I was born in a different country, and as a result of that, people have always been fascinated about where I came from.
I’ve realized that people have a genuine curiosity of learning about different cultures, and so, I’m happy to tell my stories.
However, I’ve noticed that some people have this weird western-centric viewpoint of cultures. For example, in high school. I was telling my class that because my country is a very collectivistic culture, it’s not uncommon for two generations of families to live together in the same house.
When my class heard that story, they were kind of shocked, which I get. But I think for me, the problem occurred when they told me that what we do is so wrong and weird that people stayed with their parents for so long. One even said that “We don’t do that in America.” Why is it wrong? I thought? I felt really awkward about that situation because these were my classmates telling me that my culture is weird.
These types of occurrences unfortunately aren’t unique. I’ve had other types of situations where people think I’ve lived in such a weird, exotic country because my culture is so vastly different from the west.
A lot of people seemed to have the impression that if you didn’t live in a western country, with western cultures, you are devoid of true culture. I seen that some people look down cultures that does not fit what they think is proper.
I wished people realized that every culture is different. There isn’t necessarily a one “right” culture. I’m always glad that people are interested about where I came from, but I hope that people are mindful when they tell me that it’s weird or wrong. For me, it’s a part of my identity, and people saying that it wrong makes me feel like who I am as a person is wrong.