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« Me and My Shadows | Main | Can Anyone Help? »

March 12, 2007



I agree with you, and I think it makes me less popular. I live in a neighborhood that has a racially mixed, poor component, and a whiter, wealthier component. I've been at two birthday parties where I've mentioned, in the first case, how diverse the neighborhood is. I got a response that showed he thought purely in terms of it being white (I can guess where his house was). But he was surprised. Another birthday party, I mentioned inter-ethnic group violence among youth, which is very common here, in a conversation, and the parent was shocked and horrified. I wasn't trying to rabble rouse, just mentioning something I thought we all knew. It's hard, I kind of have to see these people socially, and apparently even my small talk can be uncomfortable. Then there was the time I actually got angry enough to seriously argue with another parent at a birthday party. My husband said later, good for you, but I'm thinking I'm not a fun party guest. I'm not getting invited to other social events, that's for sure!

On the other hand, the search for truth is definitely cultural. Many cultures would think the the way you search for truth is crazy. My friend had a boyfriend from another culture, and his view was that being polite is much more important than being truthful. Being truthful to anyone outside of a few confidants was not a value of his.

It sounds like D's family is operating on another paradigm. It may be functional or dysfunctional, but it's not the one that works for you. It may not work for them, really, either, but they may still be very invested in it.

Very interesting post...


Dang, Cheryl you are always so smart.

I do agree with you that it is very cultural. And I think this is primary in D's family's and my problems. The cultural differences between our families are quite succinct, and D and I struggle to bridge them.

The problem is, and the thing that I can't seem to get around, is that I could negotiate with them about this. I can certainly be respectful and visit their realm on ocassion. So we could set up something that all would feel comfortable with. Like, in X social setting I will all be total politeness defined as X,Y,Z. And in turn they would agree to not bring up, oh I don't know, WAR unless they want to engage in a political debate. Or something, I'm just hypothesising.

Yet, the very act of negotiating itself seems to be a cultural faux pas. The very act of acknowledging disagreements and trying to get to some level of compromise seems to be considered impolite.

I can appreciate it for its cultural differences, I could (and have) certainly learned a lot about politeness and ettiquete from them, but when negotiation in and of itself is considered rude--I just don't know where to go from there.


Thanks. I love being called smart, probably too much, actually. (See your paragraph in a previous entry on gifted kids who feel they are loved only for their smartness.)

Yeah, it's really hard when you are expected to just *know* the rules and follow them, and no one will tell you the parameters. I sympathize. I'm the person who always just wants people to tell me what they want because I'm not so good at interpreting the significant veiled requests and facial expressions.

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