Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cultural Convictions

I don't want to sound grumpy, having just moaned about attitudes to women drivers, but I do have another matter of irritation that I would like to mention. I have noticed more in Oman than elsewhere the habit of making generalisations about groups of people. It isn't a thought I observe because I like to give humans the credit that each is individual, or at least has the ability to be. Also, in today's globalized world people are less inclined to conform to stereotypes of race, religion or culture, if they ever did.
In particular I will mention people's comments about "the West". I've heard a few comments but the last straw was an article I read in a newspaper (I would quote it but unfortunately I can't remember which one it was) where someone was writing about the merits of family in Oman in comparison to the West.
Now believe me, I am the first to criticise my own country for its social flaws but I like to think, having lived there all my life I have the knowledge and experience which allows me to do so. I'm not, like some, making sweeping judgements which are loosely based on some image I have gathered from TV or from hearsay.
I also don't group all the countries in the West together and make assumptions about the lot. Just as I wouldn't make generalisations on the "Middle East" as I'm aware that the cultures of say, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia are very different.
Some people obviously just like to use blanket phrases such as "the West" as a tool to elevate their own culture. Denouncing aspects of another culture is a good way of validating aspects of your own. And I am well aware that this is also relevent when applied vice versa (from West to East).
Well, I say each should look at their own flawed culture before condemning others, because if I may make one generalisation, it's that they are all flawed.


  1. It is as if you reached inside my mind and wrote it down! How can people judge what they don't know so easily? I think part of it is how in the UK for example we would be told to me PC and what you can and can't say about someone (unless you are the BNP of course, but different story for another day, as I am not!)so I find myself more annoyed here when people I would never dream of insulting attack my culture with not a care in the world. *and breathe....* Right, that is my rant for the day :) Will post a link to this on my blog if that's ok?

    OB x