Culture Shock

May 22, 2012
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Have you ever gone to a new school then saw a completely different way of life, where everything is different from the way people talk to the clothes they wear? Imagine going to school where you fit in with every aspect but one, you’re the only white kid in a dominantly black, inner city school. Now think of going from that setting to a dominantly white rural setting. It’s a rough transition because at first you still have that city mentality that rural people rarely understand. Also there is a large difference on just common problem solving skills that all kids learn.
The first thing I noticed when I came to this rural area was the way people dressed. In the city it was baggy clothes and brand names and how much you paid for them. In the country it’s more of what fits and how cheap it is. The next thing I learned was our slang is a lot different; not just on the amount people who used it but also the words themselves. In the city it was always the newest, coolest way to say things as when people say “a minute.” In the city they meant it’s been a long time. When I came out here people had no idea what that meant. In the country it all seems to be a few years late on slang. Then I learned that most of the slang kids used in the country comes from a different source, country music.

As I spent a few months in the country, I began to see that there is a completely different attitude. Kids are not so quick to fight; in fact, they are quick to go tell someone. In the city, it was taboo if you told on someone, you would be isolated. That pressure caused kids to fight and to be more aggressive. In the country that pressure is not so present. It’s there but it’s not dominant. Kids in the country seem to be more passive. That was a shock to me being a person that was raised to be aggressive. I saw that the passive and aggressive traits came down to (but not fully) to what music you listen to, not just how you were raised.

I began to notice people were quicker to judge you by how you look, not how you are. The city is the same way except it’s more where you live, not how you look. I always thought racism was the same everywhere but when I moved out to the country, I noticed there is a lot more out here. In the city racism was more about past experiences, but out in the country it seems to be more hereditary; kids hear their mothers and fathers talk about it, then they just follow along with what they hear from the people they look up to.

My experiences led me to see that there are many different ways of thinking and life. Just because you know and understand one doesn’t mean that the other will be the same. Life shapes people just the same as culture. Culture teaches you how to behave; life shapes your thinking. You can take people from different cultures and remove one from their comfort zone allowing that person to stand back and defend both sides of life or neither depending on their experiences.

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