In the world that we live today there exist many vastly different cultures, that vary tremendously in areas of taste and what’s found to be acceptable and what’s not. The possibilities of even one item, for example such as what people eat for breakfast, is literately endless due to the fact that there are so many countries, each with their own favors and customs. While mostly people within the same cultures will do, for the most part what they have grown to know and will follow the actions of their peers at least to some point. There are however, more often than not, those who will diverge from this social norm and adapt to their own style of doing things. With that being said, with so many vast cultures, who is to say what’s normal and what isn’t? Where does one draw the line between, what’s acceptable and what’s considered to be weird, or different?
What is defined as “normal” in this society? What would could be classified as normal, typically normal would be actions that are practiced by the general public. The general public being the public on the broad scale of the citizens that encompass whatever city, or state in question. Practices such as shaking hands when you first greet someone, smiling politely or what-have-you. These actions would be considered normal, on the adverse side however, actions such as kicking a person you just met in the shin, and then slapping them in the face would probably not be considered normal. It also goes to say that shaking hands with a nice polite smile is more-or-less normal only in certain places. On the opposite side, of course, in areas like Japan, it is traditional to greet someone courteously with a smile and a polite bow. While here in America, it would be seen as rather weird if someone was to receive a bow as a form of greeting if they had no knowledge of this tradition. They would probably think you were actually strange, and probably not too normal of a person. This only goes to show that in different areas there are of course, different customs that are considered normal within the mainstream society.
In New Zealand for example, it is customary for people to often lean very close and rub noses as the common form of greeting. It’s considered to be the way to share Ha, the “breath of life” as is believed from ancient times and derived from their Gods. Something so intimate for example, in America would be considered a little too close for comfort for a simple greeting of someone you had just met. An act such as this might actually get you a nice fist to the face, as a pure reflex act of self defense. In that particular country however, it is just the way that the people who grew up there had been accustomed to living.
In America, for the instance that is being discussed here, there exist many types of people just within the borderlines of this country. As America was formed by people who immigrated here from other countries, with exception of the Natives who had lived off of the land before the institution of America was established here. Being that America is actually a huge collection of people from many countries, which actually makes it a great place, there are many with each of their own customs, and have their own way of living. Individually, these groups of people have their own rules, codes, trends and traits. It’s also obvious that America as a whole, has it’s on luster and that of it’s own culture, with a couple prime examples such as the Hollywood status quo, and the Hip Hop culture. Both of these which also influence many different countries around the world, and are often used to identify us as Americans. While for better or worse, this is the fact, as stereotypes do exist which are formed mainly by the way television and media portray us. That’s apparent, and although it’s not correct to label whole people by these examples, we as Americans can also be guilty of it as well. As humans we are quick to judge by appearance, with some just reason for doing so, such as self preservation. The means of judging someone as to protect ourselves from harm. It’s only after we have learned the individual personalities of people of question that we can open up to them. This world is, and always has been a crazy place, so it’s quite efficient to at least be a little weary of new people if only to protect yourself.
Given all of these differences that exist in the world, it’s pretty hard to discern as to what is actually “normal” and what isn’t. How as a collection of vastly different individuals, can we really rate which is “normal behavior” and what isn’t. It’s only actually possible to say something is normal, if it is in fact a practice performed by a vast majority of a specific group within a population. Such as it’s classified as “normal” for young men, within the hip hop culture to wear their pants dramatically below the crack of their asses. While most outside of this community will view this trait as disgusting, pointless, and even misdirected. Misdirected, due to the fact that this trend started as a way for homosexual inmates, to make themselves known, as being available for sexual acts with other inmates.
Another trend such as hiding behind black dyed hair, wearing long baggy clothing dark in color and choosing to appear more overtly ‘sinister’ than the general public is another good example. While your regular blue collared, mild mannered “John Smith” might find this to be strange, a cry for help even, this is just what is considered normal and acceptable within that particular group. Natives of the country America when meeting new people understand and have grown up with the concept of “personal space”, which is the understanding of keeping at least a foot away from someone you are not exactly comfortable with. We like to keep our personal bubble intact, as which can be traced back to an act of probable self preservation. While many middle eastern countymen, have little concept of this “personal bubble”, as it happens to be a regularly practiced custom for men to greet each other very closely, even while doing such acts like resting their hands on the small of the lower back while in conversation. While the practice of this in America, could easily be seen as an act of homosexuality to the casual onlooker, however in other countries this is just their way.
As a human being when we keep in mind, just how many differences we have a “people”, persons of this human race it is much easier to keep an open mind and refrain from viewing people as strange, or weird. Those very people while strange and weird to some, are completely normal to those in their inner circles. While one group can view another as weird, it’s also just as probable for the same to be thought of that group by the other. It’s just the way of the world, we are very different and that is the very fact that makes us great. Instead of viewing things as “strange”, we would be better suited to appreciate these differences in people, as when we do, they can be found to be very intriguing. That’s the simple case of the human race, in all the billions of us that occupy this small planet called Earth. We also will carry an unlimited amount of differences and that’s the very thing that makes it cool to be us, as we are free to be who we want no matter what anyone thinks. To “take a little from here, and take a little from there”, and form our own ways, personalities, trends, and styles should be appreciated instead of shunned upon. It should be celebrated just to be able to be free in your own skin, and not ridiculed for not conforming to the views of others. By learning this we could eliminate much of the negativity in the world and make it a better place to live.
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