Friday, October 15, 2010

Culture, Conflict and Calamity

In  Los Angeles, which is allegedly the future of America, they speak at least 120 different languages. You have to be careful not to insult people. Don’t tell me everybody should speak English and share our values. My people arrived here in 1620 and needed Native Americans to help them survive. Our next generation killed them. A whole lot of innovations were brought about by immigrants whose parents didn’t speak English. You don’t need to speak English in Zhongguocheng (Chinatown), or in the Spanish areas of Los Angeles. (To Tea partiers, I’m sorry our country changed, but we can’t do anything about it. By the way, Norman Rockwell is dead.) Here are a couple of things Americans need to know:
 Koreans show respect by looking down; therefore if you’re African American, they aren’t dissing you.
Don’t pat a Thai child on the head. That’s where his soul is located.
If your mother in law is Chinese, you can’t tell her you like her, and especially don’t tell her you love her if she’s really a great mother-in-law.
Never leave you shoes on when you enter a house inhabited by Chinese.
If a high end BMW is tailgating you in the morning on a normal road in Germany, don’t throw him the finger because he will try to drive you off the road. This is really important if you are driving into Frankfurt-Am-Main. He’s probably a banker or broker, just like the BMW drivers coming out of Brentwood in the early morning in Los Angeles. If you are on foot, you are just a little person who might mess up his bumper if he hits you in a crosswalk.
Nigerians and Ethiopians value age and wisdom (China, still). Americans don’t. Who needs wisdom if you  have learned to tweet while driving? I once followed a guy on the 60 in LA, who was trying to dry his hair by sticking his head out the window. Putting on your mascara while driving is normal.
In Australia they used to call a suit a bag of fruit.
Don’t use “keep it on the down low,” because people might think you’re one of the downlow brothers.

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