- Published: January 26, 2022
- Updated: January 26, 2022
- University / College: The University of Western Australia
- Language: English
- Downloads: 28
“ Hypocrisy is the essence of snobbery, but all snobbery is about the problem of belonging.” Alexander Theroux This paper is based on my own experience while living in the United States, and it is not intended to offend anyone. I come from a former Soviet Union country called Republic of Moldova (which maybe only 0, 001% of Americans know about), located in eastern Europe. My family is quite conservative – but we may think about conservatism in two completely contrasting ways because we come from two extremely different backgrounds and different cultural values, which I will try to explain as clearly as possible in my essay.
Why am I interested to write about this topic? I do so because I face hypocrisy every single day in this country, much more than anywhere I have visited in past. I meet it on the streets, I see it all around on the internet and TV, and, finally, the place I see it the most of my time is my school. To illustrate, I would like to tell you about a couple of my classmates who were gossiping about something random in the student lounge (gossiping, by the way, doesn’t bother me less than hypocrisy; I consider it equally nasty) when a teacher was passing by. Upon seeing the teacher, the students showed their widest smile to the teacher, greeting her in a most friendly way, as if she were their friend. They had a nice, brief conversation, but as soon as the teacher turned and made ONE STEP around the corner, I could not believe my eyes what a drastic change occurred in my classmates’ facial expression and intonation of the voice. They all became so conspicuously negative that it almost made me sick. I really cannot get one thing – if you don’t like someone, why make them think you do? Why do Americans teach their children to smile no matter what? Whether American parents shove the Constitution in their children’s face or not, they teach them that hard work is the path one takes to a better life, liberty, and happiness, which is great. However, they do not impart the importance of knowing about other parts of the world, which creates what I call the “ American arrogance.”
Each American thinks his/her country is the greatest in the world. But do they know why? Do they know through what sneaky, secretive ways many of these things were achieved? Staying out of the world wars and selling equipment instead, then, when the winner was obvious, taking that side? Such ignoble games are America’s strong point. In addition to this, they say, “ if you got nothing to say, don’t say anything at all,” which I don’t necessarily always agree with. At the same time, everyone screams publicly that this is a free country! Then, why am I not allowed to say out loud something that turns me inside out? This, my friend, is HYPOCRISY. Not even going into politics, there are so many lies in this culture. Americans say they like immigrants, but this is one of the biggest lies here (again, this is not said to criticize the whole nation – nothing is black and white!). This country was built thanks to immigrants’ efforts from all around the world – Europeans, Africans, Asians and all other people that have been living here for a very long while. Essentially, there is no such nation as Americans (face slap!!!). There is a big melting pot which encouraged immigrants of all times, from slaves to aristocrats, to blend in this society. This is how the American “ nation” has “ appeared”.
However, it is very unfortunate and upsetting how fast some immigrants forget where they come from. Wesley Yang, being an example of people I do not respect, says in his “ Paper Tigers” (para. 6) – “ Let me summarize my feelings toward Asian values: Fuck filial piety. Fuck grade-grubbing. Fuck Ivy League mania. Fuck deference to authority. Fuck humility and hard work. Fuck harmonious relations. Fuck sacrificing for the future. Fuck earnest, striving middle-class servility.” I cannot tell you how greatly my blood boils when I hear these kind of words from an immigrant. Giving up your culture and heritage to be part of the crowd, being the one who wants to melt(?) it? But where does the idea of being an individual, outgoing, and extraverted come from? Think about it, isn’t it another, very obvious example of HYPOCRISY? Yang suffers because of his Asian face, as he says right in the beginning of his article – “ Sometimes I’ll glimpse my reflection in a window and feel astonished by what I see. Jet-black hair. Slanted eyes. A pancake-flat surface of yellow-and- green-toned skin. An expression that is nearly reptilian in its impassivity,” and he truly has no appreciation of who he is, which makes a very common in American society ideology of “ love yourself the way you are” – completely hypocritical.
As much as hypocrisy is common in daily life, it is also widespread in social networking. Facebook is one of the most hypocritical places on the internet. Zadie Smith’s “ Generation Why?” frequently remarks the superficial interactions online – “ the whole Internet will simply become like Facebook: falsely jolly, fake-friendly, self- promoting, slickly disingenuous.” So true! How many times have you added people you don’t even say “ hi” to in real life? And have you questioned yourself – why? I did, and I ended up deleting over a hundred people from my friend’s list, because I don’t find it gratifying to be fake friendly to people I do not necessarily care about! Friendship values are taken way too loosely and unseriously in this culture.
A Moldavian friend of mine, who moved here long ago because he got promoted in his job, told me a very interesting story about how kids “ sell” each other for five bucks. The story goes like this: a student in the class (it happened in an elementary school) wrote something not so pleasant about a teacher’s skills on the blackboard. And the teacher said she would pay five dollars to the one who will reveal the crime. Do you know how many peers of that kid volunteered for the detective position? Without exaggeration, more than half of the class did. Where is the freedom of expression here? That kid did not insult the teacher, but shared his opinion about her teaching. “ Shitty class, shitty teaching,” he said. Isn’t this a free country where everyone is allowed to say out loud what they think?! It wasn’t a personal insult – it was his very personal, subjective conclusion. Another very similar story happened in another immigrant family, my father’s friends, who moved to the U. S. not very long ago.
Their child went to a local middle school, and his teacher was very curious about his parents’ relationship and communication so she paid him five dollars to go home and report to her next morning if his parents quarreled, with all the details he would capture. The power of five bucks, my friend, is applied again here. Who in the world besides American teachers make their pupils creep on their parents? If you want to answer my question, please do so, so I could write another essay about it. Where I come from, a deed like that would be considered below any sense of conscience or respect for yourself and your family. Obviously, the child told his parents about it, and they acted appropriately. In my culture, children are very close to their family. We are taught that family is the most important, valuable, and, , priceless thing in our life, and that you can’t choose your parents. Be grateful for what you have, they say, and life will reward you. Respect your parents, and your children will respect you. Our parents don’t pay us to help them wash the car or go grocery shopping, like it is so common here. “ Here is five bucks, would you do that for me?” The power of five bucks, damn it!!!
Hypocrisy is more than what we think of when we think or hear about it. It is so deeply ingrained and established in this culture that nobody thinks it’s wrong. Nobody is willing to fix it or change it, just like nobody wants to start changing their viewpoint on it, which is an indefeasible factor of what they call here to be “ open-minded”. Again, it’s one of the many hypocritical American ideologies that is being spread over the generations, along with democratic ideas and other things that gives me no hope for the future generations.
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