THE WORLDVIEW OF TWO CULTURES COMPARED: IMPLICATIONS

These are some of the misunderstandings that result from the cultures not understanding the perspective and values of the other.

Editor's note: This was NOT created to cause division and does not take the possition that these things are true about the cultures or that all of one culture think these things of the other. These statements show some general underlying values of the two cultures, and how these values can be misunderstood as negative attributes.


THE UNIVERSE

Native Americans think:
Whites violate the sanctity of the universe. (ie. cutting down forests and making farms.)
White Americans think:
Native Americans are ignorant about the true nature of the Universe.

ABSOLUTES/THE SUPERNATURAL

Native Americans think:
White Americans don't know anything, can't "see" the real world. They are incapable of supernatural contact.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are out of touch with reality, they live in a dream world. They are supersticious, see things that aren't there.

TIME

Native Americans think:
White Americans are more concerned with time than people.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are unreliable.

WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE

Native Americans think:
White Americans are really dumb, can't function in Indian country.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are not concerned about education,(school setting), they don't want to learn.

INDIVIDUALITY

Native Americans think:
White Americans don't care about people, selfish, greedy, ruthless.
White Americans think:
Native Americans lack interest in personal achievement.

COMPETITION

Native Americans think:
White Americans can't be trusted,and are only after what they can get.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are lazy, unimaginative, will not exploit their own resourses.

GOOD

Native Americans think:
White Americans are prospering at the expense of Indians, want to acquire.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are passive, no initiative.

ACHIEVMENT

Native Americans think:
White Americans never admit they are wrong, exploit their own families, never settle down.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are afraid to leave the reserve, can't face the real world, always copping out.

ASSOCIATIONAL GROUPS

Native Americans think:
White Americans are always trying to get ahead in politics, industry, clubs, etc.as opposed to sticking by family and friends, and look down on Native Americans.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are crazy to put up with lawless,drunken kinsmen, won't try to better themselves.

ASSOCIATION OF ACTIVITIES

Native Americans think:
Too motivated by personal gain,selfish, few traditions or ties to traditions that are valued.
White Americans think:
Native Americans Lack discipline and operate from primitive traditions. Unwilling to change. Do not understand sound principles of economics and work ethic.

LEADERSHIP/ORGANIZATION

Native Americans think:
White Americans are agressive, bossy, know everything and want everything their way.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are disorganized, lazy and don't know how to do anything.

PRODUCTION

Native Americans think:
White Americans value material things, wealth, and don't care about people.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are lazy and don't care about important material things or their reputations.

CHANGE

Native Americans think:
White Americans are fickle, unreliable, spoiled and concerned for themselves. Try to force changes.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are primative, backward and ignorant.

PLANNING

Native Americans think:
White Americans worry about things too much. Try to force plans on others and expect answers for unimportant questions, and get mad when changes are made.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are irresponsible, shortsighted, undisciplined, don't care about possetions, and spend money foolishly.

INFLUENCE

Native Americans think:
White Americans are bossy and pushy, too direct and loud, want everything their own way.
White Americans think:
Native Americans are uneducated and dumb. Don't know anything. Too passive and lazy.

(Chart from CrossCultural Seminar: MBC IMAC)

Nancy Vogt,
nancyv@citilink.com, September 1994.