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Cultural Questions

Wed Oct 06, 2004 5:17 am

Living in the United States, there are some of us that have legitimate questions about other cultures. For example: I see men of Indian or Pakistani descent wearing a silver bracelet. I don't understand what the significance of it is but I don't want to seem stupid or offend them by asking. What would be the best way to ask someone about a cultural differece without sounding like a stupid American?

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RE: Cultural Questions

Wed Oct 06, 2004 5:33 am

Ask them politely. People love talking about themselves.

Something i've always wondered:

What do the different colors of Bindis represent?
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RE: Cultural Questions

Wed Oct 06, 2004 5:47 am

What do the different colors of Bindis represent

In today's times? More often than not the bindi colours change to match the outfit or the handbag and shoes.
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RE: Cultural Questions

Wed Oct 06, 2004 5:56 am

I really dont think it's wrong to ask (politely). You dont know what you dont know. And the act of asking the question illustrates that you are curious and want to know to expand your knowledge.

I have been asked many questions about my culture (I am Indian) by many American's and honestly I never thought they were "stupid Americans" for asking.... unless they made a smart alecky or derogatory remark.

The same often applies to us (of foreign origin) living in the US. When I first came here I used to ask all sorts of seemingly stupid questions, and I never experienced any ridicule.
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RE: Cultural Questions

Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:57 am


I don't think its wrong to ask as long as you do truly sound curious. People who get scoffed at about it usually ask about cultural things in demeaning ways. I once was asked, "hey I saw on Indiana Jones that Indian people ate money brains, do you guys really do that?"

As for the silver bracelets, it depends on whether they are Punjabi. Sikhs wear a gold (plated) or silver bangle on their wrist. Also, Indians in general love Gold, so that could be part of it  Laugh out loud.

The Bindis were traditionally only red and made of a powder and worn by women to show they were married. One of my grandmothers stopped wearing it after my grandfather passed away. But like Jasepl said, it's lost its significance since the last generation and are now mostly worn as an accesory. They also come in different styles too.
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