Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Seattle Culture

Life is about experiences. If you don't try how can you know? -me 12p 9.16.2013

I am fascinated with people and culture. I just heard a story on NPR about a Russian family and a book put out or coming out soon by someone in that family. I want so badly to dive into Russian culture because it is one of the few countries that I have not been able to learn about. Russians like to stick to (or with) their family so I haven't been able to gain an "in" even though one of my two favorite people at a job of a few years back was, as he said, a Russian Jew.

My fascination of cultures, I think, is because I want to know how to expect the unexpected by understanding at least a little bit of every culture so I can work at allowing everyone and anyone to feel welcome around me.

I have so many questions after living in Seattle for a year now. I am confused about how my mom was the way she was if my grandma's side of the family was in Memphis TN for decades.
How can a culture of antagonistic rude behavior exist in such a large population? The West coast consists of too many people that think it is okay to ostracize. To find an action or behavior that is new, therefore weird, therefore treat it like it shouldn't be a part of anyone's thought process or action(s) has never made sense to me, but my mom was this way. She didn't like anything I did, she was confused by me. I wonder if she was a product of the culture that said "children should be seen and not heard" while "do as I say, not as I do" was also prevalent. That must have been confusing. To raise children with the misguided knowledge that they are stupid, they don't know better, so they need to be pushed has, I think, hurt America. Children are amazingly good at catching on. Children are my favorite people because they ask questions that many adults are unwilling to even think about. Adults think they need to know all and to need to understand something better means they are stupid. This, in my opinion, has lead to the current political situation we are in. A series of generations that grew up thinking they would be respected only when they are adults, which still exists, but on a Much smaller scale, has us stuck in this event where those politicians say they know best and we the people do not. So I know the West coast rudeness is not only within the West coast, it is littered throughout the country leading me to hypothesise that a century or more ago, when people and families were traveling westward, leaving other family behind, that maybe they felt consciously or unconsciously like they were running from something. I think the feeling was there when North America was beginning to be populated centuries ago, too. It seems that people came here to start colonies for like-minded people, since those colonies didn't quite work out how they wanted, they moved further West when they were allowed to (and asked to to populate other territories). I wonder if those families got to the West coast and felt trapped because they couldn't keep going. They didn't want to turn back for whatever reason(s) and they couldn't keep trying to create a populous of their religion. Is this what started the force-people-to-think-how-I-think culture?

Why don't Seattlites see it? They deny the Seattle freeze exists turning it around onto anyone that brings it up saying there is something wrong with them for looking for it as if the rest of the country looks to be treated poorly and only Seattle locals don't. No one looks to be treated poorly, but they do notice when it continuously happens to them.

I keep coming back to there being a lack of old people (here in the west). I need to look into the idea more so I am not educated on this quite yet, though I have looked into the history of the West and Mexico and Western Canada and I think from what I have learned that the West is too new. There isn't a rich history of family, of warmth. There has been a history of fighting and white supremacy, but not cultural acceptance. To ignore something exists/existed does not make things better. Acknowledgement and conversation lead to growth, restrictions and fear lead to a stifled oppressed culture.

Seattlites Really like themselves. Not each other...themselves. They want to look good to outsiders, but they don't actually want the spotlight. I think they do know something isn't right, but (I think that) since they aren't willing to accept what outsiders/onlookers have to say that they won't be the city they dream of being. They will complain about all that is wrong with the place (coworkers, neighbors, etc), then complain about the rest of the country in ways that make them feel better allowing the culture to continue. I hear about a fear of crime a Lot, but the areas I have been told not to go to are areas I find nothing to fear. I also heard a lot about it being a good thing that I'm not in St. Louis anymore because of all the crime. Crime happens everywhere especially when cultures aren't empathetic. St. Louis is a great place and they don't know how good it is to be there. The sweltering heat can make anyone feel like life sucks though lol! With good people and friends even in strangers, St. Louis is a great place to be. (And all the options at grocery stores and the friendliness of most people there...another post maybe.) My point here is that I'm sick and tired of hearing the word "crime." I'm sick of this culture that lives on fear.

I have collected too much data, maybe, and since there is so much to learn from this place, I haven't been able to complete a post. I research one idea and come up with five more keeping me in learn-mode rather than understand-mode, which I don't mind because I do not fear what others think of me. I do not think it is stupid to learn (as an adult). I don't know if I will ever fit in here because I'm not a fan of conforming. The scrunched up passive aggressive facial expressions make me laugh, which I'm sure makes them feel anger that they aren't making me see what they want me to see. I see it, I just don't agree with it. But conversation doesn't happen here. You have to join a club and you can only be around like-minded people to have friends...something us mid westerners don't understand/agree with.

I'm sorry Seattle. I will always love everyone and I will always be accepting of other cultures, not finding much that goes on "weird." While you want to know what to expect, you are holding yourselves back. Lose the fear of confrontation and learn to engage in conversation. There may be an art to conversing so learn how it can be artful for you (the individual).