Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 28 - Culture Shock (Off Topic)

Are America and Australia really that much alike in terms of culture? 

I've been reading several American blogs recently, and more and more I find myself falling in a hole I didn't even realise was there. 

To be fair though, perhaps I should have known. 

KFC came out with an ad aimed at the Australian cricket market. It showed an Australian surrounded by Jamaican fans, and they all got together over yummy chicken. I didn't even know there was a stereotype that Jamaican's liked chicken, but it was enough for a group of US citizens to protest the ad. KFC pulled it, which I think was cowardly. There is nothing racist in it. It was about how, while we might take different sides in cricket matches, we can all agree the food is good. Specifically, hopefully, their food.

But then, I was also a little bewildered over why a group of guys dressing up as the Jackson 5 was racist. After all, Tracey Jordan dressed as a white woman on 30Rock. What's the big deal? 

Maybe it's something you just don't get unless you live there. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that there isn't a race problem in Australia, just that we define racism differently. 

Anywho, that's what I've been thinking over the past day instead of writing. 

Word count - 0 (but 5 hours of Final Fantasy XIII)

EDIT - I meant to include this link which tells you more about the KFC thing if you're interested. 


  1. You guys are a lot more laid back, as a whole. I found it refreshing while I was there. I've lived in Canada my whole life, But I hate it when people get overly sensitive like that. Unfortunately though, it happens a lot. Everyone errs on the side of caution, just in case.

  2. I just found your blog through the NaNoWriMo forums, and I really like it!

    That said, yes, I don't know why, but Americans are still SUPER sensitive about race. I think we still have a lot of white guilt going around, probably due to the whole slavery thing. It makes us a bit weird about the whole subject.

  3. Breena - I think everyone (and by extension, every culture) has its sore points - the things they have trouble discussing without becoming polarised into for and against. It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you feel you've offended someone and you're not entirely certain why.

    And thanks Amy! I can certainly understand institutionalised guilt - our ancestors did some really messed up stuff to the Aboriginals and we've been uncomfortably guilty as a society about it for ages.

    Though once I did it to a UK guy by accident. I beat him at pool and said "Man, you got owned worse than you did at Dunkirk". He was really upset. I didn't understand how big a deal that battle was for them. For me, it was just a defeat in a history book. If you said to an Australian "Man, you got owned worse than you did at Gallipoli" we'd be more likely to say "Yeah, but it was the bloody Pom's fault"!

    And I thought I'd left my social faux pas stage behind at high school! *sigh*