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Old 10-13-2019, 12:22 AM
 
Location: The High Desert
7,349 posts, read 4,039,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
Visiting a place is hardly the same as living there. How much local culture do you really get to experience in a few weeks or a month?
It is a matter of perception. Some people simply don't pick up on the differences. People can live or travel in a bubble. They can experience California or NYC almost anywhere if they haul it around with them or only seek out people like themselves. They can choose to eat the same food everywhere. The interstate corridors are much the same. Airport motels or hotels resemble each other. A person can seek out sameness and a comfort zone and miss the regional differences.

I think there is a whole corporate mindset geared to make their customers' experiences the same anywhere in the country. Starbucks is a Starbucks is a Starbucks. Same with most chains. Smaller communities that are not on the corporate radar probably have more local color.
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:12 AM
Status: "Coffee is at least 3 of my food groups" (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Chi > DC > Reno > SEA
1,952 posts, read 906,249 times
Reputation: 2530
I will say that I haven't found any strongly defined local cultures in the West so far, besides Utah, Indian reservations, and (maybe) New Mexico.

In my experience, you really have to make an effort to get far enough off the major travel corridors in the West to find towns that feel different, culturally, from the generic US Starbucks/Chipotle/Instagram culture.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
47,086 posts, read 37,900,940 times
Reputation: 66917
Uhh yeah, get off the interstate. Get out of chain restaurants and fast food places. Get off Instagram. It's not that difficult, even in major cities.

My gosh, go to the Stockyards in downtown Fort Worth and then wander down Wall Street in NYC and tell me there aren't regional differences.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Buffalo, NY
1,535 posts, read 1,292,747 times
Reputation: 3470
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Uhh yeah, get off the interstate. Get out of chain restaurants and fast food places. Get off Instagram. It's not that difficult, even in major cities.

My gosh, go to the Stockyards in downtown Fort Worth and then wander down Wall Street in NYC and tell me there aren't regional differences.
Even on the interstates there are lots of different cultures in view at the rest stops that are not as visible in airports.

Good Ol' Boys in the South. Ma & Pa Kettle looking families in Tennessee and Kentucky. Amish and Mennonite in Ohio, NY, and PA. Hijab and Burka wearing travellers in NY. Orthodox and Hassidic Jews in the Northeast.

There is a universal underlying culture across the US in the cities, but multiple sub-cultures that feed into it.
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:59 PM
 
2,649 posts, read 807,722 times
Reputation: 1873
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
It is a matter of perception. Some people simply don't pick up on the differences. People can live or travel in a bubble. They can experience California or NYC almost anywhere if they haul it around with them or only seek out people like themselves. They can choose to eat the same food everywhere. The interstate corridors are much the same. Airport motels or hotels resemble each other. A person can seek out sameness and a comfort zone and miss the regional differences.

I think there is a whole corporate mindset geared to make their customers' experiences the same anywhere in the country. Starbucks is a Starbucks is a Starbucks. Same with most chains. Smaller communities that are not on the corporate radar probably have more local color.
I am not one to seek out sameness, I always try to enjoy the local culture. That being said, people themselves are roughly the same wherever I go, with the real difference being urban vs rural like others have stated.
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:02 PM
 
2,649 posts, read 807,722 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Ehh, don't worry about it. I don't feel like my post was discredited at all.

I relish the differences I find in regions, in people, in states, subcultures, countries, you name it. They are definitely there. I guess it's just whether you notice them or live them or not.

Ramps. Boiled peanuts. White clam pizza. Lobster rolls. Honestly, who cares if people ALSO eat common fast food or whatever?

I used to pick up a baker's dozen of boiled crabs on my way home when I lived in Maryland. I mean, it was as common as picking up a dozen donuts somewhere else - it was literally a drive through for boiled crabs. Can't do that in Texas.

Until I moved to Texas, I really hadn't experienced (or fallen in love with) soft corn taco shells or street tacos. We just didn't have those in abundance in the southeast, and certainly not in Germany where I had lived immediately before moving to Texas.

But forget about food - what about Texas dance halls? How bout an SEC football game, live - in a football town - on a Saturday afternoon? How 'bout scoping out all the lighthouses along a coast line? What about touring Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where so many poets and writers are buried? Or the bridge where the Revolutionary War started? How 'bout soaking up the ambiance of Jamestown and Yorktown and Williamsburg, VA. - oh and Bruce Hornsby is from there too and his music SOUNDS like that region, just like Gordon Lightfoot's music SOUNDS like Canada, and James Taylor's music SOUNDS like North Carolina? How bout walking in Memphis with your feet ten feet offa Beale? How bout drinking crazy Cajun drinks all afternoon long in a dark dive of a bar in New Orleans, listening to someone next door playing the saxophone? How bout watching whales spout among the huge boulders along the coastline of Oregon or Washington state, and thinking "Meriwether Lewis stood RIGHT HERE and looked out at this same scene!" Or standing beneath a redwood tree in absolute awe? Or clambering around Indian ruins outside of Sedona and thinking "These are just as old as some of the castle ruins in Europe!" Or walking along the street in Springfield Illinois during an art festival and thinking "Wow, is there anyplace anywhere in the US that's quite as quintessentially American as this place is?"

And the answer is yes. Yes, there is. Because it's all America - and it's deliciously varied.
I was not dismissive of your post, I accept and agree that there is still regional food. However, I find that people (especially among the younger generations) don't vary a whole lot.

And authentic tacos are now mainstream in all 50 states. There are Mexicans everywhere and Mexican food is among the most popular cuisines in the US. Tacos are to us what kebabs are to Germany.

A lot of the things you mention are historical things and not indicative of where American culture is heading. Just look at the pop charts, almost none of the music is regionally discernible like it might have been even in the 90s.
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:04 PM
 
2,649 posts, read 807,722 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketSci View Post
Even on the interstates there are lots of different cultures in view at the rest stops that are not as visible in airports.

Good Ol' Boys in the South. Ma & Pa Kettle looking families in Tennessee and Kentucky. Amish and Mennonite in Ohio, NY, and PA. Hijab and Burka wearing travellers in NY. Orthodox and Hassidic Jews in the Northeast.

There is a universal underlying culture across the US in the cities, but multiple sub-cultures that feed into it.
The Hassidic Jews are kind of a regional NY thing, however they're so insular that most of us don't have any meaningful interactions with them. Same thing with the Amish out in PA. It was very interesting to observe their way of life. However both them and Hassids are extremely far removed from what mainstream Americans are like, and are outliers.

I also think that Middle Eastern people and Sikhs are pretty much everywhere now.
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Miami-Dade
534 posts, read 189,329 times
Reputation: 919
I mostly agree with the OP. Never really experienced culture shock anywhere I went in the U.S. Possibly the one exception would be NYC, and only Manhattan at that. I remember the outer boroughs feeling unbelievably American.

This is not to say regional cultural differences don't exist, but they tend to be overrated in relevance, and they're pretty easy to miss if you're not even looking for them. For example, every area has some type of food that "only they do right", but if the stuff was that good then it would have become a national cuisine by now, the way Tex-Mex and fried chicken have.

When I go to a different part of the country, there are only three things that really catch my attention:

1. The geography. The most outstanding thing about where I live now are the clear, South Atlantic waters and the wide variety of tropical vegetation that I couldn't get back home in Texas. Another example is the appreciable contrast between the Appalachians and the Rockies.

2. The historic architecture. Most post-WW2 construction has that same boring look across the country, but the Federal architecture in Georgia would otherwise make it feel like it's located in a different country than Louisiana with their Spanish Colonial buildings.

3. Lastly, I still notice certain differences in phenotype across the states. Of course some areas are healthier than others, and there are obvious differences between someone descended from Italians vs. Germans, but I can even usually tell the difference between a black person from Houston and one from Atlanta, even if their genetic makeup is nearly identical. Like #2, this may be a result of regional differences that were much more pronounced in generations passed.
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Old 10-13-2019, 03:01 PM
 
34 posts, read 9,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frustratedintelligence View Post
I mostly agree with the OP. Never really experienced culture shock anywhere I went in the U.S. Possibly the one exception would be NYC, and only Manhattan at that. I remember the outer boroughs feeling unbelievably American.

This is not to say regional cultural differences don't exist, but they tend to be overrated in relevance, and they're pretty easy to miss if you're not even looking for them. For example, every area has some type of food that "only they do right", but if the stuff was that good then it would have become a national cuisine by now, the way Tex-Mex and fried chicken have.

When I go to a different part of the country, there are only three things that really catch my attention:

1. The geography. The most outstanding thing about where I live now are the clear, South Atlantic waters and the wide variety of tropical vegetation that I couldn't get back home in Texas. Another example is the appreciable contrast between the Appalachians and the Rockies.

2. The historic architecture. Most post-WW2 construction has that same boring look across the country, but the Federal architecture in Georgia would otherwise make it feel like it's located in a different country than Louisiana with their Spanish Colonial buildings.

3. Lastly, I still notice certain differences in phenotype across the states. Of course some areas are healthier than others, and there are obvious differences between someone descended from Italians vs. Germans, but I can even usually tell the difference between a black person from Houston and one from Atlanta, even if their genetic makeup is nearly identical. Like #2, this may be a result of regional differences that were much more pronounced in generations passed.

Everything you're talking about is superficial. The look of a place, the look of the buildings, the look of the people.


Maybe you only see the outside of things, and not the core. Like people who define culture and diversity mostly by appearance and food.
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Old 10-13-2019, 03:12 PM
 
2,649 posts, read 807,722 times
Reputation: 1873
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frustratedintelligence View Post
I mostly agree with the OP. Never really experienced culture shock anywhere I went in the U.S. Possibly the one exception would be NYC, and only Manhattan at that. I remember the outer boroughs feeling unbelievably American.

This is not to say regional cultural differences don't exist, but they tend to be overrated in relevance, and they're pretty easy to miss if you're not even looking for them. For example, every area has some type of food that "only they do right", but if the stuff was that good then it would have become a national cuisine by now, the way Tex-Mex and fried chicken have.

When I go to a different part of the country, there are only three things that really catch my attention:

1. The geography. The most outstanding thing about where I live now are the clear, South Atlantic waters and the wide variety of tropical vegetation that I couldn't get back home in Texas. Another example is the appreciable contrast between the Appalachians and the Rockies.

2. The historic architecture. Most post-WW2 construction has that same boring look across the country, but the Federal architecture in Georgia would otherwise make it feel like it's located in a different country than Louisiana with their Spanish Colonial buildings.

3. Lastly, I still notice certain differences in phenotype across the states. Of course some areas are healthier than others, and there are obvious differences between someone descended from Italians vs. Germans, but I can even usually tell the difference between a black person from Houston and one from Atlanta, even if their genetic makeup is nearly identical. Like #2, this may be a result of regional differences that were much more pronounced in generations passed.
I mostly agree. Like, people often claim that "California does Mexican the best by far", but good Mexican food can be found pretty much anywhere in the US these days. The Mexican/Chicano population has spread all over.

The geography and architecture are also what stand out to me the most. But I feel like I find the same mixes of people everywhere (though I'm less familiar with rural areas, which hold a relatively small percentage of the US population anyway).
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