As I stated before, my parents came to America in the 60s and I am a first generation American. Like most immigrants, they came with the hopes of a better life for their children in the USA. (I conveniently changed all that when I came to Israel, but that's another story). Living in America, I observed a lot of the culture conflicts that was going on between black America vs white America; "minorities" vs majority; and even the interesting spillover conflicts such as Puerto Ricans vs Mexicans and how it played out in their new homeland, America.
With great effort, I managed to skirt a lot of the issues. However, I did learn the proper norms of living in African American world. Little things such as nodding to a 'brotha' or a 'sistah' as a sign of recognition and comeraderie when walking down the street.
Unfortunately, there were some mores I didn't care for, like being whistled at or hearing the "girl you looks good! I wont some! " comments which I completely ignored.
However, now I'm in a different "black" neighborhood. LOLOL This new black neighborhood is called black because the people typically wear white shirt, black slacks, black hats, and black coats. The women usually dress in black too!
Actually, I have one foot in the "black" neighborhood and one foot straddling the rest of the Jewish Orthodox world. Which one is stronger, that remains to be seen.
In my new neighborhood(s), I have new norms and mores to learn. I remember once, I was walking down the street and saw up ahead was an Ethiopian Jew. He was stationed as a security guard for a store and was sitting outside on a stool. As I approached I wondered if I should say "hi" or nod. Does he even know about such things? Do Ethiopians nod to one another as a sign of comeraderie? They don't have the same history as AA people, so it may be different.
I was getting closer and had to make up my mind. Nod or ignore.
When I finally got up to him, I decided i've got more to lose if I don't nod (maybe he'll think i'm a snob, or maybe he'll feel rejected or something) So, I gave him a cool smile and a nod.
O boy! was that a MISTAKE !!!!!
just as I passed, his (also Ethiopian) friend came outside too. So it seemed like I nodded to both of them. The security guard gave out a high pitched noise -I guess the Amharic equivalent to the American "WTF?!!!"
Needless to say, I quickened my pace and turned a corner as fast as I possibly could!