Cultural Observations From A Somalian American Essay

1933 words - 8 pages

Did you ever know that every country has different cultural values and norms that may cause misunderstanding among cultures around the globe? Of course, I didn’t really know that till I migrated from my country to the USA. A long time ago, I believed that the world was filled with homogenous societies which are based upon one culture only and that culture must be my own culture which I must follow as the ethnocentric standard to all other nations in the world. But later, I had experienced living in multi cultural communities and different continents around the globe, such as Africa and Asia, where getting involved in other people’s lives is very common. As a result of my experience, I have realized that American cultural values have less involvement than other countries. I got a real shock my first time in the United States when I saw the American values of individualism, privacy and freedom.
When I came to the United States at first, it was very difficult for me to understand the American value of individualism. One day, I went shopping with my cousin at the mall in Bay Park Square, WI. Inside the mall, I saw a group of young teenagers who were arguing near the cinema entrance, among them was a girl who was angry at one guy, and I could barely stop my self from getting involved in the situation. Finally, I decided to get involved in the case, so I moved immediately close toward the fighting couple in order to get involved in the situation. I wanted to help the girl that was yelling at the other guy. However, my cousin pushed me back and held my hands telling me to stay out of it. Later on, my cousin advised me personally, and she explained to me the American cultural value of individualism. After that I compared the benefits and drawbacks for both cultures of getting involved in other people’s lives and I realized
that getting involved in other people’s lives has less benefit and more drawbacks in the United State. Let me explain in a very efficient way that there are two major risks from getting involved in other people’s lives here. First it is a waste of psychological energy because the more someone wastes his /her brain energy with getting involved in other people’s lives; the more he/she becomes sick or suffers mental tiredness. The American response to involvement in others affair is some times: “mind your business.” Secondly, its time consuming to get involved in another person’s life without being in charge because time isn’t something for free in United States but time is money here.
As far as a person being involved voluntarily and solving other critical extended family problems in the society, in my Somalian culture, they consider that person as an important chief in a province or a community leader. For instance, domestic violence and other local affairs are solved by wise men. In contrast, the United States believes that getting involved in others problems are considered taboo or idiocy. Following Somali customs, in 2001, I got...

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