American and Chinese Cultures





American and Chinese Cultures

In the United States of America, there are different cultures ranging from African, Latin, Asian and American culture often referred to as the western culture. Culture is what shapes our behaviour and how we perceive things. The cultures above differ in one way and also there are some practices which tend to be similar in all cultures. My partner is a first generation Chinese American thus is still attached to the Chinese culture while I am an American who observes the American culture.

Our American culture has always taught us to think individually and when it comes to appreciation it is done individually unlike the Chinese culture which is more of collectivist in nature. We see people from china placing a higher value in a group collaboration and how an individual acting modesty in the cooperation. The Chinese generations tend to rely on group so as to make decisions unlike the Americans where our decisions are independent, rely on ourselves and one is always responsible for their decisions. Similar to these when doing someone a favour in the Chinese culture, people expect nothing in exchange of it unlike in America where everything is accounted for in pursuit of perfection (Campbell, and Alasdair, Pg.33). The Chinese culture is created around Confucianism while the American is around egalitarianism. This is where there is stress on obligations of people upon one another in the Chinese culture while the Americans are used to reacting strongly towards the repressive class structure of Europe.

The Chinese culture has shaped their people to show a lot of respect to the older ones where they call them with a pronoun such as madam. Such norms are rare in America where the culture has shaped the young people to call the elders with their names especially the surname. To the Chinese this is not respect. According to my partner, China is an unstable country full of natural calamities such as Tsunami. These disasters have shaped them to be self-conscious and take less risks unlike in America where it is there is no great danger in taking risk and that if one fails it is only temporary.

It is known worldwide that first generation Americans will always want to deal with conflicts more directly compared to the other cultures. One will always confront you directly when you have wronged them unlike the Chinese people where confrontation is always through indirect communication (Campbell, and Alasdair, Pg.33). In the same line, in China, there is social media censorship and use of internet which has forced them to see that freedom of speech is not a right. This is completely the opposite where it is a right to speak what you want and where you want, there is very minimal censorship.

Despite all the differences, there are some cultural aspects that we share with the Chinese. We all value punctuality in both China and America but don’t expect this from the African culture. People are expected to be in meetings and appointments or some minutes prior to the meetings. Punctuality is much emphasised and practiced to the extent the Chinese view it as a virtue. Consensus is an important element of communication thus in both countries, decisions are made through consensus. Chines take consensus to avoid conflict more similar to Americans who take consensus or debates to make decisions.

Communication challenges that arises from the cultural differences include; first indirect and direct communication can bring problems when it comes to make an argument. To us Americans, when we nod it means we agree with the issue but to the Chinese it is just but an acknowledgement. This will make one think that an issue is clarified yet it is not. The issue of lack of fluency among the Chinese will cause communication barrier and can end up making someone feel unnoticed or unappreciated. The kind of respect that Chinese have can bring a small argument between two people (Tang, Pg.91) For example, me and my partner met an elderly person then she greats her with their norm and I do with our own, I will look disrespectful thus will cause problems. We are quick at deciding thus I can point out flaws from my partner after a short period yet she has seen bigger mistakes in me but because their culture taught them to withheld issues till they find a better wat to tell out she will feel offended. It is this cultural differences that will cause communication issues.

To adapt to the situation, since were all have different cultures where there is none that is right and wrong, it is only through taking time to understand the other party that can make me adapt. Also, to adapt, I will ask about their culture and then compare with mine thus will know where to take it slow and how to communicate to the other party (Mu, Yan, et al. pg. 15349). There are somethings in the other cultures that we tend to appreciate, thus practicing them can make one feel appreciated and communication will be enhanced. Trying to be neutral after understanding the other culture is also good and this is what will make the dialogue flow despite the differences.

Conclusively, there is no superior culture thus we should appreciate all the cultures. From the above differences, Culture differs in many ways that is, in gender roles, music, arts, religious practices, beliefs and communication among others. The similarities that may happen to be between America and majority of the other cultures is punctuality and consensus.

Works Cited

Campbell, Neil, and Alasdair Kean. American cultural studies: an introduction to American culture. Routledge, 2016.

Mu, Yan, et al. “How culture gets embrained: Cultural differences in event-related potentials of social norm violations.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences112.50 (2015): 15348-15353.

Tang, Yijie. Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, Christianity and Chinese Culture. Springer, 2015.