Greetings Jamie(K), Ralf, Stew, Alan, Torsten & everybody in this cultural discussion round.
I have obviously noticed that there is a heated discussion going on between Jamie(K), Ralf, Stew and a few others which involves some insults or sarcasms.
I have not been here long enough to read everything to determine the attitudes and origins behind it all, so I won?t add any criticisms or platitudes and certainly don?t wish to get the last word in.
I will, however compliment you all on what I?ve read so far.
I have been quite impressed with your written articulations and expressions.
Now, I would like to support Jamie(K)?s view as an American living in America and his experiences in working with immigrants of many countries who have come to the land of milk & honey and have difficulties or simply won?t adapt to their new culture.
First, we have to acknowledge that Jamie(K)`s experiences are real and cannot simply be dealt at the turn of a hand or with a few condescending statements.
I?m a very positive person and until now have only taught English to Germans. I don?t know what it?s like to teach a class of mixed nationality. Maybe my positive attitude will get beaten up. I doubt it, but it could happen so who am I to judge.
Secondly, Jamie(K)?s negative reaction to the Germans or Arabs or whoever, I would say comes from a man who is doing his best to help these people and is sincere.
When he has to confront people who are resentful and don?t wish to change and be flexible to their host country and are also insulting into the bargain, it is no wonder that Jamie(K) feels mishandled and reacts as he does.
But like most experiences, it?s all sent to test us and if it doesn?t kill us, we will grow and it will make us strong and probably immune.
I have similar experiences here in Germany and I have personally met or even worked with very nice Stasi and Nazi types and of course the bad guys. Sometimes I get real pissed off with the hard cases but they are in the minority and the rest of the Germans I meet are just decent human beings. I also live in their country so I have to adapt and be more understanding - which I am - but I still maintain my dignity and values.
If I am confronted with a person who is rude or bad mannered I tell them in no uncertain terms what I think of their behaviour ; that has more to do with their upbringing and personality and not their culture.
Thirdly or finally, that many immigrants who come to America don?t appreciate all the western customs and values - which is OK - but I think some bring with them or develop a certain resentment and animosity to Americans because of some trauma they?ve experienced directly or indirectly via the USA?s politics.
Especially the religious hardliners who then think that the country that hosts them doesn?t deserve their respect and even need converting to their doctrine. Worse, that Americans are lower than them in morals and values.
What many of these people don?t realise is that maybe 50% of Americans don?t agree with the present politics and have to suffer just as much as they do when they are abroad.
They need to understand that Americans are also decent caring people and have to work hard to survive as any normal working person.
When I see beggars on the street in L.A. or New York then that is just as excruciating as a beggar in India, Brazil, Africa, Indonesia etc. that?s no bloody life.
I think these are the three main points relevent to what Jamie(K) is trying to defend or get across.
There are many German people who resent the so called “foreigners” in their country and their judgements can be felt with just as must penetration as that of any religious fanatic who thinks they know better how to think for you and run your life. Germany has been a “melting pot” for many nations since the last war but some Germans don?t want to recognise that and that is also quite OK. It is after all their home and culture.
The first time I experienced anything near a culture shock at home on the GB island was when I lived in a small town in England on the coast where an Indian family took over the local red Post Office and started selling clothes like on a market stall beside the good old British postage stamp. I like Indian people and their culture, but still it was bit uncomfortable at first.
That was 24 years ago. Today, you will see Indians with businesses all over the British Islands and not just in Post Offices and I think that?s quite OK.
Another wierd cultural experience was when I was in the car export business and dealt with an importer of German cars in Glasgow, Scotland. On the phone he spoke with a strong Glaswegian accent but his name was ~ Singh and came from Pakistan.
A Frenchman, German, Spaniard, Norwegian etc. would also feel a bit uncomfortable in such a situation until they got used to it. The same goes for an Asian or African who will feel the same with a European visitor.
Let?s face it - one day on this planet there will be a race of tan.
Everybody will have the same skin colour and we will all be earthlings discussing the influx of migrant or guest workers from Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, Antares etc.
Take a look at the “Star Trek” TV series or the “Star Wars” films.
Gene Rodenberry and George Lucas have given us a clue to the future.
I?m sure we?ll all be part of it in our next life.
Best wishes, Bruce.