I’m a masters student of Creative Brand Management at the VCU Brandcenter, in Richmond, Virginia. I’ve been here a year and I commence second year of studies tomorrow. While I feel “wasn’t it just yesterday that I was at the orientation”, the past year has been significant in terms of how much I’ve learned, and I’m not just referring to academic learning. I’m piercing myself into the fantastical bubble I had in mind of America to find it is a solid world, distorted to me before as I looked at it through the convex membrane of the bubble. America has culture. So different from the celebrated cultures of the world because it is of a different age, that morphs at speeds few cultures have, it is unrecognizable to some who dismiss saying, “America has no culture.” That makes digging into American culture challenging, interesting.
I’ll share some of my insights.
Other cultures can attribute to geography, religion, language, even time as forces that govern them. These cultures have faith in these forces, so they preserve their forests and mountains and worhsip the rain, cook and eat what they have always eaten – time forcing itself so much that now few would question why they still eat what they eat even after what triggered the cuisine has lost its relevance. In my opinion, America, for the most part, has the culture of science. When I talk to Americans about my food, they listen to the list and ask, “So what is the protein component?”. An Indian meal is incomplete when it missed one of the units, say roti or chaas. An American meal is incomplete if it lacks protein. Americans eat vegetables, unlike Indians who do because they have always, because they need to get their daily value vegetable portions. So I derived that the culture of America is the culture of science, and I should extend that by saying, the culture of America is the culture of investigation. Having arrived at that, it is no surprise to me why American culture moves so fast – because investigation brings restructuring, and investigation + the freedom for anyone to investigate, is the fuel that accelerates this culture forward.