Sweet and Sour

How can we see another culture as rhetorically important when we disregard the whole cultures validity as an equal?  Maybe soon as a western culture we can start to acknowledge Chinese Rhetoric as an equally valid discourse.  Our past concerns with the Chinese culture haveviewed them as “lazy” or “cruel” not as snazzy as a past like Athen’s or Plato’s writings on philosophy (Lu 15).  If you look at media and how they have been portrayed as foreign or dressed weird.  If you look at Dr Fu Man Chu with the long thin mustache and slurred speaking you get a sense of how badly this interesting culture has been stereotyped. 

Why as a western culture we need to put down other cultures?  If you look at where Americans come from we are all mutts if you think about it.  Much of our heritage are Puritans who left Europe to find religious freedom and the Irish who left Ireland (my family included) because of the potatofamine.  Where does the snobbery come from?  Where do we get off as being so superior or better?  Through time and national pride Americans have become big headed as being better then other cultures but at the same time we have no right to feign superiority.  The Chinese had to face racism during the gold rush period in America’s past because so many came over to work in mines or build the railroads that are still used in our society.  Most cultures have faced cultural arrogance when they appeared in America.  The Irish also didn’t have an easy time when they came from Ireland either.  Countries in Europe have treated new cultures  horribly.   If we can look at one of the most famous cultural disasters like Germany and Hitler over the Jewish culture.

Some of the sour when cultures blend and share with each other is a type of elitism towards the new culture but as I suggested above, usually, the new cultures were brought to the country was because of some type of national need like the railroads.  The original cultures likes to condemned any new culture as taking away from the original culture but the sweet part is the many new things the culture adds.  Chinese culture has added so many new layers to who we are as a society and many cultural traditions we would not know about today if they had not come here.  For example, the different animals the Chinese culture celebrates every year and what they represent for a person born during the year of the monkey or the snake.  Chinese food like sushi and Kung Pao chicken.  Maybe what I have named are Americanized in some way but Americans would not have a love of these things if we did not blend our cultures together.  We still have a long way to go as accepting other cultures but our society has grown a lot and we are starting to open the door instead of slamming it shut.

Leave a Reply