Mar 24, 2011, 9:59 PM
Post #11 of 15
The difference between understanding socio-cultural differences and making stereotypical generalizations is the difference between good things and corruptions of good things. In fact, everything that is corrupt starts as something good. Nothing is as necessary to the health and survival of a nation as patriotism, but take it to an extreme and it becomes super-nationalism and even fascism. Nothing is as wholesome and life affirming as mother love. Take it to an extreme and it becomes "Momism," and the child is mentally abused.
Stereotypes or over-generalizations are corruptions of a good thing, sensitivity to other cultures. There are generalizations, fair generalizations, you can say about people from other cultures. After being married to a Chinese woman for 25 years, as well as having read books on the subject, I can honestly report a different style of speaking and writing among Chinese. People from China tend not to speak or write in topic sentences. An educated Chinese would not likely summarize, when writing or speaking, following with details, the way an educated Westerner would. The Chinese tradition is to start from the middle with a detail, then wind around and around, detail by detail, wider and wider, coming to the summary much later. This does not mean there are no exceptions, but to not recognize differences in cultures is almost as disrespectful to those cultures as over-generalizing them.
If you are unwilling to make any generalizations, it turns into another corruption, political correctness. I believe that we should recognize the true and deep differences between different cultures. As the great Yddish dialect comedian, Myron Cohen, pointed out, a scrupulously accurate, even exaggerated, dialect humor can be hilarious. But even a little inaccuracy in the dialect and it becomes offensive.
What I am most interested in is people's own experiences with Mexican women. I believe that there are intelligent and sensitive people out there who know the difference surface stereotypes and true and accurate cultural reporting.