreign Parts for a holiday. And thirty years? Let's not be hasty about these things.

blazeofglory
11-16-2009, 07:12 AM
Blaze, I almost began my post with a great thanks to you for yours, and now I really wish that I had. You are a fascinating person, with a great gift for language. I know that English is not your first language, but your prose is something very special indeed, and a great boon to this website (as are, of course, your opinions and insights). To learn more of your background was a great treat.

And I'd like to point out that here, being something as rare as a Nepali, and living in Kathmandu, there are probably many readers here that envy you and your experiences.

Thank you Bill for your kind and inspiring words

papayahed
11-16-2009, 02:00 PM
Weird, everybody has felt like an outsider at some point in time.

Lokasenna
11-16-2009, 02:54 PM
Lokasenna - you forgot the bit about never, but never, saying anything remotely approving of the English rugby team. In fact, you would be well advised to stay indoors, draw the curtains and pretend to be suffering from some unspecified but highly contagious disease on International days. And never do anything eccentric - like keeping a large dog or going to Foreign Parts for a holiday. And thirty years? Let's not be hasty about these things.

Oh yes, the rugby... I'd forgotten the rugby. That's very dangerous territory indeed!

As for hoildays, who needs Barbados when you have Rhyl so close to hand?

Scheherazade
11-16-2009, 07:03 PM
Weird, everybody has felt like an outsider at some point in time.I was thinking the same thing as well... Wonder if it has more to do with our psychology than our location/environment.

Re. Wales: I often dream of moving to Wales because I hear it is very beautiful but I should reconsider that, I guess.

Virgil
11-16-2009, 09:12 PM
Weird, everybody has felt like an outsider at some point in time.

Absolutely. I think the human mind forms conceptions of identification and contra identity. No matter who we are and what our history is.

OrphanPip
11-16-2009, 10:20 PM
Weird, everybody has felt like an outsider at some point in time.

Well I've been told by Quebecois nationalist that I should go home or back where I came from, which was a bit of an odd thing to say to someone when my family has been in Quebec for over 200 years.

On another note, when I was attending French language primary school, the grade 1 teacher told my parents that they should tell me to introduce myself as Michel instead of Michael, because I could pass for purelain (pure lineage). A term that refers to French Canadians with heritage that goes back to France and the original colonist, which hardly applies to me, but my teacher thought, since I could pass as being from this apparently more appealing culture, that I should take advantage of that.

It is difficult in this kind of environment not to feel like an outsider.

Bakiryu
11-17-2009, 12:15 AM
At least some of you can blend in, my accent marks me as an outsider even my own country.

OrphanPip
11-17-2009, 12:54 AM
Ha, this is going to turn into a competition over who feels more culturally alienated.

blazeofglory
11-17-2009, 01:06 AM
We are a little bit estranged if we are inhabitants of a city, for city life is more and more assimilated into streams of new cultures, and in fact I do not believe I get alienated; all I feel is I must be expansive and open to all and being unreserved and extroverted advantage me immensely over being reserved and small-minded and bigoted. Let me be at home with all cultures and in all countries

Maximilianus
11-17-2009, 04:10 AM
I'm enjoying this thread very much, as a way to know how others have felt as outsiders in some point of life, especially billl's, Virgil's and kasie's posts.

blaze, I will have to strongly agree with billl. You are such an awesome writer considering you're not a native English speaker!


Don't you think what pleases or displeases are affected by our culture as well?
Scher, you got me scratching this particular area of my head trying to figure out a clever answer :D

I think of culture as a two-way road, in that our culture begins taking form by the influences that affect us when we are children, and after that we keep shaping it according to the previous background we had acquired (I hope my opinion makes some sense). I think the form of those first influences is very important, because there's a substantial difference between being given the chance to choose and getting a brainwash when we are children. For example, my parents never told me what to read, what to listen to or what to do. Instead they told me "you should choose, so what's it gonna be?". And they never said "You have to read Uncle Tom's Cabin". It was more like "try reading something, it will do you good and which book do you want?". How I came up to reading Uncle Tom's Cabin or The Last of the Mohicans (my first readings as a kid) remains a mystery to me, because I can't remember how I got the interest on such novels, and I can't remember any single person telling me about them. Probably I heard a comment on TV, because in the environment where I grew up (meaning school and neighborhood), reading was unpopular and if someone knew you were "the reading type", they immediately called you "weird" and gave you the scornful looks.


I sometimes feel like I do not belong anywhere anymore. Not enough Anglicized to be considered English but not enough well-preserved to be considered still a "native" in my homeland either. Stuck in a constant state of limbo! :p
But you do belong to LitNetLand, where we all speak Litnetish :p What can be a better country? :D


(...) However, many Americans expect me to be the aforementioned stereotype due to my accent. My own subculture looks at me like something other and most people can't believe I'm interested in writting. (...)
Such a bias!


I'd like to move to an entirely different planet.
I used to have that feeling when I had to deal with The Others (I mean the people that were different from me). I still feel some reminiscence of such a sadness... at times.


I was thinking the same thing as well... Wonder if it has more to do with our psychology than our location/environment.
Alienation is always the result of how we feel and how the others make us feel, I believe. If you feel unwelcome, it's surely not just paranoia. I mean, if it's about what we are, then it's about what the others are.

kasie
11-17-2009, 06:45 AM
Ha, this is going to turn into a competition over who feels more culturally alienated.

:lol:

Virgil
11-17-2009, 08:19 AM
At least some of you can blend in, my accent marks me as an outsider even my own country.

No biggy, Baki. Our country is made up of so many immigrants that's not unusual at all. If you come to New York City, you'd find every other person has an accent. ;)

TurquoiseSunset
11-17-2009, 10:19 AM
Weird, everybody has felt like an outsider at some point in time.

Yip, maybe it just us who post? :p

I see myself as a White African, and specifically a South African through and through. I love my country, and it's people, it's food, it's music, everything. It's a proper cultural melting pot and that's what makes it special.

Unfortunately there are some people who refuse to acknowledge me as an African, but instead they classify me as European because of my skin colour. I can't be one though, because my family's been here for centuries. If I'm not African what the heck am I??

I'm sick of politics...

blazeofglory
11-17-2009, 10:44 AM
Yip, maybe it just us who post? :p

I see myself as a White African, and specifically a South African through and through. I love my country, and it's people, it's food, it's music, everything. It's a proper cultural melting pot and that's what makes it special.

Unfortunately there are some people who refuse to acknowledge me as an African, but instead they classify me as European because of my skin colour. I can't be one though, because my family's been here for centuries. If I'm not African what the heck am I??

I'm sick of politics...

You have greatly emotionalized me and this sense of belongingness to one's past and something one grew up with. I too exactly feel like this in a different context and different setting. I am from Nepal and now reside in a city far from my village where I was born to peasant parents. We had some values, something that gave us some identity, some special feelings and with migration to the city I lost all these highly cherished values to a world that is modern and technically advanced.

Now in the city I am in a way happy and have everything coveted by many but the life in the village was really happier.

Red-Headed
11-17-2009, 03:59 PM
I'm from space. :alien:

Maryd.
11-17-2009, 04:19 PM
Ok, Ok, don't get me started...

I was born in Australia by Italian parents... Except one of my Italian parents has an Indian mother (Sri Lanka-Indian). Spent most of my life being raised by Irish/English adults. My father's grandfather was Spanish and I believe there is an Irish family member somewhere along the line as well. Now... I marry a Cypriot/Greek fellow, (both of us were born here in Australia) who has some family born and raised in Egypt. So at this stage we tell our children that they are Australian... But they are blessed with many different cultural backgrounds. We couldn't be racist if we tried.
Here in Australia, there are so many different cultures, it's amazing. I love to see and hear about their folklores or taste their meals. I am open to many new cultures and the world is adjusting to many different cultures as well. It's all good.:thumbs_up

kilted exile
11-17-2009, 05:15 PM
Racially I am a mixture of things. Culturally I am glaswegian.

We are a culture all to ourselves and I have believe most cultural identities can be broken down smaller than national to city and even districts. Glaswegian culture and upbringing for example leads to a different outlook from scottish islands and even from edinburgh. We all see things through a certain lens and of course as a glaswegian it is very hard not to look at things through a socialist one whereas a person from the highlands might have a more nationalistic outlook. Then there is the edinburghian who is more likely to be capitalist leaning and (to us glaswegians) a fancy dan.

Niamh
11-17-2009, 05:18 PM
If thats the case i'm a Dub with a little bit of bogger thrown in (all those country hols :p )

Personally i dont feel culturally or ethnically isolated... dont think i ever have...

Lokasenna
11-17-2009, 05:31 PM
At least some of you can blend in, my accent marks me as an outsider even my own country.

Ditto. Welsh I may be, but I have somehow gained a cut-glass RP English accent.

One of my professors is an expert in dialects, and in the end he had to ask me where I was from as he couldn't work it out...

kilted exile
11-17-2009, 05:43 PM
Well, the criteria (or perhaps commandments?) for English acceptance in a Welsh village runs something like this:

You must live there for at least thirty years.
You must never say anything negative about Wales.
You must be generous in the local pub.
You must visit the Eisteddfod anually.
You must be able to sing "Land of our Fathers" in Welsh, while drunk.
You must have a picture of Bryn Terfel in your loo.

After all that, they might grudgingly admit that you're all right... for an Englishman.:lol:

bah you welsh are too easy on those sassenachs;)

as evidenced by us chanting "We hate england more than you" during our recent encounter in cardiff

Annamariah
11-17-2009, 05:45 PM
Anna> Would you say you define your culture identity more through your religion?

Not really. I think I fit the description of an average Finn better than the description of an average member of my church. That is to say that I don't really feel at home in my church either.

Basically the main thing that makes me an outsider among Finns is the fact I don't drink alcohol. Moderate use of alcohol is something Finns have always had difficulty with (most often when people drink, they keep drinking until they're drunk), and alcohol is an essential part of almost any party, holiday, and a free evening, especially among students, and those who don't drink always stand out.

Another one is the fact that nowadays religion is something really uncool in Finland. Most people seem to think that faith is a sign of stupidity and that those who believe in God are automatically incabable of rational thinking.

But other than that I think I am a pretty typical Finn: we are rather reserved, we value our personal space, respect each other's privacy, and don't talk unless we've got something to say. Just this morning I was travelling on a bus that was full of people, but completely silent, as no one was talking to anyone else. We're also a pretty melancholic folk, you just need to listen to some Finnish music and you'll soon realise that almost all of it is in minor and the lyrics are often rather depressing :lol:

soundofmusic
11-17-2009, 07:48 PM
But you do belong to LitNetLand, where we all speak Litnetish :p What can be a better country? :D



:p What a lovely thought, LitNetLand; Yes, I somehow feel a little more 3 dimensional here. As if the things I read are somehow more significant than they seem when I discuss them with friends "on the outside":alien:

Maximilianus
11-17-2009, 09:15 PM
Ok, Ok, don't get me started...

I was born in Australia by Italian parents... Except one of my Italian parents has an Indian mother (Sri Lanka-Indian). Spent most of my life being raised by Irish/English adults. My father's grandfather was Spanish and I believe there is an Irish family member somewhere along the line as well. Now... I marry a Cypriot/Greek fellow, (both of us were born here in Australia) who has some family born and raised in Egypt. So at this stage we tell our children that they are Australian... But they are blessed with many different cultural backgrounds. We couldn't be racist if we tried.
Here in Australia, there are so many different cultures, it's amazing. I love to see and hear about their folklores or taste their meals. I am open to many new cultures and the world is adjusting to many different cultures as well. It's all good.:thumbs_up
That's a really interesting blend, Mary :D


Not really. I think I fit the description of an average Finn better than the description of an average member of my church. That is to say that I don't really feel at home in my church either.
I wouldn't make a home out of a church; its peoples are so pure :cold: I've been told that the day I enter a church the saints would fall from their pedestals. The peculiarity of this statement is that I've entered a cathedral a couple times and the saints are still standing :lol: My theory is that if saints don't fall when believers enter, then they have no reason to drop dead when I enter :lol: Moral: believers are so pure and naive that they can't realize that the saints they are beholding are just statues that will only fall after a major earthquake :p


Another one is the fact that nowadays religion is something really uncool in Finland. Most people seem to think that faith is a sign of stupidity and that those who believe in God are automatically incabable of rational thinking.
I know irrational folks of all kinds. Not all of them are believers. Actually, most of them believe they know, but the truth is that they don't know what to believe :lol:


But other than that I think I am a pretty typical Finn: we are rather reserved, we value our personal space, respect each other's privacy, and don't talk unless we've got something to say. Just this morning I was travelling on a bus that was full of people, but completely silent, as no one was talking to anyone else. We're also a pretty melancholic folk, you just need to listen to some Finnish music and you'll soon realise that almost all of it is in minor and the lyrics are often rather depressing :lol:
Like I didn't know...... :lol:


:p What a lovely thought, LitNetLand; Yes, I somehow feel a little more 3 dimensional here. As if the things I read are somehow more significant than they seem when I discuss them with friends "on the outside":alien:

I have felt approximately the same :D What a feeling! :)

Virgil
11-17-2009, 11:23 PM
But you do belong to LitNetLand, where we all speak Litnetish :p What can be a better country? :D


Hehe, Lit Net as part of our identity! I love it. :D It's true though. I have belonged to other internet forums, even other literature and writing forums, and there is a certain identity to each. But lit net is the best! Let's kick their a$$. :p

Maryd.
11-17-2009, 11:29 PM
Hehe, Lit Net as part of our identity! I love it. :D It's true though. I have belonged to other internet forums, even other literature and writing forums, and there is a certain identity to each. But lit net is the best! Let's kick their a$$. :p

This is true. I feel so at home here.

It is a culture all of it's own...

GOOOOO LIIIIITTTTNNNEETTT

Maximilianus
11-18-2009, 02:22 AM
Yes, I've noticed that ours is a particularly homely community. I believe that the communities where we enter, be them on-line or not, have a lot to do with the shaping of our identities :nod:

Annamariah
11-18-2009, 11:19 AM
I wouldn't make a home out of a church; its peoples are so pure :cold: I've been told that the day I enter a church the saints would fall from their pedestals. The peculiarity of this statement is that I've entered a cathedral a couple times and the saints are still standing :lol: My theory is that if saints don't fall when believers enter, then they have no reason to drop dead when I enter :lol: Moral: believers are so pure and naive that they can't realize that the saints they are beholding are just statues that will only fall after a major earthquake :p

I guess that depends on the church, and there are also differences within each church, not all parishes/congregations/whatever the word is are the same :) In general I find most people within my church pretty nice. Besides, we don't have any statues of the saints in our church, so I'm sure no one would say something like that to you here :lol:


I know irrational folks of all kinds. Not all of them are believers. Actually, most of them believe they know, but the truth is that they don't know what to believe :lol:

I think that while it is as impossible to prove that God does not exist as it is to prove that he does, faith doesn't make people stupid any more than atheism makes people brilliant. I know both stupid and clever people from both groups. I also find those believers who think they know everything there is to know about anything just as annoying as those atheists who do the same :D

soundofmusic
11-18-2009, 07:23 PM
Ok, Ok, don't get me started...

I was born in Australia by Italian parents... Except one of my Italian parents has an Indian mother (Sri Lanka-Indian). Spent most of my life being raised by Irish/English adults. My father's grandfather was Spanish and I believe there is an Irish family member somewhere along the line as well. Now... I marry a Cypriot/Greek fellow, (both of us were born here in Australia) who has some family born and raised in Egypt. So at this stage we tell our children that they are Australian... But they are blessed with many different cultural backgrounds. We couldn't be racist if we tried.
Here in Australia, there are so many different cultures, it's amazing. I love to see and hear about their folklores or taste their meals. I am open to many new cultures and the world is adjusting to many different cultures as well. It's all good.:thumbs_up

Gracious Maryd, what a fascinating background. Which culture do you feel influenced your value system most? In South Florida, we have many different cultures: at work, school or the grocery store they are indistinguishable; However, in their homes they do not stray too far from their customs. In one home I visited, a woman told me she trusted me, so I could disipline her children if the were fresh. It seemed that everyone who came to the house felt comfortable spanking or yelling at the children.
In another home, a man lived with three women. He had an American wife who worked outside of the home and argued with him about the freedom she wanted to give her children, a woman who kept house and seemed to be out of his favor; and a very young woman, from his own country with his child, who did absolutely nothing and shared his bed.
I am told that America is a "melting pot"; but it actually seems to me to be a pot that always has several pieces of different materials that refuse to melt completely or mix together.


Hehe, Lit Net as part of our identity! I love it. :D It's true though. I have belonged to other internet forums, even other literature and writing forums, and there is a certain identity to each. But lit net is the best! Let's kick their a$$. :p

Yes, Lit Net is great because there are so many people with so many interests on the forum: everyone can find his/her place!



I wouldn't make a home out of a church; its peoples are so pure :cold: I've been told that the day I enter a church the saints would fall from their pedestals. The peculiarity of this statement is that I've entered a cathedral a couple times and the saints are still standing

:lol: They started bolting the saints to the foundation of the church; but just to be on the safe side, I only go for funerals and sit in the back row:)

Virgil
11-18-2009, 08:58 PM
I think that while it is as impossible to prove that God does not exist as it is to prove that he does, faith doesn't make people stupid any more than atheism makes people brilliant. I know both stupid and clever people from both groups. I also find those believers who think they know everything there is to know about anything just as annoying as those atheists who do the same :D

Hear, hear!! :) :)

Babbalanja
11-18-2009, 10:43 PM
faith doesn't make people stupid any more than atheism makes people brilliant.Agreed.

But at least doubt is the beginning of a rational process of inquiry, a fair starting point for inductive reasoning. On the other hand, faith is just certainty for free, the word we call credulity when we want to make it sound like a virtue.

Regards,

Istvan

Virgil
11-18-2009, 11:05 PM
Agreed.

But at least doubt is the beginning of a rational process of inquiry, a fair starting point for inductive reasoning. On the other hand, faith is just certainty for free, the word we call credulity when we want to make it sound like a virtue.

Regards,

Istvan
Fair enough, but perhaps you fail to see that those with faith have passed through doubt and reached an understanding. I know almost no one with faith who at some point did not work through their doubt.

Babbalanja
11-18-2009, 11:25 PM
Fair enough, but perhaps you fail to see that those with faith have passed through doubt and reached an understanding. I know almost no one with faith who at some point did not work through their doubt.
If people reach an actual understanding, it's through an approach to knowledge that is more than just affirming something until they don't doubt it anymore. If you study hard enough, you can understand something like physics or French. But can you really understand God, the soul, John 3:16, or any mystical-schmistical palaver in the same way?

Regards,

Istvan

Maximilianus
11-19-2009, 12:03 AM
(...) Besides, we don't have any statues of the saints in our church, so I'm sure no one would say something like that to you here :lol:
What a relief! :lol:


I think that while it is as impossible to prove that God does not exist as it is to prove that he does, faith doesn't make people stupid any more than atheism makes people brilliant. I know both stupid and clever people from both groups. I also find those believers who think they know everything there is to know about anything just as annoying as those atheists who do the same :D
Remember when I said you have the talent to be where you are? Well, this post is proof of that statement :thumbs_up


(...)
I am told that America is a "melting pot"; but it actually seems to me to be a pot that always has several pieces of different materials that refuse to melt completely or mix together.
Very interesting perspective, and very true. Since we are talking about identity, I think there is a chance that many people fear the prospect of losing theirs if they mix it with ingredients from the identities of others, and I feel that this may be due to not having it well-affirmed. I mean, how can anyone lose identity when it is well grabbed?


Yes, Lit Net is great because there are so many people with so many interests on the forum: everyone can find his/her place!
Yeah, I have my little corner here, and I'm not giving it away unless I get killed... or banned :lol:


:lol: They started bolting the saints to the foundation of the church; but just to be on the safe side, I only go for funerals and sit in the back row:)
I do almost the same, mainly because I don't know the holy canticles by heart, as the holy attendants who sit at the front rows often do :lol: Too much shame on me to be sitting among the holy ones :lol:


Agreed.

But at least doubt is the beginning of a rational process of inquiry, a fair starting point for inductive reasoning. On the other hand, faith is just certainty for free, the word we call credulity when we want to make it sound like a virtue.

Regards,

Istvan

This makes sense too :)

Virgil
11-19-2009, 12:09 AM
If people reach an actual understanding, it's through an approach to knowledge that is more than just affirming something until they don't doubt it anymore. If you study hard enough, you can understand something like physics or French. But can you really understand God, the soul, John 3:16, or any mystical-schmistical palaver in the same way?

Regards,

Istvan

So what are you saying, that the only possible reasonable outcome is to choose atheism? No there is no way to fully understand God. But there is no way to fully understand physics either. One could have said after Newton that reason had determined the end of physics, but how wrong that was. Anyone that thinks we've come to the end of scientific knowledge is dead wrong and really just relying on as much faith as a believer in God. Your statement about studying hard enough and you'll understand physics is a fallacy.

Maximilianus
11-19-2009, 12:17 AM
If people reach an actual understanding, it's through an approach to knowledge that is more than just affirming something until they don't doubt it anymore. If you study hard enough, you can understand something like physics or French. But can you really understand God, the soul, John 3:16, or any mystical-schmistical palaver in the same way?

Regards,

Istvan

So you say that sciences and arts are far more understandable because they are tangible, and therefore you can see the results of such understanding? If this is what you meant, I seem to understand your point. It's quite what I feel.


So what are you saying, that the only possible reasonable outcome is to choose atheism? No there is no way to fully understand God. But there is no way to fully understand physics either. One could have said after Newton that reason had determined the end of physics, but how wrong that was. Anyone that thinks we've come to the end of scientific knowledge is dead wrong and really just relying on as much faith as a believer in God. Your statement about studying hard enough and you'll understand physics is a fallacy.

I appreciate this view of yours too, Virgil. I also believe that the ultimate knowledge is nowhere near to be reached, in any given field.

Babbalanja
11-19-2009, 06:33 AM
So what are you saying, that the only possible reasonable outcome is to choose atheism? No there is no way to fully understand God. But there is no way to fully understand physics either. One could have said after Newton that reason had determined the end of physics, but how wrong that was. Anyone that thinks we've come to the end of scientific knowledge is dead wrong and really just relying on as much faith as a believer in God.{edit}

I never said any of those things.

All I was saying is that there's an approach to knowledge that allows us to say we understand something to a greater or lesser degree because we're actually expanding our knowledge about the subject. And on the other hand there's faith, which allows us to say we understand something when all we're doing is coming to terms with its essential absurdity.


Your statement about studying hard enough and you'll understand physics is a fallacy.:rolleyes:

No, it's not. Students understand physics to some extent, physicists to a somewhat greater extent, and geniuses like Einstein and Hawking to a much greater extent. Part of this understanding is realizing how much there is left to discover, and systematizing a plan of inquiry. But all faith does is assume certainty, and do away with doubt. There's no ongoing plan of inquiry, just reinforcement of what we already believe.

Regards,

Istvan

Virgil
11-19-2009, 07:56 AM
{edit}
But all faith does is assume certainty, and do away with doubt. There's no ongoing plan of inquiry, just reinforcement of what we already believe.


Those are false statements. You obviously don't understand faith and religion.

TurquoiseSunset
11-19-2009, 10:01 AM
Those are false statements. You obviously don't understand faith and religion.

Amen Virgil, amen.

Lokasenna
11-19-2009, 10:42 AM
No, it's not. Students understand physics to some extent, physicists to a somewhat greater extent, and geniuses like Einstein and Hawking to a much greater extent. Part of this understanding is realizing how much there is left to discover, and systematizing a plan of inquiry. But all faith does is assume certainty, and do away with doubt. There's no ongoing plan of inquiry, just reinforcement of what we already believe.

As it so happens, I've met Stephen Hawking a few times - he's a friend of a friend, so to speak. And I can promise you that, as far as he is concerned, there very much is an "ongoing plan of inquiry" - for him, his intellect and research tells him that we've only began to scratch the surface.

As for Einstein, he was famously agnostic... although he rejected the concept of a Christian, law-giving god, he believed there was some form of intelligence behind creation... He was a Deist, if you like.

"I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."

soundofmusic
11-19-2009, 11:02 AM
:confused: Gracious, how do we keep doing this. Our talks on the religious thread keep getting turned into cultural discussions; and our cultural and sexual discussions keep turning into religious ones:rolleyes:

Babbalanja
11-19-2009, 01:12 PM
{edit}

Anyway, my cultural identity depends more on my views than my background. I was born in Scotland but live in the USA. Now to my relatives I'm the yank, but I'm not considered fully American here.

There are a lot of immigrants in my family, too. My wife's family emigrated from Hungary during the revolution, and my sister-in-law came from Kenya. I live in a neighborhood where a lot of people are from Latin America. I speak Spanish, but a lot of the neighbors are suspicious of a gringo who speaks español.

I'll admit I'm always surprised at the level of religiosity in America. My Scottish relatives are all nonbelievers. It seems any negative comment someone makes about religion makes Americans paranoid and petulant.

Regards,

Istvan

OrphanPip
11-19-2009, 01:35 PM
I find that certain immigrants get integrated much faster by the society. When people come from France to Quebec, the public perception is that they are already almost "one of us." They speak the language and have essentially the same values for the most part. However, there is almost as large an anti-immigrant backlash against North Africans in Quebec as there is in France. I say almost because I've been told by a few North Africans that they came to Quebec from France because the French are con and find Quebec more accommodating.

Within two or three generations any European immigrant is fully accepted as Canadian, but many of those descended from the Chinese immigrants that built the railway 200 years ago never seem to be able to get away from that heritage. They are at most in the eyes of the public "Chinese Canadians".

To an extent we have the ability to shape our own cultural views, but so much of what we define ourselves by seems imposed on us by the views of our compatriots.

gbrekken
11-19-2009, 02:00 PM
cultural identity? can we discuss it with new eyes? I'm above nothing and noone and being simply a human being, know not what your judgements value or not. Belief is axiomatic to identity that is self-subscirbed. My cultural identity is more British than American (colonial), not all by choice but by upbringing etc. of an English bent.

I'm not an immigrant, nor am I native. Am I like the mulatto who asked whether they should fill in the blank for black or white? Their word for genetic identity was "oreo", but there was no blank for that.

If I choose to believe as a christian, I have done just that. The nebulous word "faith" has nothing to do with it. Saying that I'm "nearly a Canuck" probably doesn't mean much to those who can't identify with it. They just stare and ask where I'm from and think they then know my cultural identity.

I feel Sam Clemens' statement about not belonging to any group that would have him as a member may be appropriate here. If I am assimiliated in a new area, it's not because I became something or one that fit in, but because of the willingness of others to incorporate more than themselves in a cultural identity. happy trails.

Virgil
11-19-2009, 05:08 PM
cultural identity? can we discuss it with new eyes? I'm above nothing and noone and being simply a human being, know not what your judgements value or not. Belief is axiomatic to identity that is self-subscirbed. My cultural identity is more British than American (colonial), not all by choice but by upbringing etc. of an English bent.

I'm not an immigrant, nor am I native. Am I like the mulatto who asked whether they should fill in the blank for black or white? Their word for genetic identity was "oreo", but there was no blank for that.

If I choose to believe as a christian, I have done just that. The nebulous word "faith" has nothing to do with it. Saying that I'm "nearly a Canuck" probably doesn't mean much to those who can't identify with it. They just stare and ask where I'm from and think they then know my cultural identity.

I feel Sam Clemens' statement about not belonging to any group that would have him as a member may be appropriate here. If I am assimiliated in a new area, it's not because I became something or one that fit in, but because of the willingness of others to incorporate more than themselves in a cultural identity. happy trails.

When it comes down to it, we all have an identity of one with overlapping circles of commonality with millions/billions/trillions, if we consider people who lived in the past as well.

OrphanPip
11-19-2009, 05:16 PM
When it comes down to it, we all have an identity of one with overlapping circles of commonality with millions/billions/trillions, if we consider people who lived in the past as well.

Ha, technically the amount of people ever to have lived on the Earth and still living today is around 10 billion, 6 billion of those being alive today :p

The point is taken though.

Scheherazade
11-19-2009, 05:52 PM
Our talks on the religious thread keep getting turned into cultural discussions; and our cultural and sexual discussions keep turning into religious ones:rolleyes:Seems like we have a flair just for that! :-/


Some post have been removed/edited due to their inflammatory contents.

Posts with similar content will be removed without further warning

or

lead to thread closure.

Virgil
11-19-2009, 07:30 PM
Ha, technically the amount of people ever to have lived on the Earth and still living today is around 10 billion, 6 billion of those being alive today :p

The point is taken though.
Oh thanks. Only 10 billion. Interesting.


Seems like we have a flair just for that! :-/


Some post have been removed/edited due to their inflammatory contents.

Posts with similar content will be removed without further warning

or

lead to thread closure.

:lol: I thought I was quite civil. I even said "you're welcome." :D

OrphanPip
11-19-2009, 09:30 PM
Oh thanks. Only 10 billion. Interesting.

It varies based on who you talk to, if you count estimates of infant death and you start estimating humans from 1 million years ago you get like 100 billion. A lot of unfortunate children have died in the history of the Earth.

If you start around 50,000 years ago and count only humans who live to adulthood, then you get around 10 billion. Either way, it's under the trillion mark :p.

Virgil
11-19-2009, 11:04 PM
It varies based on who you talk to, if you count estimates of infant death and you start estimating humans from 1 million years ago you get like 100 billion. A lot of unfortunate children have died in the history of the Earth.

If you start around 50,000 years ago and count only humans who live to adulthood, then you get around 10 billion. Either way, it's under the trillion mark :p.

Thank you. I did not know any of that. :)

soundofmusic
11-19-2009, 11:24 PM
[QUOTE=Babbalanja;806489]. I live in a neighborhood where a lot of people are from Latin America.

I'll admit I'm always surprised at the level of religiosity in America. My Scottish relatives are all nonbelievers. It seems any negative comment someone makes about religion makes Americans paranoid and petulant.

I enjoyed your post and appreciate your dilema. I was born and have lived all my life in America; so when I stayed in England, I was shocked to find that these very formal strangers would ask me the most personal of questions. After a simple cup of tea they would talk about our president, our priests, and all of our little scandals. I, personally found it rather refreshing and very amusing thinking of the brawl that would occur in the wrong bar in the states. I then realized the basic difference between Americans and British. British people discuss things as if they are on the outside looking through a microscope at a petri dish. Americans discuss things as if they are on the petri dish being examined. :lol:

Gladys
11-19-2009, 11:37 PM
So what is the make up of your cultural identity?

I'm from emigrating Germans in the 1850's with a strong Lutheran tradition (like Annamariah). With German still spoken at home in World Wars where Germany was the enemy, cultural assimilation has been slow in coming.


"I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."

Imbibing existentialist philosophy in my late teens, I believe, for the most part, in Kierkegaard's God. The existence of my God is a given, and His overarching manifestation is love. God acts out of love but how He acts is for him alone: my sole concern is to act out of love myself.

As for science, it says so little on acts of love!

gbrekken
11-21-2009, 10:51 AM
I neglected to mention a very imporant part of my identity. I was raised on a farm. Cash crops only after about age 10. It's a background becoming more and more unique in the world.

Paulclem
11-23-2009, 07:40 PM
I'm from working class stock - my relatives were miners and farmers. My dad worked on the motorways in the 60's and 70's - M62/ M1. Then he became electively unemployed for the rest of his life, and so I suppose I'm also from the unemployed underclass of the 80's too.

I'm a city boy, I grew up in Wakefield - population around 60,000 in Yorkshire, and have always lived in cities, though I wasn't au fait with large cities in my teens - once when the rugby team I played for were contemplating a match in London I suggested that we just might happen to see one of our mates, who lived in London, in the pub afterwards...
So I suppose I'm urban.

I was brought up atheist if anything. The only time I went to church was the harvest festival at school. It did leave me open minded, which I feel has been a great plus for me.

I then became interested in Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, and I attend classes today. So Tibetan Buddhism has had a powerful influence upon me.

Now, due to my job as a Literacy Programme Manager, combined with my graduate and post graduate qualifications, I am middle class. I still appreciate those working class traits that are positive, and I can bring them to bear, and I still have a Yorkshire accent.

blazeofglory
12-10-2009, 07:42 AM
I came from a agrarian society. That was a totally remote and unexposed village to the outside world. My father was a simple farmer and my mother illiterate. I am the only person to have a graduate degree and my brothers and sisters are fairly educated. Now I dwell in a city and live differently. I have a very educated wife and her background was different. Though she too did not come from a rich family but at least they were better educated.

I had to struggle hard when I had to assimilate into a new social network with newer values and demands. My naivety in my earlier days put me in a much difficult state. I have observed two different backgrounds and cultures.
Now I growing into maturity I do not kind of align with particular cultural setups. I can feel at home with all no matter which religious and cultural backgrounds one has come from. I can digest or inject all ideas.

I can feel comfortable with any customs or people or foods or systems. Though born of an orthodox Brahman family I do not belong to a particular sect. I am not nationalistic. Nationalism is a contagious disease. I fee the entire planet is home to me and Nepal is just by accident my birthplace.

JuniperWoolf
12-10-2009, 08:39 PM
I'm from working class stock - my relatives were miners and farmers.

Mine too, and anyone here who knows me can tell pretty easily that I'm very proud of my hard working friends and family. There's a certain nobility to labor. I love a man with rough hands who smells like sweat, with black eyeliner-like rings around his eyes from coal dust that won't wash away in the shower. There's nothing that makes me feel more safe, except for maybe a hunter smelling like soap with his hands stained orange from the blood of some wild beast. I feel so much love for my father and brother just picturing that image. It's strange, I never really felt my culture so solidly until I moved to Edmonton (hateful, vile, souless city) to go to University. The men there have soft hands, and they spend their money on these stupid little $8 coffees from stupid little cafe's, inhabited by pseudo-intellectuals typing away at their laptops or pretending to read a copy of The God Delusion. Bleh. I had to leave that city, or I think I would have died. I'm built for mental strain, not physical, but I can't (I really CANNOT) get my education in a big city no matter how good the school is. Weak men and meek women, and EVERYBODY complaining about EVERYTHING. Give me harsh winters, give me smoke and blood and survival! That's my culture.

I also have a fierce pride for my country. Canadians like to play, and most of us take life for what it is (one big joke). We have a tendancy to sit on decks and porches and pass the entire day drinking beer and making fun of each other and talking about hockey. We also harbor a certain resentment for Americans, but we like Scandanavian countries (probably because they're like us). I don't care if national pride is a good thing or a bad thing, I love my country and I'd die for it.

Virgil
12-11-2009, 11:49 AM
Mine too, and anyone here who knows me can tell pretty easily that I'm very proud of my hard working friends and family. There's a certain nobility to labor. I love a man with rough hands who smells like sweat, with black eyeliner-like rings around his eyes from coal dust that won't wash away in the shower. There's nothing that makes me feel more safe, except for maybe a hunter smelling like soap with his hands stained orange from the blood of some wild beast. I feel so much love for my father and brother just picturing that image. It's strange, I never really felt my culture so solidly until I moved to Edmonton (hateful, vile, souless city) to go to University. The men there have soft hands, and they spend their money on these stupid little $8 coffees from stupid little cafe's, inhabited by pseudo-intellectuals typing away at their laptops or pretending to read a copy of The God Delusion. Bleh. I had to leave that city, or I think I would have died. I'm built for mental strain, not physical, but I can't (I really CANNOT) get my education in a big city no matter how good the school is. Weak men and meek women, and EVERYBODY complaining about EVERYTHING. Give me harsh winters, give me smoke and blood and survival! That's my culture.

I also have a fierce pride for my country. Canadians like to play, and most of us take life for what it is (one big joke). We have a tendancy to sit on decks and porches and pass the entire day drinking beer and making fun of each other and talking about hockey. We also harbor a certain resentment for Americans, but we like Scandanavian countries (probably because they're like us). I don't care if national pride is a good thing or a bad thing, I love my country and I'd die for it.

What a marvelous post!!!!! I loved reading every word of that!!!! Four stars for that!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2a/Flag_of_four_star_general_of_Italy.svg/800px-Flag_of_four_star_general_of_Italy.svg.png

But I got to get you to like Americans better. ;)

SleepyWitch
12-11-2009, 08:00 PM
hum, that's a difficult question.

German atheist, blessed with a Protestant work ethic thanks to my Lutheran working class mother. Getting used to north-western English Catholicism, minus the bit about Jesus, God and the Pope (but they leave that out most of the time anyway). My family background is working class as in getting drunk, beating your children and striving to get a good education (mother) and lower middle class as in being culturally ignorant (father). I'm too well-educated (read: posh and snooty) to watch X-Factor etc., but also too accustomed to poverty/stinginess to regularly spend any money on 'useless' things like going to the theatre or opera. However, given the choice between a musical and an opera, I'd choose the opera.
German "high culture" annoys me because it's basically a mutual admiration society for people who all agree that this kind of "culture" is extremely important, only they don't really know why that is and what German culture consists of in the first place. But everybody says it's important, so it must be true. German (lower) middle class people annoy me because they have a proto-fascist way of teaming up for festivals and organized fun. They look forward to their dozens of festivals all year but once the big day has arrived they are really aggressive, get drunk and jostle each other.

English trash culture annoys me because 11 million people mindlessly follow X-Factor just because everybody else does it.

I'm slightly confused about English people at the moment, because I thought they were reserved and leave each other alone. Everyone here is very sociable, however, and people (mainly posh ones) are very concerned about everybody "fitting in." This is weird because the English go on about how individualistic they are. On the other hand, my pupils don't help each other out at all when one of them doesn't have a pen or a book. They are nice Catholic middle-class kids who all "fit in" very well, but when it comes to borrowing a pen or sharing a book, they are fixated on Miss and cannot ask their class mates for help. .... ok, this is slightly off topic...

In Germany, everything is perfectionist. People make a fuss about details and plan everything ahead three years in advance. Yet life is relaxed. (An English guy told me so!!!)
In England, people can't be bothered to do anything and don't stress about anything (at least they say so 100 times a day). Yet life is hectic and people work and rush around all the time.


Also, people here invade each others personal space all the time. When someone stands too close to me and I take a step back, they don't get the message and stand even closer to me instead of leaving me alone. How does this go together with being reserved? I find myself "cuddling" with colleagues of both sexes all the time. In Germany I would maybe stand/ sit that close to my best friend or my mother. But if I or my friends 'retreated' the other would get the message and not move up closer to them.

I took a quiz on Facebook that said I should be Swedish ;)

Agatha
12-13-2009, 09:19 PM
hum, that's a difficult question.

German atheist, blessed with a Protestant work ethic thanks to my Lutheran working class mother. Getting used to north-western English Catholicism, minus the bit about Jesus, God and the Pope (but they leave that out most of the time anyway). My family background is working class as in getting drunk, beating your children and striving to get a good education (mother) and lower middle class as in being culturally ignorant (father). I'm too well-educated (read: posh and snooty) to watch X-Factor etc., but also too accustomed to poverty/stinginess to regularly spend any money on 'useless' things like going to the theatre or opera. However, given the choice between a musical and an opera, I'd choose the opera.
German "high culture" annoys me because it's basically a mutual admiration society for people who all agree that this kind of "culture" is extremely important, only they don't really know why that is and what German culture consists of in the first place. But everybody says it's important, so it must be true. German (lower) middle class people annoy me because they have a proto-fascist way of teaming up for festivals and organized fun. They look forward to their dozens of festivals all year but once the big day has arrived they are really aggressive, get drunk and jostle each other.

English trash culture annoys me because 11 million people mindlessly follow X-Factor just because everybody else does it.

I'm slightly confused about English people at the moment, because I thought they were reserved and leave each other alone. Everyone here is very sociable, however, and people (mainly posh ones) are very concerned about everybody "fitting in." This is weird because the English go on about how individualistic they are. On the other hand, my pupils don't help each other out at all when one of them doesn't have a pen or a book. They are nice Catholic middle-class kids who all "fit in" very well, but when it comes to borrowing a pen or sharing a book, they are fixated on Miss and cannot ask their class mates for help. .... ok, this is slightly off topic...

In Germany, everything is perfectionist. People make a fuss about details and plan everything ahead three years in advance. Yet life is relaxed. (An English guy told me so!!!)
In England, people can't be bothered to do anything and don't stress about anything (at least they say so 100 times a day). Yet life is hectic and people work and rush around all the time.


Also, people here invade each others personal space all the time. When someone stands too close to me and I take a step back, they don't get the message and stand even closer to me instead of leaving me alone. How does this go together with being reserved? I find myself "cuddling" with colleagues of both sexes all the time. In Germany I would maybe stand/ sit that close to my best friend or my mother. But if I or my friends 'retreated' the other would get the message and not move up closer to them.

I took a quiz on Facebook that said I should be Swedish ;)

I agree with you about many things, espacially when it's about British trash culture. But today X-factor is over :)

To begin with I'm a Pole, European, technically speaking Catholic, but really I'm agnostic. This year I came to the UK to study(in one of the best all girls' boarding school) But as soon as I finish my a-levels I will probaby move out.
There are several things about British people, their culture, style of life and mentality which I find really suprising and I don't like it.
Firstly, what struck me the most when I arrived, that British people don't really seem to belong to Europe. They are thinking of themselves as seprate, isolate part of Europe.
Gnerally I was really suprised to find out how most of people here perceive Europe. One of the teachers here(French teachers, more suprisingly) said once 'Europe is such a beautiful country'. It's not a country, it's a CONTINENT. Additionally many girls at my school, although most of them took Geography for their GCSE, don't know most of European countries, not to mention Asian and African ones. It began really annoying for me to tell people here where Poland is, and yes, we don't speak Russian, nor German there for milions times.
The most dissapointing part is how my peers are stupid in terms of general knowledge.
Some of them get always A*, but they don't have any additional knowledge about world, or, what's even worse about the subjects that they're taking.
Once I was talking with a girl who always gets A for her English lit essays. I mentioned that I have just seen 'Dorian Grey' and then I asked her whether she had ever read the book. She said that she had never heard of this book before, moreover she didn't know anything about Oscar Wilde. :confused:
Another thing ehich it's really weird for the, it the fact that the British girls in my classes seem to have problems with English langauge. My mother tounge is not English and now here I had to explain to my collegues here what some English word mean like 'authentically', 'pathologist', 'tyranny'. Isn't it odd?
Plus I was bewildered how the girls from my 'posh' school spend their leisure time( in a nutshell- go to pub/club, get drunk and then have sex with some random guy. And next weekend- another party, another guy). In my country, some girls belong to this slutty category as well, but usually they are like this, because their families are dysfunctional and nobody cares about them. But here I have a feeling that parents of these girls really cares about them and they would be shocked if they knew how their beloved daugthers spend Sunday&Saturday evenings.
To sum up: I don't really think that I will ever been able to 'fit it'. And I don't really think that I will make friends at school(maybe with other oversea girls, because fortunately thy are not like these). Originally I was planning to stay here to study at British Uni, but now I am not sure, whether it is good idea.
I don't have a certain cultural idenity. I'm not missing Poland, and its culture. But on the other hand, the British culture and way of life don't appeal to me.
SleepyWitch I may do this test on Facebook, to find out to which nationality I fit the best :)

Paulclem
12-14-2009, 02:00 PM
I agree with you about many things, espacially when it's about British trash culture. But today X-factor is over :)

To begin with I'm a Pole, European, technically speaking Catholic, but really I'm agnostic. This year I came to the UK to study(in one of the best all girls' boarding school) But as soon as I finish my a-levels I will probaby move out.
There are several things about British people, their culture, style of life and mentality which I find really suprising and I don't like it.
Firstly, what struck me the most when I arrived, that British people don't really seem to belong to Europe. They are thinking of themselves as seprate, isolate part of Europe.
Gnerally I was really suprised to find out how most of people here perceive Europe. One of the teachers here(French teachers, more suprisingly) said once 'Europe is such a beautiful country'. It's not a country, it's a CONTINENT. Additionally many girls at my school, although most of them took Geography for their GCSE, don't know most of European countries, not to mention Asian and African ones. It began really annoying for me to tell people here where Poland is, and yes, we don't speak Russian, nor German there for milions times.
The most dissapointing part is how my peers are stupid in terms of general knowledge.
Some of them get always A*, but they don't have any additional knowledge about world, or, what's even worse about the subjects that they're taking.
Once I was talking with a girl who always gets A for her English lit essays. I mentioned that I have just seen 'Dorian Grey' and then I asked her whether she had ever read the book. She said that she had never heard of this book before, moreover she didn't know anything about Oscar Wilde. :confused:
Another thing ehich it's really weird for the, it the fact that the British girls in my classes seem to have problems with English langauge. My mother tounge is not English and now here I had to explain to my collegues here what some English word mean like 'authentically', 'pathologist', 'tyranny'. Isn't it odd?
Plus I was bewildered how the girls from my 'posh' school spend their leisure time( in a nutshell- go to pub/club, get drunk and then have sex with some random guy. And next weekend- another party, another guy). In my country, some girls belong to this slutty category as well, but usually they are like this, because their families are dysfunctional and nobody cares about them. But here I have a feeling that parents of these girls really cares about them and they would be shocked if they knew how their beloved daugthers spend Sunday&Saturday evenings.
To sum up: I don't really think that I will ever been able to 'fit it'. And I don't really think that I will make friends at school(maybe with other oversea girls, because fortunately thy are not like these). Originally I was planning to stay here to study at British Uni, but now I am not sure, whether it is good idea.
I don't have a certain cultural idenity. I'm not missing Poland, and its culture. But on the other hand, the British culture and way of life don't appeal to me.
SleepyWitch I may do this test on Facebook, to find out to which nationality I fit the best :)

Hi Agatha. I'm sorry that you are unhappy with British culture. A lot of what you say is true of some, but not all of us.
The British lack of knowledge about Europe does go along with the feeling of separateness that Brits feel about it. This is neither sensible nor commercial, and has meant we have a closer relationship with the USA, which, whilst not a bad thing, takes precedent over relations with our Euro-neighbours. it shows in our terrible attitude to learning languages. We are a bit complacent, as everyone else sems to learn English.

The pub/ club thing is a Brit feature - and is a bit embarassing after a certain age. I know because I was heavily involved in it as a young fellow. Not everyone is like that though. I have to admit, European cafe culture is much better, but you might find that some euro countries have similar attitudes to the Brits.

The problems with the English language is not a new thing. if you travel over england, you'll find that there is a wide variety of accents. Here in coventry, itis not uncommon to hear someone say, "We was up town last night." it is a feature of local language, despite being incorrect, and similar things occur in different parts of the country. You might like to try to listen to a Glaswegian - from Glasgow. It's like another language.

LitNetIsGreat
12-15-2009, 12:26 PM
Agatha, some fair comments there about British culture, generalisations in a way, but certainly they hit me as fair ones and one that I have voiced myself - particularly the comments about education and the drunk culture. It is certainly odd that British students don't seem to be as adept with their language as their European counterparts, I don't know if this has to do with the standard of state education in the UK or if it is a cultural problem, but it is not good.

Most Brits don't feel part of Europe, which is probably partly due to the little bit of water keeping us apart, but also as Paulclem says partly due to the influence that American culture has on the UK, through the film and television medium (which I am not criticising, by the way - just sayin') and the UK’s seemingly obsession with it. Take for example the American elections which the UK press was totally obsessed with, for most people who only turn on a TV or read a newspaper the vast majority of European and world cultures just don’t exist outside of holiday desinations.

Personally, though I wouldn't give up quite just yet, there are bound to be many people who think just as you do, and I think you have a better chance of finding them at university too, so don't eliminate that out of hand.

The Comedian
12-15-2009, 12:30 PM
Mine too, and anyone here who knows me can tell pretty easily that I'm very proud of my hard working friends and family. There's a certain nobility to labor. I love a man with rough hands who smells like sweat, with black eyeliner-like rings around his eyes from coal dust that won't wash away in the shower. There's nothing that makes me feel more safe, except for maybe a hunter smelling like soap with his hands stained orange from the blood of some wild beast. I feel so much love for my father and brother just picturing that image. It's strange, I never really felt my culture so solidly until I moved to Edmonton (hateful, vile, souless city) to go to University. The men there have soft hands, and they spend their money on these stupid little $8 coffees from stupid little cafe's, inhabited by pseudo-intellectuals typing away at their laptops or pretending to read a copy of The God Delusion. Bleh. I had to leave that city, or I think I would have died. I'm built for mental strain, not physical, but I can't (I really CANNOT) get my education in a big city no matter how good the school is. Weak men and meek women, and EVERYBODY complaining about EVERYTHING. Give me harsh winters, give me smoke and blood and survival! That's my culture.

I also have a fierce pride for my country. Canadians like to play, and most of us take life for what it is (one big joke). We have a tendancy to sit on decks and porches and pass the entire day drinking beer and making fun of each other and talking about hockey. We also harbor a certain resentment for Americans, but we like Scandanavian countries (probably because they're like us). I don't care if national pride is a good thing or a bad thing, I love my country and I'd die for it.

A big "Yee haw!" for this post -- makes me want to break out a cold, cheap beer and sit out in the snow.

Agatha
12-15-2009, 07:23 PM
Yeah, I know that it's a huge generalisation what I have written and surely not every here is like that. The truth is- being here in boarding school doesn't provide many opportunitties to meet different people. Here in the UK the only people I know are other students from different public schools.
Probably people from 'non-posh' schools are different. My roommate is classical example of snobby girl from middle class, her friends are the same, and at the beginning I was hanging out mainly with them. Their main life aspiration is to hook up a rich 'buff' guy. My roommate was once showing off about 'the first guy with who I got off was Etonian'. She told me that she did not remember his name, but he was Etonian and that what does matter. And now she's obsessed with some guy who lives in Richmond('such a posh place, I always wanted her boyfirend from Richmond') plus another positive feature of him is that he's over 18('so he can buy alcohol').
And I think that across Europe, UK, USA etc teenagers drink a lot, but people here do seem to have no limits. I have never met so many girl desprate to have a boyfirend, that's probably why they are behaving like slags on the parties especially. But again it may be connected to the fact that my school is all girls'.
That's true that Americans do infuence on British to great extent. But what I don't like that most of Brtitish thinks that they are superior to Americans, that Brtitish culture is better. A lot of British people who I have met here do not have high opinion of Americans. One of my teachers always tells some anecdotes about Americans which have one conclusion: 'These stupid Americans'. But people don't really seem to notice that nowadays British culture is strongly affected by American one and there is no significant difference between for example quality of TV programms in the UK and in the USA.

Paulclem
12-15-2009, 07:37 PM
Yeah, I know that it's a huge generalisation what I have written and surely not every here is like that. The truth is- being here in boarding school doesn't provide many opportunitties to meet different people. Here in the UK the only people I know are other students from different public schools.
Probably people from 'non-posh' schools are different. My roommate is classical example of snobby girl from middle class, her friends are the same, and at the beginning I was hanging out mainly with them. Their main life aspiration is to hook up a rich 'buff' guy. My roommate was once showing off about 'the first guy with who I got off was Etonian'. She told me that she did not remember his name, but he was Etonian and that what does matter. And now she's obsessed with some guy who lives in Richmond('such a posh place, I always wanted her boyfirend from Richmond') plus another positive feature of him is that he's over 18('so he can buy alcohol').
And I think that across Europe, UK, USA etc teenagers drink a lot, but people here do seem to have no limits. I have never met so many girl desprate to have a boyfirend, that's probably why they are behaving like slags on the parties especially. But again it may be connected to the fact that my school is all girls'.
That's true that Americans do infuence on British to great extent. But what I don't like that most of Brtitish thinks that they are superior to Americans, that Brtitish culture is better. A lot of British people who I have met here do not have high opinion of Americans. One of my teachers always tells some anecdotes about Americans which have one conclusion: 'These stupid Americans'. But people don't really seem to notice that nowadays British culture is strongly affected by American one and there is no significant difference between for example quality of TV programms in the UK and in the USA.

You are socialising with a narrow group of people who you know are priviledged. It's hard to generalise just from them.

I do have to agree that British culture is superior, but then I would wouldn't I? In fact Yorkshire culture is the most superior, but that's only my opinion.:)

American bashing is a sport in England - well they do put themselves out there! Of course any sensible person can find an idiot or two in a population of 169 milion or so, but I know plenty of idiots in this country.

What's quite funny is the USA's portrayal of Brits - they are often the baddies in films - cunning and Machiavellian. I'm not sure what that says - perhaps it's a reference to the War of Independance where we were the cunning bad guys and they are still secretly scared we'll take it all back.:lol:

Virgil
12-15-2009, 08:35 PM
As a "stupid American" :p I have to say Paul you underestimate the US population. It's not 169 million, it's now over 300 million.

I don't know about Ameerican bashing in England. It probably depends the circles you travel in. When I was there I got quite an affectionate reception as an American, especially in a few pups I went into, even a slap on the back as we were peeing at a urinal. :lol:

LitNetIsGreat
12-15-2009, 08:37 PM
Yeah, I know that it's a huge generalisation what I have written and surely not every here is like that. The truth is- being here in boarding school doesn't provide many opportunitties to meet different people. Here in the UK the only people I know are other students from different public schools.
Probably people from 'non-posh' schools are different. My roommate is classical example of snobby girl from middle class, her friends are the same, and at the beginning I was hanging out mainly with them. Their main life aspiration is to hook up a rich 'buff' guy. My roommate was once showing off about 'the first guy with who I got off was Etonian'. She told me that she did not remember his name, but he was Etonian and that what does matter. And now she's obsessed with some guy who lives in Richmond('such a posh place, I always wanted her boyfirend from Richmond') plus another positive feature of him is that he's over 18('so he can buy alcohol').
And I think that across Europe, UK, USA etc teenagers drink a lot, but people here do seem to have no limits. I have never met so many girl desprate to have a boyfirend, that's probably why they are behaving like slags on the parties especially. But again it may be connected to the fact that my school is all girls'.
That's true that Americans do infuence on British to great extent. But what I don't like that most of Brtitish thinks that they are superior to Americans, that Brtitish culture is better. A lot of British people who I have met here do not have high opinion of Americans. One of my teachers always tells some anecdotes about Americans which have one conclusion: 'These stupid Americans'. But people don't really seem to notice that nowadays British culture is strongly affected by American one and there is no significant difference between for example quality of TV programms in the UK and in the USA.

Yes, they are certainly narrow-minded but I am afraid the non-posh schools, state schools you mean, have just the same sort of issues, even if it is shown in a slightly different way. I must say I feel sorry for you being surrounded by the sort of snobbish attitude you describe, I really don't like that sort of thing, but I'm sure that there must be somebody around who is more down to earth, hopefully anyway.

You are right what you say about TV, I'd just avoid it altogether if I was you. :)

Paulclem
12-16-2009, 02:25 PM
As a "stupid American" :p I have to say Paul you underestimate the US population. It's not 169 million, it's now over 300 million.

I don't know about Ameerican bashing in England. It probably depends the circles you travel in. When I was there I got quite an affectionate reception as an American, especially in a few pups I went into, even a slap on the back as we were peeing at a urinal. :lol:

Sorry Virgil - it is my imperfect memory, and just goes to show...:D

300 million, and you still have all that space left over. Pity us poor brits. We're living in each others back yards by comparison.

LitNetIsGreat
12-16-2009, 06:01 PM
As a "stupid American" :p I have to say Paul you underestimate the US population. It's not 169 million, it's now over 300 million.

I don't know about Ameerican bashing in England. It probably depends the circles you travel in. When I was there I got quite an affectionate reception as an American, especially in a few pups I went into, even a slap on the back as we were peeing at a urinal. :lol:

Yes, its not really American bashing in a nasty way, its more like a gentle mocking. You know you might here a silly news story alongside the conclusion of "typical American" with a shake of the head and a tut, that sort of thing, not anything really nasty - honest.

Emil Miller
12-16-2009, 07:13 PM
hum, that's a difficult question.

German atheist, blessed with a Protestant work ethic thanks to my Lutheran working class mother. Getting used to north-western English Catholicism, minus the bit about Jesus, God and the Pope (but they leave that out most of the time anyway). My family background is working class as in getting drunk, beating your children and striving to get a good education (mother) and lower middle class as in being culturally ignorant (father). I'm too well-educated (read: posh and snooty) to watch X-Factor etc., but also too accustomed to poverty/stinginess to regularly spend any money on 'useless' things like going to the theatre or opera. However, given the choice between a musical and an opera, I'd choose the opera.
German "high culture" annoys me because it's basically a mutual admiration society for people who all agree that this kind of "culture" is extremely important, only they don't really know why that is and what German culture consists of in the first place. But everybody says it's important, so it must be true. German (lower) middle class people annoy me because they have a proto-fascist way of teaming up for festivals and organized fun. They look forward to their dozens of festivals all year but once the big day has arrived they are really aggressive, get drunk and jostle each other.

English trash culture annoys me because 11 million people mindlessly follow X-Factor just because everybody else does it.

I'm slightly confused about English people at the moment, because I thought they were reserved and leave each other alone. Everyone here is very sociable, however, and people (mainly posh ones) are very concerned about everybody "fitting in." This is weird because the English go on about how individualistic they are. On the other hand, my pupils don't help each other out at all when one of them doesn't have a pen or a book. They are nice Catholic middle-class kids who all "fit in" very well, but when it comes to borrowing a pen or sharing a book, they are fixated on Miss and cannot ask their class mates for help. .... ok, this is slightly off topic...

In Germany, everything is perfectionist. People make a fuss about details and plan everything ahead three years in advance. Yet life is relaxed. (An English guy told me so!!!)
In England, people can't be bothered to do anything and don't stress about anything (at least they say so 100 times a day). Yet life is hectic and people work and rush around all the time.


Also, people here invade each others personal space all the time. When someone stands too close to me and I take a step back, they don't get the message and stand even closer to me instead of leaving me alone. How does this go together with being reserved? I find myself "cuddling" with colleagues of both sexes all the time. In Germany I would maybe stand/ sit that close to my best friend or my mother. But if I or my friends 'retreated' the other would get the message and not move up closer to them.

I took a quiz on Facebook that said I should be Swedish ;)

Hi Sleepy,
Reading what you have written is very interesting for me because you are at a similar age to that when I first went to Germany;which was before you were born.
Now, as you can imagine, I was told the Germans were a terrible people who had exterminated millions(?) of people etc. etc. etc. Despite this, they had produced the greatest music, which is my passion, any nation has ever produced. When I went to Germany to visit Beethoven's birthplace I discovered a people and a political system that far outweighed the silliness of the welfare statism of the UK. From then on, I watched as the UK slumped further and furher into dependency, relying on handouts from the German central bank and the International Monetary Fund to keep the UK afloat. I learned to speak German and discovered that, on average, they were far more educated than their English counterparts. My acquaintences in Germany ranged from university professors to working class people but, generally, I found them to be intellectually superior to their UK equivalents.

LitNetIsGreat
12-16-2009, 08:07 PM
Hi Sleepy,
Reading what you have written is very interesting for me because you are at a similar age to that when I first went to Germany;which was before you were born.
Now, as you can imagine, I was told the Germans were a terrible people who had exterminated millions(?) of people etc. etc. etc. Despite this, they had produced the greatest music, which is my passion, any nation has ever produced. When I went to Germany to visit Beethoven's birthplace I discovered a people and a political system that far outweighed the silliness of the welfare statism of the UK. From then on, I watched as the UK slumped further and furher into dependency, relying on handouts from the German central bank and the International Monetary Fund to keep the UK afloat. I learned to speak German and discovered that, on average, they were far more educated than their English counterparts. My acquaintences in Germany ranged from university professors to working class people but, generally, I found them to be intellectually superior to their UK equivalents.

Hmmm, I don't know that much about Germany, from personal experience that is, but what you say doesn't surprise me one bit, especially about the last point. On top of that the points from which you quoted, about millions following a particular TV program (if millions watch it then it must be good:D) and to the hectic lifestyle that seems a standard thing no matter what area you work in, just makes me feel quite depressed, because, well, it is just so true! Maybe there is a strong link between TV and poor education? In fact I'm certain there is. Of course if people just switched of the bloody TV once in a while and got out and did a night class or something it would at least be a start. British people watch more TV than any other nation barring America, and doesn’t it show? (Typical Americans though tut, tut.:D)

I'm not being "stuck up" or anything about education, it is not even about being educated at all really, it is just about not being totally mindless buffoons or morons, or ignorant and rude - you know the common sort of decency that seems to be eroding fast! I'm tired and ranting, a little, but you get the picture.

Speaking to a Greek lady I work with today and shortly she is going back over there to teach because the respect in English state schools (at least a good selection of them) is virtually non-existent, and tonnes better in Greece – why the hell is this? What has gone wrong? I tell you this country is going downhill very fast, but I guess you already know that too well?

I do genuinely think that there is a big link between education/respect Vs TV and media output too, especially advertisements. Adverts creates desire and want, which if it is not satisfied leads to dejection and frustration resulting in negativity, but I’ll talk about that another time, must get some beatuy sleep to keep all the laddies happy. :ladysman:

Virgil
12-16-2009, 08:29 PM
Yes, its not really American bashing in a nasty way, its more like a gentle mocking. You know you might here a silly news story alongside the conclusion of "typical American" with a shake of the head and a tut, that sort of thing, not anything really nasty - honest.

None taken. I loved my time in England. I found the people great. :)

Paulclem
12-16-2009, 08:55 PM
None taken. I loved my time in England. I found the people great. :)

As the person who mentioned American bashing, I was joking of course. All generalisations about people tend to be rubbish. I merely jest. :D

I do genuinely think that there is a big link between education/respect Vs TV and media output too, especially advertisements. Adverts creates desire and want, which if it is not satisfied leads to dejection and frustration resulting in negativity, but I’ll talk about that another time, must get some beatuy sleep to keep all the laddies happy. Neely

I've never known a time when I didn't have access to TV, but I feel it's said it all it has to say to me. I watch very little now by choice. The only thing I watch that can be guaranteed to be different is the football on match of the day.

As for the media - i do think it has a huge undemocratic influence. It is respnsible for our ignorence of world current affairs, our insularity and the focus upon trivia.

You would hardly think that any other troops were fighting and dying in Afghanistan - including American troops - except for the Brits. Of course there is a focus upon our troops, but to the exclusion of all the other nations taking part? It inflates the sense of importance, and gives the false impression that the Afghan mission is in British hands when it is a joint effort by Euro, Australian and US troops. (I think there are other troops involved too).

You can surmise this if you look and think, but don't try and rely on the news media for any real information, balance and perspective. This is only one aspect of a media that I think is a huge undemocratic leviathon in Western democracies. Freedom of the press? Freedom to skew public opinion, deflect and focus public attention upon the aspects it wants to promote or destroy, and the freedom and money to evade any meaningful challenge to its approaches and bias.

I want freedom of the press, but this freedom is curently abused to our detriment.

SleepyWitch
12-17-2009, 03:27 AM
hehe, guys, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying England is all cr*p and Germany is so much better or anything. If you read my post closely, you'll see I'm stuck somewhere in the middle.

LitNetIsGreat
12-17-2009, 05:26 AM
hehe, guys, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying England is all cr*p and Germany is so much better or anything. If you read my post closely, you'll see I'm stuck somewhere in the middle.

No, I'm not saying that you said that, nevertheless I can't help voicing a little dissatisfaction now and then at the things that bug me. Of course with that said, nowhere is perfect, there are bound to be problems and issues that arise even in the best of places.

Yes Paulclem, some good points there, well put.

Paulclem
12-17-2009, 09:39 AM
hehe, guys, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying England is all cr*p and Germany is so much better or anything. If you read my post closely, you'll see I'm stuck somewhere in the middle.

We're stuck in the middle too. perhaps we've been protesting too much, but the things you mention annoy a lot of English people. The points are good for discussion.

OrphanPip
12-17-2009, 04:10 PM
[COLOR="DarkRed"] It inflates the sense of importance, and gives the false impression that the Afghan mission is in British hands when it is a joint effort by Euro, Australian and US troops. (I think there are other troops involved too).


That being said it doesn't take much effort to actually look up the troops involved in Afghanistan.

Which are the US, the UK, and an international NATO force mostly consisting of French, Italian, Canadian, German, Australian, Polish and Dutch troops.

Casualties:

1,542 killed
US: 935, UK: 239, Canada: 132, Germany: 40, France: 36

Wounded:
US: 4,640, UK: 3,141, Canada: 1,075, Germany: 147, Australia: 84.

Paulclem
12-17-2009, 07:07 PM
That being said it doesn't take much effort to actually look up the troops involved in Afghanistan.

Which are the US, the UK, and an international NATO force mostly consisting of French, Italian, Canadian, German, Australian, Polish and Dutch troops.

Casualties:

1,542 killed
US: 935, UK: 239, Canada: 132, Germany: 40, France: 36

Wounded:
US: 4,640, UK: 3,141, Canada: 1,075, Germany: 147, Australia: 84.

You're right, and you and I can do it. But there are people who won't because they aren't aware in the first place. If I can find my own news, or that is the expectation, then what is the media news for?

Scheherazade
12-17-2009, 07:24 PM
The OP:
So what is the make up of your cultural identity? How do you define yourselves?Off-topic posts will be removed without any further notice.

Shannanigan
01-19-2010, 08:26 PM
To be on-topic...

I was born in Los Angeles, California. I am Caucasion, and thus, was a "white girl" and was treated as such (in both positive and negative ways, depending on my surroundings.)

I had no idea until my mother moved us "back" to "her home" in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, that I had some "other" in my blood. You want cultural identity confusion? Here it is. These islands have been ruled by SEVEN seperate nations, were SOLD to the US (people and all) in 1917, and aren't a US "state" but also are considered too "American" by the rest of the Caribbean.

Turns out, my mother is a "Frenchie," an ethnic group that traces their roots back to French huguenots who escaped to St. Barths in the 18th century and then migrated to St. Thomas when the news of the opportunity for farming and fishing industries reached them. So, I guess I am half French-Caribbean, but I grew up until the age of 16 as a "white American" (with no knowledge of any European background until my move) and definitely act and speak like a "white girl." Then, from 16 until the present, I attended school and am now teaching as a "I-think-she's-Frenchie"...kind of a local, but not quite.

Frenchies are fairly accepted here as "locals," though they obviously don't have the "African heritage" (or skin tone) and culture that is celebrated around Carnival time and taught in school. But you have to speak with the local dialect to truly be accepted, and I didn't have that, and still only rarely use it, because I wasn't "born here" and don't feel I have the right to.

My father's side of the family comes from places like Germany, Newfoundland, and Ireland...but it's all so far back in the family tree that I don't identify with it at all. I wasn't raised with any notion of "my culture;" I was a child of a couple parents who had achieved "The American Dream."

These days, I've decided that I truly am "half white, half Frenchie." I have the blood and cultural experience and attachments to both sides of that...and while that identity does not satisfy most people, it satisfies me, and that's all that matters as far as I'm concerned.

Paulclem
01-20-2010, 08:10 PM
I think it's great to have an interesting geneology, and to be able to identify associations with different cultures.:)

TurquoiseSunset
01-22-2010, 08:19 AM
Apart from one or two disparaging posters, this has been a really succesful and very interesting thread. I'm too lazy to check who started it, but thanks to you whoever you are :)

Scheherazade
01-22-2010, 08:38 PM
Apart from one or two disparaging posters, this has been a really succesful and very interesting thread. I'm too lazy to check who started it, but thanks to you whoever you are :)Why, thank you!

:D

Maximilianus
01-22-2010, 10:56 PM
I agree with TurquoiseSunset. It's one of my fave threads by Scher :nod: Great idea, Scher :thumbs_up

blazeofglory
01-23-2010, 04:06 AM
Cultural identity is likened to religious or racial identity and it seems to help people for a while as they feel culturally united and they can have an identity that distinguish them from the rest of genres and that keeps people safer in point of fact.

But this identity at times ruins people and in order to forge their identity they fight with one another.

Today people following or choose to reorient their culture stir acts of violence and they become crueler. T

Petrarch's Love
01-23-2010, 02:57 PM
I second (or third or fourth) the thanks to Scher for starting this great thread. I've just discovered it and read it all the way through. I loved reading everyone's responses and thinking about all the different perspectives we all have here when it comes to thinking about identity.

I was thinking about how my own response to the question of cultural identity would look. I thought first about my identity as an American, which can mean so many things to so many different people. It even has different meanings within my own family history. Half my family were either Norwegian or Swedish immigrants in the early 20th century in my grandparents' and great-grandparents' generations. For them, being American meant coming from their homeland far away and working hard to build a new life farming and enduring the Minnesota winters of the American Middle-West or, on the other side of the family, working as lumberjacks in the great woods of the American North-West. From them I get a cultural identification with Scandinavian Lutheren culture, so I feel nostalgic when I hear "A Mighty Fortress" and know the taste of homemade lefse and lutefisk (though I could do without the latter :p).

The other half of my family tree is made up of two branches that originally came to these shores in the early to mid 17th century before the United States was even a country. I find it amazing to think of all the many different people and cultures that must be mixed into my blood from these two lines. Indeed, I have long been puzzled by a certain attitude, which seems particularly strong on the East Coast that makes it sound like having a family that goes back to around the time of the Mayflower, as mine does, is something that makes one rather posh or above the rest. I feel just the opposite, since it seems to me that the longer my family has been here, the more likely it is that I may turn out to have a tie somewhere along that history with almost anyone I meet. It makes me feel very much as though I may have a bond back there with any number of the many cultures in America, and that potential for so many different groups from such diverse backgrounds to be linked together is something I really love about my country.

So, as an American, I feel an identity with the people who come here as immigrants to start a new life, and I feel an identity with the many different people who came before. In terms of my own life experience, I've certainly been shaped by the places I've lived. The ocean and beaches of California, the sound of Spanish being spoken everywhere, the good Mexican food, the beautiful weather are a deep part of me and still (I suspect always will) feel like home, though I think that my six years here in Chicago, with its incredible architecture, the experience of deep winters and the encounters with the many different groups and individuals that come together in a large American city, have also left a large mark on my identity. No doubt there are other places, with other people and other cultures that will become a part of my own identity in the future as well.

Because of my career I have an identity that's associated with an academic culture of professors, teachers and literary critics, and this is also related to a larger culture of people who enjoy learning and sharing what they have learned, who are curious about the world, who love the joys and challenges of experiencing art of all kinds and of reading books (the last being a culture we all share here on lit net. :)).

Naturally it would be impossible to list all the many different factors that have contributed to my identity. Certainly I have been shaped by blessings such as having a wonderful loving and supportive family and having been brought up in a middle class household in which there were never any serious economic concerns, and I've also been shaped by some misfortune, as we all have. If I were to list one final thing that has shaped who I am and my attitude toward a cultural identity, I would definitely say that it has been my opportunities to travel, both within my own country and to other places throughout the world. The more I've seen of places, cultures and customs that are different than the ones I may be used to, the more it's hit me very forcefully that people themselves aren't different at all, or rather that they are all distinct and different individuals who, though they may be shaped in certain ways, by many different cultural backgrounds, can ultimately only really be known or understood as an individuals. The more people I meet the more I come to the sort of conclusions that blazeofglory has been expressing so eloquently on this thread: that we're really all the same underneath it all. Though it is quoted often, I can never quite get over how beautiful and true Donne's words are:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

ennison
01-23-2010, 05:01 PM
To me cultural identitry is absolutely essential. I'm soo glad I'm not English.

Paulclem
01-23-2010, 05:35 PM
To me cultural identitry is absolutely essential. I'm soo glad I'm not English.

Oh it's not so bad....:D

ennison
01-23-2010, 05:39 PM
I jest , a little

Paulclem
01-23-2010, 06:12 PM
Are you Welsh or Scottish? I just noticed your post on the Scottish Literature thread.

Shannanigan
01-24-2010, 01:36 PM
...I would't mind being English :D

ennison
01-24-2010, 01:45 PM
"Are you Welsh or Scottish?"
Alas the latter.

Paulclem
01-24-2010, 04:43 PM
"Are you Welsh or Scottish?"
Alas the latter.

I asked because I've only ever heard anti English sentiments in terms of the rugby, where it's not uncommon for the Welsh and Scots to support each other against the English.:lol:

Scheherazade
10-11-2011, 04:40 PM
OP:


What determines our cultural identities? Our religion? Our nationality? Our ethnic background or where we live?

Do we tend to stick with our ethnic identity throughout our lives or do we end up doing as the Romans do whenever we are in Rome?

For those who have "straightforward" lives (born and bred in the same cultural atmosphere), I assume, this is an easier question to answer but for those of us who were born in one cultural environment and end up establishing lives in different (and sometimes incompatible) cultures, it is a rather confusing and, somehow, painful issue to deal with.

So what is the make up of your cultural identity? How do you define yourserlves?What do you think?

Calidore
10-11-2011, 05:04 PM
OP:


Following some comments in another thread, I cannot help wondering what is the make up of our cultural identities.

What determines our cultural identities? Our religion? Our nationality? Our ethnic background or where we live?

Do we tend to stick with our ethnic identity throughout our lives or do we end up doing as the Romans do whenever we are in Rome?

For those who have "straightforward" lives (born and bred in the same cultural atmosphere), I assume, this is an easier question to answer but for those of us who were born in one cultural environment and end up establishing lives in different (and sometimes incompatible) cultures, it is a rather confusing and, somehow, painful issue to deal with.

So what is the make up of your cultural identity? How do you define yourserlves?

What do you think?

Uh oh. This is never a good sign.

Emil Miller
10-11-2011, 05:28 PM
OP:What do you think?

If ever there were a leading question, heading for a closed thread, this is probably it.

Scheherazade
10-11-2011, 05:31 PM
Uh oh. This is never a good sign.


If ever there were a leading question, heading for a closed thread, this is probably it.Egad! My plans are foiled!

Emil Miller
10-11-2011, 05:32 PM
Egad! My plans are foiled!

So it would seem.

zoolane
10-28-2011, 05:15 PM
My mum was Irish and catholic, that side of the family is well on way. In southern Ireland the house that Nan was born is still stand, my great uncle daughter live here with family, and this town my family can be trace back 5 generations.

My dad was English protests but his side which they some still, come back French immigrants from 1800S. His mum was from england.

I was raise as non going Church of England, I am British because mixed cultures,religion and children are same but change if wish to do so.

Buh4Bee
10-28-2011, 05:41 PM
I am an American and I wave Old Glory high and proud. I am proud to be an American, even if the rest of the world hates us!

zoolane
10-28-2011, 05:42 PM
I like all cultures and people. x

Buh4Bee
10-28-2011, 05:58 PM
I respect different cultures and most people.

osho
10-28-2011, 10:11 PM
While I love people of all cultures and I have a kind of equanimity across all cultural and ethnic classes and races I have a different idea about cultural identity.

I am now somewhat into Buddhism since Buddhism does not shed blood and has a somewhat clean history by comparison and it is somewhat closer to atheism I am at home with the rest of other religious communities. Why should I after all feel antagonistic to any faith-hoder as far as they do not take their religions for
propagating their ideologies.

In fact I do not believe that religions or cultures have helped mankind. Cultural identity ultimately leads to animosity and kind of combativeness, conflict. We are in fact always in conflict with each other to establish or restore our cultural identity.

Paulclem
10-29-2011, 08:11 PM
I don't like all cultures. What I mean is there is a view that cultures have a right to no criticism - to some undefined right to no-criticism. In my view this is short sighted. If you adopt this attitude then you are sanctioning culturally based practices like female circumcision, caste, class, the oppression of women through some loosely religious rulings - often by men - but which often have no real religious sanction than the culture into which that religion is a part. You sanction a neglect of proper and effective birth control which will lift people out of poverty - particularly the women who suffer with it.

Of course such an attitude has to be cautious. We all know how we can be affected by cultural bias - the my - culture - is - better - than - your - culture attitude. But some things are really beyond the pale, and are clearly to do with ignorence or the exercise of power.

Some cultures - or rather aspects of some cultures - I don't like.

cafolini
10-29-2011, 08:22 PM
I don't like all cultures. What I mean is there is a view that cultures have a right to no criticism - to some undefined right to no-criticism. In my view this is short sighted. If you adopt this attitude then you are sanctioning culturally based practices like female circumcision, caste, class, the oppression of women through some loosely religious rulings - often by men - but which often have no real religious sanction than the culture into which that religion is a part. You sanction a neglect of proper and effective birth control which will lift people out of poverty - particularly the women who suffer with it.

Of course such an attitude has to be cautious. We all know how we can be affected by cultural bias - the my - culture - is - better - than - your - culture attitude. But some things are really beyond the pale, and are clearly to do with ignorence or the exercise of power.

Some cultures - or rather aspects of some cultures - I don't like.

Couldn't agree more. However, I'll go all the way to say "culture," period. The aspects are all interconnected. I only like cultures that promote freedom. The rest will eventually lose their battles and will have to adapt to usefulness. It's all in the hands of the aristocracies that rule them.

Buh4Bee
10-29-2011, 09:12 PM
I don't like all cultures. What I mean is there is a view that cultures have a right to no criticism - to some undefined right to no-criticism. In my view this is short sighted. If you adopt this attitude then you are sanctioning culturally based practices like female circumcision, caste, class, the oppression of women through some loosely religious rulings - often by men - but which often have no real religious sanction than the culture into which that religion is a part. You sanction a neglect of proper and effective birth control which will lift people out of poverty - particularly the women who suffer with it.

Of course such an attitude has to be cautious. We all know how we can be affected by cultural bias - the my - culture - is - better - than - your - culture attitude. But some things are really beyond the pale, and are clearly to do with ignorence or the exercise of power.

Some cultures - or rather aspects of some cultures - I don't like.

Paul- It is an interesting time in history, particularly regarding the protests spreading through Arabic countries such as Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Algeria. The rising levels of youth being educated and the low levels of living standards- I read about- are some of the reasons sighted for the protests. I would also mention that the fact that they are run by dictators and the population is inflicted with severe human rights violations. So Paul, when you mention the short-sighted or naive trap people fall into by saying that all cultures are wonderful is true. I find that I try to respect people from different cultures, but I may not respect the government or lack of government activities that occur within the society. I think that the protesting people who live within such cultures are the best critics.

I also agree with you Cafolini.

osho
10-31-2011, 10:33 AM
Cultural identity is more pronounced when you are abroad in a country of multiculturalism, in the US or in modern bustling city like London. In small countries wherein you do not bump into other cultural elements. Cultural identity is though seeming so paramount is in essence something that fragments our integrated human existence and creates a division.

cafolini
10-31-2011, 11:34 AM
While I love people of all cultures and I have a kind of equanimity across all cultural and ethnic classes and races I have a different idea about cultural identity.

I am now somewhat into Buddhism since Buddhism does not shed blood and has a somewhat clean history by comparison and it is somewhat closer to atheism I am at home with the rest of other religious communities. Why should I after all feel antagonistic to any faith-hoder as far as they do not take their religions for
propagating their ideologies.

In fact I do not believe that religions or cultures have helped mankind. Cultural identity ultimately leads to animosity and kind of combativeness, conflict. We are in fact always in conflict with each other to establish or restore our cultural identity.

It used to be far worse. We are making progress. That's exactly the effect of cultural identity, as you state. For in the final analysis, every entity is a culture as the inevitable of differentiation takes place.
Buddhism is still a form of nihilism. It's against false values, but still nihilism that will be overcome with scientific evolution. But of most religions, Buddhism is certainly one of the most tolerant and easiest to tolerate.

Buh4Bee
10-31-2011, 09:27 PM
Cultural identity is more pronounced when you are abroad in a country of multiculturalism, in the US or in modern bustling city like London. In small countries wherein you do not bump into other cultural elements. Cultural identity is though seeming so paramount is in essence something that fragments our integrated human existence and creates a division.

It seems that a division can be caused by the evil or ugly side of humanity. We turn our backs or "hate" in the name of intolerance. For example, one might believe that all people are this way, because they are from that repressive culture. (ie. All Americans hate Arabs, because they are scared they will blow up their plane.) Or cultural identity can unite a nation, such is experiences in cases of nationalism.

Agreeing with you, when I was in Europe, by the third week, I wanted nothing more than a real McDonald's hamburger. I never go there. And I wanted some god damn free ketchup. I was feeling my patriotic skin.

We may live in a global economy, but we still live in our little holes full of bigotry and xenophobia.

Cafoli- I have no idea what you are talking about.

tonywalt
11-01-2011, 12:48 AM
Following some comments in another thread, I cannot help wondering what is the make up of our cultural identities.

What determines our cultural identities?
Our religion? Our nationality? Our ethnic background or where we live?

Our culture is determined by our behavioural norms, values and patterns of social interaction. I notice marked differences amongst various cultures in the Caribbean. Treatment of women springs to mine, first a foremost.

Do we tend to stick with our ethnic identity throughout our lives or do we end up doing as the Romans do whenever we are in Rome?

I tend to stick to my culture(European descent) throughout my life and have never parroted the broader Caribbean culture which is rather pronounced in certain islands in the Caribbean.

For those who have "straightforward" lives (born and bred in the same cultural atmosphere), I assume, this is an easier question to answer but for those of us who were born in one cultural environment and end up establishing lives in different (and sometimes incompatible) cultures, it is a rather confusing and, somehow, painful issue to deal with.

The transition from American culture to British culture is quite a small challenge. I have no issue.

So what is the make up of your cultural identity? How do you define yourserlves?

I define myself as person of European decent living in the Caribbean, and the generations above me defined themselves the same. All the evidence reflects that we have always preserved this culture on a conscious level and will continue to preserve it. Having said that I feel no bigotry nor zenophobia, and my interactions support my fairness.

Buh4Bee
11-01-2011, 07:54 AM
Having said that I feel no bigotry nor zenophobia, and my interactions support my fairness.

And that is certainly true for some many of us on Litnet, but prejudice is still wildly prevalent throughout the world. That is all I meant.

Alexander III
11-01-2011, 08:26 AM
I would just like to say a point. I go to university in england. All my friends at university are similar to me, we come from good families and we are all very internationally. And there is something else we all have in common. When someone asks where are you from, what nation - we say Europe. We do not feel Italian or French or Spanish - we feel European.

I find it amazing - for the EU can only progress towards more unity not with laws or conferences or taxes or various political and economic treaties - but when a generation replies to the question "where are you from?" with "I am european" that is when Europe can really become untied.

B. Laumness
11-01-2011, 10:04 AM
Alex, what you describe may be true for people who travel and live in many European countries, who speak many languages or just the new lingua franca, that is English, and who share more or less the same values. Yes, these people are European, just like were European all the well-educated men of the Roman Empire and during the Middle Ages, who were united, despite the wars, by the Latin, by the same laws, by the same beliefs, by the same roots, by the feeling of being a part of a common history and having a future together. Virgil, Tacitus, or Seneca are not known as Italian, Gallic, or Spanish writers, but Roman writers. Augustine and Thomas of Aquino are separated by almost ten centuries, but they are close by their language and their faith. The slow loss of influence of Latin, which was still the idiom of the erudite persons in the late 19th century, in which they were writing their thesis, and the gradual rise of the popular languages – our modern languages – created kind of barriers between the people and developed the idea of nation. Since the Renaissance, the “good European”, if I take an expression used by Nietzsche, is most of all a polyglot, who can be a patriot, but also who overcomes the national feeling, who aims for unity and universality – this latter being a European ideal. That does not mean the cultural and linguistic differences must be eliminated. On the contrary, the strength of Europe resides in its diversity, which allows a fecund confrontation of points of view, an emulation, and an inventiveness, whose lack was a damage for China during many centuries. Nowadays, when I see that the young Europeans learn English, write English on the Internet, speak English in the meetings, and that very few are able to speak another language except their mother tongue, I have mixed feelings: on one hand, I think it is a good step towards the union; on the other hand, I fear it is the sign of a standardization and a cultural impoverishment. I am not persuaded that the young Europeans are been taught to read and enjoy Shakespeare, Goethe, Hugo, Leopardi, and Cervantes in the original text, let alone the writers of so-called minor languages. I am not sure that many people feel European and say, when asked about their nationality: “Me, French? No, I’m European!” The will to live together, which is essential in the feeling of being a part of a community, is still feeble. What a Polish has in common with a Portuguese? What a Swedish has in common with a Greek? When I see the nationalist furor during the football matches, I think many Europeans are far from forming a same family. The economic crisis will show us whether solidarity between our people really exists. I stop here, for we cannot talk about politics on this forum.

tonywalt
11-01-2011, 10:24 AM
And that is certainly true for some many of us on Litnet, but prejudice is still wildly prevalent throughout the world. That is all I meant.

Yea, I agree with you. I completely understand what you meant.

osho
11-01-2011, 12:27 PM
Cultural identity is something most want to build up unthinking it finally leads to a sort of combativeness. This is something that walls you against the rest and the other party too builds a wall to secure their cultures and that is why in a multicultural country like America every cultural trying to establish is likely to fight with the rest.

Culture in itself is not bad but the aftereffects of culture can imperil a country.

tonywalt
11-01-2011, 03:02 PM
Cultural identity is something most want to build up unthinking it finally leads to a sort of combativeness. This is something that walls you against the rest and the other party too builds a wall to secure their cultures and that is why in a multicultural country like America every cultural trying to establish is likely to fight with the rest.

Culture in itself is not bad but the aftereffects of culture can imperil a country.

What is your view of nations that remain extremely (but not wholly) homogeneus, for example Japan, Iceland, and Norway(still fairly homogeneus).

Are these countries more functional, more orderly, less inner conflict because they are homogeneous and share similiar basic values? Would the average joe citizen of these countries want significant "diversity" in their countries after they have seen the possible advantages and disadvantages in countries that promote extreme diversity?

ftil
11-01-2011, 05:09 PM
Cultural identity is something most want to build up unthinking it finally leads to a sort of combativeness. This is something that walls you against the rest and the other party too builds a wall to secure their cultures and that is why in a multicultural country like America every cultural trying to establish is likely to fight with the rest.

Culture in itself is not bad but the aftereffects of culture can imperil a country.

I have found your opinion too much of extreme. Cultural identity is a part of our identity and we can’t deny it. It is human nature and belonging is an important aspect of our well being. It also gives us strengths. There are cultural differences and it is nothing wrong about that. For example, if we look at Slavic or South European and Northern European we see distinctive differences in terms of emotionality and its expression.
I live in a town that is multicultural. People tend to stay within own culture or culture that resembles their own. We want to be around like minded people. Secondly,some cultures are more closed than others. I see if a free choice with whom we want to associate and not as a sort of combativeness. :wink5: