#ranttime: “White people have a culture too.”

It has been three years since I sat in a classroom in an academically selective school where most students are of Southeast Asian descent and two Sri Lankan classmates attempted to convince me and an Afghani classmate that since we are both “white”, then we must by extension have the same culture (i.e. no culture at all).

And it has been five years since a Sri Lankan classmate expressed her surprise at the fact that I was studying for the end-of-year exams (“but your parents are white!”). My level of both English and social skills was rather poor back then, so unfortunately I cannot tell you whether the remark was genuine or sarcastic.

However, what I can tell you is that yes, I am “white” (although a decade or two ago you would have preferred to call me a “wog”), and yes, I do have a culture indeed. 

In fact, Europe has 51 countries with 24 languages being spoken within the European Union alone. And I can assure you that nationalism was and is rampant in Europe, meaning that there is strong tendency among the people of each nationality to think that it is their products that are of the highest quality, it is their artists that are most talented and it their people who were treated most harshly in the latest war.

Living in Australia, it is quite easy to overlook these differences, even by the people themselves. If you are ever in Europe though, please do not attempt to tell a Polish person and a Russian person that they are of the same nationality. (You might associate vodka with both of these countries and even though the consumption of the said alcoholic beverage features strongly in both cultures, both cultures are far, far richer than that.)

So, yes, there are many unique cultures scattered all across Europe, but it would be a blatant lie to say that there are no similarities between them.

In fact, the more cultures you encounter, the more similarities you notice. And the more people of a particular culture you encounter, the more individual differences you notice. Hence, the difficulty in defining what exactly comprises a culture.

Before you leave though, I want to tell you two more things: strict parents and marriages of convenience are not unique to Asia. However, unfortunately, it does seem as though it is more likely that you have parents who are willing to change and that you will genuinely fall in love if you are “white”.

Rant over. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day 🙂

 

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