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Your Culture - all about YOU

2007-10-05 by

Listen to Tradition!

In the course of my articles, I sit here and tell you about my cultural background. I do that because it’s what I know and
grew up with.

I’d love to know about your culture and traditions.
So, here’s a place where you can post your stories, your traditions, your practices.

Actually, it’s something I had, long ago, in my first online business – in My WishList. People told us lovely stories.

It’s time to bring that back.

Ask TaxMama
Where taxes are fun and answers are free
The place for your stories and traditions

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  1. Blaire Borthayre Says:

    Hi Eva
    My name is Blaire and I found your site since we are both on the Professional Speaker to Speaker Group. I perused your site and enjoyed it very much particularly the question of culture since it is not one seen much on tax industry sites. So allow me to share that I am Hispanic, raised by my grandmother from Mexico who did not speak English. My husband is from Peru and has lived in the United States for the past six years and still struggles with English. I wanted to share how my culture relates to tax preparation. In Latin America, taxes are very arbitrary and corrupt. There are no refunds and if you owe money, there are no payment plans. If you can't pay what you owe, the police come to your home to collect belongings that will satisfy the debt. If you dont have anything, you are then taken to jail. People in the United States have an inaccurate belief that Hispanics dont pay taxes. Taxes are taken from the Hispanic's paychecks just like everyone else. (whether they are in the country with or without legal permission) We pay property tax and sales tax also. The difference is that many of us (twenty million is the latest estimate) dont file taxes. The reason is because of fear and confusion. Tax preparers assume that the Hispanic client who is told that they owe money to the government just doesn't want to pay when he says he is not going to file afterall. This is untrue. It is because he is afraid of going to jail because he does not know that the American system is different from that of Latin America. Even if you have a Spanish speaker interpreting, if that person is U.S born, it would never occur to them to explain this kind of issue. Companies think that the magic bullet to attracting Hispanic customers is Spanish. Not true. Banks in Latin America are unstable and often collapse since the government can take the money at any time. There is no FDIC. If the bank is robbed, your money is gone. This is why smart people dont put their money in banks. When you come to America, you read signs in Spanish about low interest rates. This is not the same as if the signs explained that your money is safer in a U.S bank and the meaning of FDIC. Spanish is not the key, education is the key. People also assume that immigrants dont want to learn English. Ridiculous. Why would someone refuse to learn a language that could help them get a better job, communicate with a doctor, with their child's teacher, etc..? English is not easy to learn especially when you work more than one job and care for a family. It takes an average of ten years to learn a second language as fluently as your first. If you could learn a second language from a book, we would all be speaking German, Russian, Italian and French by the end of the year. My dream is that people could see that when we help immigrants to acculturate, we all prosper. My favorite expression that I am going to have made into a bumper sticker: Do immigrants annoy you? Tell it to the Indians.

  2. TaxMama Says:

    Once upon a time, when I had a house far, far away from my family, in Irvine, I used to make Thanksgiving dinner.

    All my brothers and their children would come, along with my mother and various cousins – about 20-30 or more, in all.

    The first year, I made a great, big Kosher turkey, and filled it with a stuffing I created myself (mixed vegetables, frozen orange juice, honey and wild rice). I made some other side dishes, and folks brought desert.

    Well, my mother was incensed. For two reasons. First of all, I introduced paper and disposable dishes to family. Unheard of!

    Second, I didn't make 3 other kinds of meats – roasts and stews – for my brothers. (My brothers don't eat poultry.)

    What a shock, though. The boys loved the turkey – and had seconds. And the paper/plastic dishes and tablecloths worked out well for everyone. (Get the sturdy plastic utensils, not the brittle crummy ones; get the solid paper or styrofoam plates, not the ones that bend if you put a lettuce leaf on them.)

    Everyone had a delightful time.

    And when they left, I just rolled up the entire tablecloth, with dishes and all – and rolled it right into the big plastic trash bag. Clean up took a half hour (cleaning the serving dishes).

    We did this every year for years. And the other part of the tradition – whenever they came, it rained. Hard.

    When they left, they'd go to Palm Springs for the weekend, where the weather would be cold and gloomy.

    And I'd head off and visit friends or drive off to Vegas, where you never have to go outside.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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