White People Smile.
Image Credit: Jon Davis
I really don’t like to make racial cultural generalities, but we do this. We do it a lot. I never noticed it until I saw a meme about it. I never thought about the fact we do that, and when I noticed we did, I thought surely everyone must do it too. No. It’s just us white people.
Image Credit: ig:@daquan
When we see people walking the other way in passing and don’t want to have a conversation, the flat not-really-a-smile mixed with expressionless eyes is apparently our way of giving a polite acknowledgement of the other person’s existence. It’s technically polite, because don’t lie to me, some days you just don’t want to talk to Kim today, but you don’t want to hurt her feelings by snubbing her. What’s weirder, no one taught any of us to do this. It is just something we all do.
Just to editorialize a little bit, but I will wonder aloud if this has anything to do with why sometimes white people feel other cultures are rude, because they don’t do the completely meaningless gesture of polite unattachment. Just a thought.
Child beauty pageants — I find them to be horribly exploitative and should be totally illegal. “Hi! Let me sexualize my toddler. Oh, and let me do this in the part of the country that claims to be super religious.”
Image Credit: Dan Holliday
More than weird, there’s a lot about life in the US that is dehumanizing, but you asked for weird so here’s my list. Warning, it’s very subjective!
Suburbia in general is weird
1. Sidewalks that nobody walks on
2. The way people stare from their cars at a person walking on a suburban sidewalk (“What is that person doing walking on that sidewalk?”).
3. Neighbors that never speak with each other; an occasional wave from their driveway if you’re lucky.
4. Giant, expensive homes that all look the same
5. Giant, expensive homes that obviously sit on what was once farmland
6. Giant, expensive homes jammed next to another giant, expensive home with no yard
7. Residential neighborhoods with almost nobody outside on a sunny afternoon; how children spend so little time these days playing outside in their neighborhood. It’s become a little spooky to drive through residential neighborhoods and see nobody outdoors.
8. Residential communities for people over a certain age; in other words, no children (Children? oh, the horror!!!)
9. The businesses that are set up to cater to children’s birthday parties. When my daughter was little, she got invited to dozens of these parties. She had fun but for me it was weird and even a little creepy how they were “processed.” What happened to inviting kids over to your house for a birthday party?
10. The deafening noise from leaf blowers, lawn mowers, edgers, chainsaws, chippers, and other gas powered lawn maintenance machines every Saturday afternoon. This obsession we Americans have for attacking our yards every weekend with machines is weird.
11. How all social interaction must be scheduled in advance. Nobody just drops by anymore.