Opinion: That makes no sense, America

Bruno Beidacki is a sophomore journalism major. Contact him at [email protected]

Bruno Beidacki

Americans love to comment on other cultures. “Asian culture is weird for the lack of focus on individuality and their cuisine,” “Middle Eastern culture is absurd because of their strong religious beliefs” or “Indigenous culture is funny because of their relationship with nature” are sentences heard frequently in the U.S. As someone who was raised in a different country and culture, I have to stand up and say something. A lot of your culture, traditions and laws make no sense to the rest of the world, America.

To start off, let’s talk about laws. In the U.S., one can drive at 16 and put his or her life at risk during a war at 18. One cannot, however, watch their parents play on a slot machine until the age of 21. Don’t believe me? Try standing near a gaming table at a casino in Las Vegas during a family trip. Best case scenario, a security guard approaches you and politely asks for your ID.

Isn’t it absurd that one can legally own a gun, but not drink wine to celebrate a birthday or an accomplishment? The U.S. has some of the most strict drinking laws in the world, but the drinking culture also happens to be one of the most extreme. That makes no sense, America.

Second: your eating habits. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 44 percent of Americans eat at a fast food restaurant at least once a week. The same research states that 50 million U.S. citizens are served every day at fast food stores around the country. That’s almost 16 percent of its population. We are talking about food that is proven to be unhealthy and extremely maleficent for our bodies and minds. Still, six percent of Americans consume fast food seven days a week, 365 days a year. And people make fun of Asian cultures because they use chopsticks.

Your money culture is a bit different, too. The U.S. is the only country I have ever been to (and I’ve been to quite a few, trust me) where price tags do not include taxes. If you have $10 and find a shirt that supposedly costs $9.99, don’t get excited, you do not have enough money to buy it.

Another example is tipping. Not exclusive to the U.S., but most countries do not have a culture of giving tips. In Brazil, for example, a check in a restaurant already has a percentage added for “service.” If you are dissatisfied with your server, you can ask for that service fee to be discounted off your check.

Finally, there are some things Americans do that, when analyzed by people from other cultures, make no sense at all. If a restaurant offers free refills on drinks, why would you order a large soda and pay more? Why call the main course an “entree?” Why are college athletes treated as celebrities when they are just students who are part of an extracurricular activity? Why is jaywalking a crime?

Here’s the thing: I have nothing but respect and love for the U.S. I am glad I have the opportunity to live here, and there is no place I would rather be. However, when you analyze the American culture and compare to other cultures, you see a lot of strange traditions and patterns – just like when you analyze South American or European cultures.

That happens because every culture has its uniqueness. If you understand your own culture is seen as different as well, maybe you will stop judging people for caring about things you don’t care about and doing things you don’t do. It’s that simple.

Bruno Beidacki is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].