6. Social Taboos

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Society in the United States is a complex matter. It is unique even among English-speaking countries. What is acceptable behavior or language in Australia, for example, may not be in the USA. Taboos are defined as socially unacceptable language, or behavior. There are simply some words and actions that society members cannot do in public. It is important to learn some of the taboos that exist in this country, especially for those who are new here. It will make the transition from your country of origin to the United States a little bit easier. The following are a few examples of American taboos.

One of the most common taboos in the U.S. is the use of profanity. Profanity, sometimes called cuss words, or swear words, is not considered proper conversation in some parts of the country. In large cities such as Los Angeles or New York, profanity is more common, but in much of the rural part of the country, it is considered vulgar and the person using profanity is considered of low quality. Another American taboo is speaking of the Christian God in a casual fashion. Religious beliefs run strong in the South and Midwest regions. Using the name of Jesus Christ or God will definitely be looked down upon in these areas.

Other taboo subjects in the U.S. are sex, death, personal finances, and excretory functions. Excretory functions are body functions that involve waste materials. It is improper to speak of your personal bathroom visits, especially to the opposite sex. Personal finances are just that personal, and should never be discussed in social settings. It is no one's business how much money you make, or inquiring about how much money someone else makes. The same is true about sexual content. Lastly, it is considered in poor taste to speak badly about a deceased person.

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