Culture vs. Courtesy..Do You Let It Go?..or Go Off!

Scenario Time: So you’re having a conversation with someone and they suddenly say or do something very offensive to you…inside your mind you wanna lay this person out…but then you realize that this person is (insert ethnic/cultural background) and maybe they didn’t mean it that way. Should you let it go? Or should you give them a piece of your mind anyways.

We run across different people every day, we having different conversations with all facets of life.  The fact that people come from all over the world can sometimes create a barrier with social interactions. When do you draw the line between a misunderstanding and someone just being flat our rude to you? I know for me in the office place there are certain people that are just suspect to me. They interrupt an ongoing conversation just because they have something to say, even when it’s totally unrelated to what is going on! Or they feel the need to say something and it comes out as being totally rude. I talked to a co-worker who noticed the same thing and she brought up the cultural difference. I feel that people let certain individuals go because they think the person doesn’t understand the impact it has. In my opinion if you don’t let a person know what they are doing, they will continue to think it is OK.

I feel that sometimes we give people a “go free” pass because of the cultural difference, but at the end of the say we all have to accept common respect for one another, in whatever fashion it may be.

And the flip side..I know you all have seen it! There are people of different cultures purposely being rude because they feel as though no one is going to say anything because of the difference. Story time! I was standing in a very long line at 4am on Black Friday, and this guy who was in the same line previously and have already purchased something decides he wants to come to the front counter in front of all the people and purchase something else. For some reason he thought that he didn’t need to stand in the line before and we all knew he was acting as if he didn’t understand the situation. Now this guy had a very thick accent (I won’t reveal which one) and he must have thought that it would intimidate this guy into helping him out but clearly it didn’t work.  I’m like dude, you know what black Friday is so you have some experience shopping, why in the world would you think you could cut in front of a line that is running all the way to the back of the store!! I heard later apparently he was trying to cut in the line outside too and being very rude to people.

So what do you do? Give them the benefit of the doubt and let it slide? Tell them how you really feel? How do you know if it’s really a disconnect or a get over?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. PleaseThankYouFuckYou
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 16:10:39

    I think that you should tell people exactly what they are doing wrong. Especially if its sincerely bothering you. Why should you have to deal with the fact that someone hurt your feelings or was rude to you and have them be none the wiser. Like you said, they will think its ok, and will continue to be a jerk. Not saying that just because you say something they will take heed but at least you can say you did your part and more than likely that person wont be an a$$ to you anymore — maybe to everybody else but not you 🙂 Also, some people just dont know any better. Call it lack of home training or cultural differences but sometimes people seriously lack social skills. Particularly when they come from foreign countries. They have their own way of doing things and it would be just as rude for us to take offense from their actions when they are unaware of American protocol. Also, some of our fellow Americans can be seen as “foreign” i mean we have some manner deficient folk running around. Rude for no reason, selfish, careless, thoughtless. I dont know if being a rude a$$ can be based on someones culture moreso than the fact that they simply just dont get it. We all have been in situations where we disagree with someone, or the things they do or say, but its a way to say that you disagree while still being respectful. I agree that someone should try to be the bigger person and remain calm and adult like but when all else fails quote CrunkCoCo……”Who u finna try who u finna tryyyy, i know it aint me???”


    • coffytalk
      Dec 09, 2010 @ 16:23:00

      Let’s face it Americans are stereotyped as rude individuals, what makes our common courtesy right? Does America even have a set standard of courtesy?


  2. TeasTer
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 17:58:34

    This post speaks to me. Im not gonna lie. I have a problem with trying to be overly mannerable. Blame it on my momma, but its been drilled into me from a young age–don’t stare at people, don’t chew with your mouth open, get your elbows off of the table, use a tissue if you have something in your nose (not your fingers–ha!), etc. And as a result, its caused me to look at people who don’t have the same manners in an odd light. Being the person that I am though, I usually let it slide and just attribute it to cultural differences. This proves to be a catch 22 because no one wants to be rude, but no one wants to deal with rudeness either. I worked with a chick once who liked to dig in her nose while she was looking over my work. Then she would hand my papers back to me with the same hands, without washing them first. I didn’t want to offend her so I would just handle the papers as carefully as possible, then throw them away and wash my hands. Gross. I know. But I was 16 and it was my first job (in a corporate office at that). I didn’t know the correct way to react. I feel that you’re asking a good question, because at what point are we jeopardizing our own health/feelings/sanity for the sake of someone else’s??


  3. CoatofHarms
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 23:53:57

    I usually just let it slide but I’m making a conscious effort to not let things slide anymore. That is how you end up with a slippery slope situation where people are knowingly offensive. People in other countries are quick to get defensive or give you a dirty look when you offend them. I feel like we’re maybe more willing or likely to give a pass to those because this is the land of immigrants but maybe it’s time to forge some sort of common culture so that the rules of engagement with each other aren’t so unclear. There are too many of us in this country to NOT have commonalities when it comes to interacting with one another. The sooner we all start to speak up when someone is offensive (or unsanitary) or doesn’t know the common cultural courtesies, the better.


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