In the interest of promoting universal human consciousness, and in recognition of our shared global traveler status, I intend to start a new project. Dillsnap Cogitations will be a forum for Individuals to write on topics related to their shared similarities with, or perceived differences from, their Earthly cohabitants.
My ultimate aim is to break down the mental barriers and artificial mental constructs that humans use to compartmentalize and divide each other. No formal request is necessary if you wish to contribute. I highly encourage any of my readers who wish to posit their thoughts for publication to notify me. My only request is that your words assist others in understanding who you are, and by extension, who we are.
The first kind soul to assist me with my project is Di. She is from South America and is the author of the blog My Life as an Alien. Her writings concerning the cultural differences between her native country and her new home attracted my attention. As a new American citizen, her perspective is illuminating to those, like me, who take our nation’s prosperity, rights, and privileges for granted. Here is her contribution to the the project.
I come from a culture where there is no political correctness, I don’t really know if that is good or bad, but words don’t have as much power as here. A word can be good or bad depending on the intent and the way it is used. We call each other fat, short, tall, black, white, and it can be an insult as well as an affectionate nickname.
Sometimes I have trouble adjusting to this; I have to bite my tongue so that I do not offend anybody. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what words I can use, since some words are acceptable for a group but not for others.
There is no racism, the color of someone skin doesn’t have the same meaning as here. Color is just more or less pigment, not race. There is however classism; people are judged by how much they have. There is also Machismo; it is a male oriented society, and there are places and/or instances where women are not treated fairly.
I had experienced discrimination for being a woman before, but here I have experienced racism and discrimination for being Latina, both from Caucasians and African Americans, but mostly from the later. I have learned from African Americans that the first thing on their identity is their race, and sometimes I feel they want it to be for me as well. Fortunately for me, I came here as an adult and that is a part of the culture I do not want to assimilate.
When people ask me ‘what are you’? I say ‘a woman’ (like that is not obvious) and when they ask what race I say ‘human’. Sorry, but I can’t buy the notion that we are different based on evolutionary adaptation.
There is not as much openness toward homosexuality and gender differences. I love that about the US, there is openness, not equality, but there is no legalized prosecution like in other countries. I believe people should be free to express themselves without fear.
The US has a higher standard of living than some other countries and that it is easier to achieve a better life here than in some other places.
I think that a large number of locals waste the opportunities they have here. I hate it when people complain and complain, about the country, the government, race, injustice, but do nothing about it. They don’t want to educate themselves or others, they don’t vote, they don’t try to change things; while at the same time, using and abusing the welfare system. (There are few people I know)
The US culture is monolinguistic and ethnocentric. I understand that English is a very important language and that the US is a very powerful nation, but it would not hurt to open your minds, ears and hearts to what is happening elsewhere.
My country has an official Language, Spanish, but you hear different languages spoken on the street and nobody cares. I have encounter people’s stares and dismissive comments when I speak Spanish, assumptions that I don’t speak English or that I am talking about them. I have talked to people from different countries and they all tell me, why do people assume that we are talking about them? If you where in China and you ran into an English speaker, what language would you speak? (food for thought)
There is a lot of infrastructure for people to visit and enjoy the vast geography of the US. Wherever I visit I can find a road that takes me there, services (such as bathrooms and food), good maps, and all kinds of facilities to make it easier for people to get to know the country. Where I come from there are a lot of places to visit, but you have to have the means to get there and it is a true adventure to find the places you are looking for, unless you have a guide or get really good instructions from the locals.
Government, police and other official institutions seem to work well in the US. I know some of you might not agree, but I do not think the US has the level of corruption that my country has. I think here there is a system of checks and balances, sometimes they might not check, but I think that the system here works a lot better.
Like in anyplace you are bound to find nice people and not so nice people. I have been very fortunate to have met wonderful people that had taught me about the cultural nuances and their openness has helped me open my mind a little more. I have also met people that had taught me what it feels like to be discriminated against, because I don’t have the right skin color or the right accent. To me these are both learning and enriching experiences, although being discriminated against due to my background is not my preference it has taught me about tolerance, compassion and ignorance.
I am preparing a post about funny things that have happened to me and other Alien friends adjusting to the cultural as well as language nuances, you might want to check back in a few days…