The Importance Of Social Norms In Texas

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A few summers ago some of my cousins, aunts, and uncles went on a road trip. We traveled to California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado in the span a month. While all these states are in the same country, they all have different social norms. When we went to most places people new almost right away we were from the south. One lady told us she knew we were from the south, because of the jewelry we were wearing. Another lady said she could tell, because we all smiled and nodded at people when we walked past someone. In Texas it is very common to smile, nod, or wave at someone when you make eye contact. It’s a social norm that we have, but in some cultures this could be seen as impolite, threatening, or even unacceptable. Luckily for us most of…show more content…
In the south most people know that it is poliet and some places expected for young people to address people older than them by Ma'am, and Sir. While that is true in Texas it is NOT true in California. One day one while I was checking out at a store I made the mistake of calling a middle age woman ma'am. It didn't even phase me, because that's what I am so use to doing in Texas. In Texas if I did not call her ma'am I could be seen as rude and impolite. Well this lady did not see it that way. I could tell immediately that she was not pleased by my statement. However, I was very confused as to why she would be offended. In my eyes I didn't do anything wrong. I looked again to make sure that she was a woman and she did in fact appear to be. So at that point I was very confused as to how I managed to offend this lady. Her friend behind the counter was laughing at her, but the lady checking me out was not at all amused. So instinctively I began to apologize ,and I told her that I did not mean to offend her in any way. “ I was just trying to be respectful”, I reassured her. Unfortunately nothing I said seemed to help the situation. Then the lady noticed the Texas outline on my credit card. She seemed very relieved by it which confused me even more. “What the heck is wrong with this lady?”, I wondered to myself. She then asked me if I was from Texas and when I said yes she smiled at me. “ In California we only call very old people Ma'am and Sir. I’m not that old”, she said. I then immediately apologized again and told her how it is common to call everyone by ma’am and sir no matter the age. “ Sometimes people even call little girls Ma'am,” I said. She kept telling me that it was okay, but to be careful because some people may take it as an insult. At that point I was so embarrassed. I had no intention of upsetting anyone, but

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