Morrison 1

Amy Morrison
Dora Sanchez
ACA 122 2B1
09/19/2012
China and USA: A World Apart
China has a vast, rich culture, which has a lot of differences and believe it or not even
some similarities to our own. They have a group mentality, while here in the states we tend to
have an “every man for himself” mentality. Due to their extensive history, they revere age and
the wisdom that comes with it. In the US, we revere youth and vitality, and tend to revile age
and ignore the wisdom that comes from the aged. Both societies greet strangers in a formal
manner, and have large cultures with many language variances. Additionally, the Chinese
practice a philosophy called Confucianism, which according to kwintessential.com is “a system
of behaviors and ethics” (China).
In the collectivistic society of China, people exhibit group thinking. They are more
interested in doing what is best for the masses, as opposed to the rights of one individual. Here
in the U.S. the rights of one person are paramount. We are a much more person focused society,
and will do anything to ensure our own individualism is not overshadowed by what is better for
the collective. This means that for them, groups are essential to life: family, church, society,
government. Citizens here, tend to be more self-focused, and not as interested in the greater
good.
Morrison 2

As the Chinese culture has been handed down through the centuries, they have revered
the aged and their wisdom, unlike their counterparts in the United States. While, they look to
their elders for advice, and the knowledge gained only by living life, we revile those that seek to
give us a shred of benefit from their experiences. We strive to look 20 when we are 40, and push
our elderly into nursing homes, assisted living homes, and senior communities as if we are afraid
to catch what they might be spreading: wisdom and age. Age is celebrated by the Chinese, and
considered to be a source of great pride, and good living.
As different as we seem, there are a couple of similarities between our two divergent
cultures. For one, both cultures greet strangers with a degree of formality. According to
kwintessential.com “handshakes are the most common form of greeting with foreigners”
(China). Likewise, American’s also tend to shake the hands of individuals they are not as
familiar with. Additionally, both are large cultures with many language variances. Within China
there are many closely related but mutually unintelligible dialects. While in the United States,
you can hear the different variations on the English language. Many regions even add in their
own slang to differentiate from the others.
If placed in a social situation with a person from the Chinese culture, I would have to
maintain a formal air, and avoid eye contact. They find staring to be intrusive, and are offended
when someone maintains eye contact. I found this fact on kwintessential.com, and found it
fascinating. They practice Confucianism in China:
Confucianism is a system of behaviours and ethics that stress the obligations of people
towards one another based upon their relationship. The basic tenets are based upon five
different relationships:
Morrison 3

. Ruler and subject
. Husband and wife
. Parents and children
. Brothers and sisters
. Friend and friend
Confucianism stresses duty, sincerity, loyalty, honour, filial piety, respect for age and
seniority. Through maintaing harmonious relations as individuals, society itself becomes
stable.
The differences in our cultures would require a certain delicacy when interacting with
each other. It would be essential to maintain an air of formality unless invited to do otherwise,
and to avoid causing anyone public embarrassment. This is an ancient and beautiful culture
which has a deep and abiding love for age, wisdom and beauty as they see it. We may be
different, but in some of the ways that count, we would do well to study a civilization that has
lasted so long.


Morrison 4

Works Cited
“China - Language, Culture, Customs And Etiquette.” Kwintessential.com. Kwintessential Ltd.
Web. 17 Sept 2012