Thursday, November 26, 2009

Protocol, Culture and the American People

So much has been made about President Obama bowing to Emperor Akihito of Japan.  There are many who believe that the American President should never bow to some foreign leader.  Really?  I believe that when you are in a foreign country you should adhere to the protocol of that country when meeting their leader.  Now the depth of the bow can be challenged, my understanding that it is, hands to the side and a slight dip, but what do I know. 

Now Dubya (W pronounced as the Texans do) met with Saudi Prince Abdullah in TEXAS. (you couldn't get a more red neck and homophobic state).  They "strolled" together, hand in hand, at Dubya's ranch in Crawford, Texas.  Now I KNOW for a fact that this is not an American custom, there is no way your average beer drinking, crotch scratching, gun toting, wife beater shirt wearing, Texan would ever be caught dead "strolling hand in hand" with another - see description above - on any ranch.  This is not protocol in America.

When I came to America I learnt quickly that while I spoke english (a tich better than many), I was from a different culture.  But I learnt to fit in.  You know the saying, "when in Rome".  There are many things that Americans do that would be considered offensive in my culture, but I am in YOUR country and therefore go with the flow.

I have encouraged many young people that before they go exploring the world, learn about that countries culture and what is offensive to them.  Remember you are in THEIR country and certain things are not acceptable.  Hint: in Europe water is NOT standard on the table in a restaurant, it will cost you extra - water is treasured - buy the water and shut up and for heavens sake please do not say "In America we don't have to pay for water".  It will be a guarantee that your food will be "tainted".

America was founded on many different cultures.  We are the melting pot.  So why is it that I find many are less accepting of others.  Is it because they do not believe the same and therefore are wrong? Just think of how many wars, fights, arguments and bitch slaps could have been prevented if we just took the time to learn from others.  What a great idea, now who would I write to?

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