A recent article from The Diplomat titled, How Chinese and Americans Understand Culture, begins with the author and his former Chinese professor discussing differences between the U.S. and China. When the author brought up the differences between cultures, the woman retorted with, “‘What American culture?’ The U.S. is too young of a country to have a culture”.
To me, U.S. culture is based on a number of factors, the most significant being the melting pot analogy. The author explained that the Chinese view culture as a long history laced with traditions, something the U.S. continues to develop every day.
It’s an interesting question – is there one definition for culture? China thinks of culture as a history that is passed on from generation to generation, while the United States views culture as history being created everyday.
I believe the definition of culture is all about a person’s perspective. For instance, my aunt thinks American culture is based on drive-in movie theaters and women being housewives, but my perspective has more to do with technology innovation and a future woman president.
What does culture mean to you? Read the rest of the article to find out more about the author and differing perspectives on defining a national culture.