In the United States, driving a car is a must in most areas outside of New York City or major cities. Most suburban areas do not have good public transportation, so whatever our economic situation might be, we need a car to get around. Living in the US, sometimes I find myself in the car most of my day. Whether we know it or not, our car becomes an extension of our individual expression, kind of like the clothes we wear. Are you superficial and prefer a brand name more than just pure performance? Are you concerned about the environment and want to show it?
Then there is the ultimate name tag, the license plate. This article on BBC entitled “Should America ban ‘offensive’ license plates?” highlights a recent court case where the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles ruled a certain license plate offensive to a significant portion of the public. This organization then went to the US Court of Appeals, and successfully argued the First Amendment. Read on in this article to see what had happened, and why that might be.
Regardless of the outcome of this case, it is true that Americans wear their hearts on their cars, especially on their bumpers. Bumper stickers openly show the inner most thoughts of the person behind the wheel. It is very common for people to pay extra for a specially designed license plate that express their affiliation. This may seem strange and amusing to the outsider. Andrew Miziniak, the founder of the Unicultural® module of cultural training, goes on to explain the tendency for American culture to give a lot of information up front, to allow the audience to decide how much relationship to pursue. In a Transitory Relationship like the USA, this is very common, to share a lot about ourselves upfront, which may seem strange and superficial to someone that comes from a direct relationship culture, that values trust over time. Click here to find out more through the Unicultural® trainer-led videos.
Understanding cultural perspectives and being aware of the differences in value and relationship building is an important part of building global relationships today. There is something to learn even from the way Americans express themselves on the rear of their car.
Above photo of License plate map of US
Unicultural team and trainers, sharing our views and experiences on everything cultural.