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Old 08-27-2011, 04:07 PM   #1
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Default Etiquette Across Cultures

I was listening today to the podcast "Blacking it Up," and there was a discussion about "Black Etiquette."

It got me to thinking about etiquette in general and how I think the main reason for rules of etiquette is to reduce friction.

I had always imagined etiquette had more to do with umbrella, universal and somewhat stodgy and outdated rules. I think that's a blind spot for me, so I wanted to explore this topic here with all you smart folks.

Also, I am wondering if there are some universal rules of basic etiquette.

I imagine differences in etiquette vary by family, culture, race, nationality, gender, orientation, region, ability and generations. I think rules of etiquette are also different for those within a culture than for those outside - especially across the lines of privilege.

I would like to explore those largely unwritten rules and the differences and similarities we perceive/experience between different cultures. I would love to hear people's personal experiences with accidentally violating etiquette and also people's opinions and own rules about etiquette. I think it would also be an awesome place to post articles and youtubes talking about etiquette.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nat View Post
I was listening today to the podcast "Blacking it Up," and there was a discussion about "Black Etiquette."

It got me to thinking about etiquette in general and how I think the main reason for rules of etiquette is to reduce friction.

I had always imagined etiquette had more to do with umbrella, universal and somewhat stodgy and outdated rules. I think that's a blind spot for me, so I wanted to explore this topic here with all you smart folks.

Also, I am wondering if there are some universal rules of basic etiquette.

I imagine differences in etiquette vary by family, culture, race, nationality, gender, orientation, region, ability and generations. I think rules of etiquette are also different for those within a culture than for those outside - especially across the lines of privilege.

I would like to explore those largely unwritten rules and the differences and similarities we perceive/experience between different cultures. I would love to hear people's personal experiences with accidentally violating etiquette and also people's opinions and own rules about etiquette. I think it would also be an awesome place to post articles and youtubes talking about etiquette.
Interesting topic. In my job I have to deal with folks all across the globe. For reasons of etiquette, when emailing, we are never to use bold, all caps or red <--- the worst for anything as this is highly insulting overseas.
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:54 PM   #3
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Interesting topic. I participate in another forum that's dedicated entirely to etiquette, and I've been amazed at what some people consider "proper etiquette". A lot of the rules of etiquette are incredibly antiquated and some of them are just downright offensive. Personally, I prefer manners to etiquette. Luckily, the two go hand in hand most of the time.

I think it is a good thing to learn the etiquette quirks of a particular culture if you're going to be in contact with people from that culture, but I think most people will understand that someone from a different culture just doesn't know a particular rule of etiquette. It can take years to learn them all.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:31 PM   #4
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The culture I was raised in is a mix of Northern Irish and Southern Indiana/Northern Kentucky, poor rural, super religious

Here are some etiquette issues that outsiders tend to not get and thus can cause offense for their "rude" or "uncooth" behavior. . .

1. Whenever someone offers you anything, even if it is the thing you want most in the world you must refuse twice, the third time you say yes but must seem somewhat reluctant in the "oh don't put yourself to any trouble" way.

2. When someone you love who has been visiting is taking their leave, you must say goodbye 3 times, once in the house, once at the door and once by the car. All 3 times are full on hugging good byes and at all 3 passes (especially the car one) there needs to be lingering.

3. If someone complements you on your house or someone comes to visit it is mandatory that you MUST apologize for the mess. Your house could be so clean that your could womp up some fucking micro chips in there, but you STILL have to apologize for the mess.


I am looking forward to this thread, I moved from Michigan to Texas lately and it has been an education in getting up to speed with cultural variations and niceties.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:48 PM   #5
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How much do I love that Venus used the word "womp"?
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:51 PM   #6
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Etiquettes always have stories behind them.
As long as the stories live, etiquettes would still continue to exist.
If people have forgotten about the story and it doesn't make any sense then it's easy to get rid of it.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:48 PM   #7
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I was raised in a small town in Utah. Mormon culture is really strange, and people who don't know the rules are walking through a minefield

*Mormons don't drink alcohol, so you'd better not drink it or even let on that it exists in front of them. When my Mormon relatives came to my apartment, my choices were to hide all the liquor someplace were they'd have to really, really be hunting to find it or let them drive for an hour to get to my apartment only to turn right around and leave again if they saw so much as a bottle of cooking wine. If they're not close relations, they might stay, but they won't be happy about it.

*Coffee and tea are similar. If the Mormons visiting *know* you're not a member, you can get away with having a coffee maker in the house, but don't make any while they're visiting. If you go out to a restaurant, don't order any. If you're visiting their home, don't be surprised if you're offered Kool Aid. Don't even hint that you think that's a drink for children. Accept it and drink it.

*Mormons are totally okay with queer people. Just as long as you never let them find out that you're in a relationship, would ever want to be in a relationship, or have ever had sex or would want to have sex. You can bring your girlfriend along to visit as long as you don't touch each other in any way, and you introduce her as your "friend" or "roommate". If the subject of marriage equality or anything similar comes up, your options are to keep your mouth shut or to talk about how you're working to overcome your "same sex attraction" with the help of Jesus. They're even like you if you're sufficiently apologetic about who you are.

*If you have cause to go to a funeral service in a Mormon church, don't expect to go up and tell a story about how much the deceased meant to you, or how much you'll miss them. Don't expect that the deceased will be mentioned much at all. Funerals are conversion opportunities, they are not for remembering the dead. Unless the deceased was extremely devout, there's a pretty good chance the person giving the eulogy never even met them.

*Mormons expect all members to dress as though they were wearing garments, even if they're too young or don't wear them for some other reason. If you show up at a Mormon social gathering in a tank top, you might as well have walked through the door buck naked. If you're showing cleavage, you may even be asked to cover yourself or leave so the children won't see.

*If you're a woman and a member of your ward asks you for a favor, you say yes. It doesn't matter what the favor is, how inconvenient it is, or how much it will cost you. You say yes. If you say no, you can expect the shunning to start within a week.
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