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Cultural Ignorance

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Posted by Aurino Souza on April 16, 2002 17:04:07 UTC


I have stated here before that I'm not American. Even though I live in Canada, I was born and raised in a South American country. That means there are some aspects of American culture which are completely beyond my ability to understand. This PC thing is certainly one of the most difficult for me.

As soon as I arrived in Canada, some eight years ago, I started to notice something very strange. Here they don't sell "used cars", they sell "pre-owned vehicles". People are not "65 and older", they are "65 and better". Death is not a fact of life, but the result of diseases for which the cure one day will be found. And so on and on. I can't tell you exactly what it is that strikes me as strange, it's something like a feeling that there is almost a paranoid attitude regarding language, as if words had the power to change reality. PC is just an aspect of what I, as a foreigner, perceive to be a deeper social issue no one really wants to address.

Because of the PC issue, now there is the anti-PC issue. That is what I find really odd. "Telling as it is" upsets some people, but being PC upsets some others. There is religious freedom, but praying in public schools is against the law. Women are the equal of men, but if I compliment my female co-worker on the beauty of her dress I may get fired. A nude body in a movie is immoral, unless it's shown covered in blood and missing some limbs. The list of oddities goes on and on, leaving me completely puzzled.

All I can say about your post is that it left me puzzled. Please forgive my cultural ignorance.

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