Monday, July 07, 2008



Some people in Britain and the USA have an interesting perspective on this subject. They feel happy taking off their shoes at the home of an Asian person whose culture demands removal of shoes, but consider it deeply rude for a British or American person to insist on visitors to her home removing their shoes.

There are two problems with this attitude. Firstly, there is a touch of cultural arrogance about it. It implies that the Asian custom of removing shoes is purely of spiritual or cultural significance with no practical value. Maybe Asian people are primarily concerned about keeping their homes clean! Behind the pretended respect for a foreign culture, there is the unspoken assumption that Western practice is superior.

Secondly, this attitude seems to take a rather static view of culture, seeing it as a set of chains that bind people to particular rules of behaviour. In fact, culture is dynamic and fluid, it changes over time.

It seems to me to be quite obvious that if a person of Asian descent can be considered British while keeping her home shoe-free, it is perfectly acceptable for a White British person to keep her home shoe-free.

It may be the norm in Britain and most of the USA for shoes to stay on in homes now, but this may change. In fact, I believe it probably will. Many White Americans and even British people are adopting the custom of shoes-off in homes.

We are living in a global village with increased immigration, travel and communication between different cultures. There is tremendous potential for different cultural practices to migrate across geographical boundaries.


jazzycat said...

I was years ahead of my time in not allowing smoking in my home. I guess this shows my age, but there was a time when people would light up without asking.

I am with you on some of these idea's, but I reject the PC imposed cultural standards that are being forced on us here in the USA. It would not be quite as bad if my side (conservative Christian world-view) were setting the standards, but unfortunately it is the liberal secular post-moderns who are setting these standards.

I am stunned by what they have come up with so far.....

Celestial Fundie said...

Yes, most people now accept that non-smokers can ask guests not to smoke in their homes.
Though there are some old-fashioned 'etiquette experts' who still think it is rude.

I do not like the expression 'political correctness'. It is a very vague concept. I wrote a post about it a while ago.

richyrich said...

I saw this in yesterday's Sunday Times advocating a shoes off policy, please see link below:

Celestial Fundie said...


I disagree with the 'ditch the carpet' advice.

Although carpets can get very dirty, they do have some advantages.