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Val123's avatar

If you were visiting another culture and they expected you do to something that they viewed as an important part of their culture, but which you viewed as totally unacceptable in YOUR culture, what would you do?

Asked by Val123 (12684points) February 19th, 2010

The question about eating human flesh prompted this.

If it is a serious insult in a culture you’re visiting to not do something they expect of you, but in your culture what they want you to do would be viewed as hideous or immoral, what should the right course of action be?

Same goes for someone visiting your culture…who’s job is it to resolve this issue? The visitor or the host?

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23 Answers

DominicX's avatar

I would not do something that went against what I believe in terms of right and wrong, regardless of what the culture I’m visiting thinks. My personal values trump those of the people I’m visiting.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I can only do what I am comfortable doing. I can’t help if my action or inaction offends other cultures, I’m sticking to my values.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Is there a culture, more exactly people – that would expect you to behave like them? In my experience, people are generally forgiving of outsider guests.

I guess if I were in such a position, I would leave.

tinyfaery's avatar

If I’m not okay with it, I am not doing it. I don’t care who I insult.

Val123's avatar

@the100thmonkey Well, I’m thinking of things like the culture clashes in the Old West between the white men and the Indians, when people weren’t so universally educated and enlightened. Or, like in Shogun….I vaguely remember a scene where if he didn’t do some thing, he could be put to death.

DominicX's avatar


Well, there are different scales of “differences”. If I were from culture A and I’m visiting culture B:

In culture B, it’s considered insulting to wear red.
Well, then, I’m not going to wear it when I visit them. I don’t need to be an asshole about it. Wearing red is not such an important part of who I am that I can’t give it up when I’m in a certain place.

In culture B, you’ll be looked on as an insulting jerk if you don’t eat human flesh.
I still wouldn’t do it. They can dislike me all they want.

In culture B, you’ll be killed if you don’t have sex with a 12 year old.
What the hell am I doing here in the first place?

Val123's avatar

@DominicX LOL! Great answers!

Sarcasm's avatar

I would hope that my host culture would understand that I am not from their culture, and they should realized that my inability to recreate that which they do is not intended to be an insult to them, but rather something that I was raised not to do. We are all products of our environment.

But it entirely depends on what the task is, and how much value they place in it. Like @DominicX‘s examples, for example. I’d have no problem avoiding the color red. I’d have no problem wearing nothing but red.

If they were going to skin me alive for not eating human flesh, I’d take some nibbles.
Actually. I think if I was venturing out with a flesh-eating culture, I’d give it a try regardless. Who doesn’t want to be able to say “I’ve eaten human flesh!”?
Oh, I’m all alone here in wanting to say that? Uh oh.

ucme's avatar

Ahh the Indiana Jones quandry.Well hopefully it would be a culture that was aware of the diverse nature of other cultures.If not, tough because i’m not doing anything that i’m not comfortable with.

lilikoi's avatar

When in Rome…..

susanc's avatar

Most of you should stay in your own neighborhoods or only go to resorts with fences around them.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would say true to my beliefs.I also would not expect others to do something they are against when they come to visit me.

desiree333's avatar

I wouldn’t do something that went against my beliefs, like say consuming dog in China. I think that is totally unacceptable, and I think I would voice my opinion on that to whomever was sitting with me eating a dog. I’m not saying I would hold some sort of protest, but I would say that I don’t think it is right. If it was something that isn’t offending to my culture, I would try it as long as it was safe, ethical, and morally acceptable.. (cannabis coffee shops in Amsterdam maybe, although it isn’t really all that “safe” health wise)

MrItty's avatar

How unacceptable are we talking about? Is it just a “taboo” in my country, or is it so “wrong” as to be illegal? I wouldn’t kill or steal, for example. But if it was violating a cultural taboo, like exhibiting nudity or showering very infrequently… yeah that’d be fine. When in Rome and all that…

the100thmonkey's avatar

@desiree333 – what’s so wrong about eating a dog? If you disagree with it in a culture where it’s not “unacceptable”, what would you hope to achieve by lecturing the “natives” about their “barbarism”?

MrItty's avatar

@desiree333 And how would you respond if someone from another culture came to visit you and started “voicing their opinion” to you if they told you how vile you are for eating a cow?

gemiwing's avatar

I would try to find some sort of middle ground. Go as far as I am comfortable with and expect them to respect my culture. I would give a little ground and show respect for theirs.

Eating humans is a bit far of an example for me to really dig my teeth into ba dum dum.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I wouldn’t do it. If something is unacceptable in my opinion (and unacceptable is a very strong word as far as I am concerned so it would have to be something really bad in my eyes and not just a little “gross”) then I can’t compromise my own beliefs just fr the natives. However I would try and explain to them my reasons for not doing it and try to make them realise that I am not judging them for it.

Val123's avatar

Hi there @lazydaisy !!!!!

lazydaisy's avatar

hi dutchess!!

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