First

Appropriately, it’s the last sentence that’s the most important:

Marsiela Gomez, a doctoral student in pharmacology at Johns Hopkins, is a part Mayan who was raised in a culture that taught the value of waiting for others to speak first. This habit has often caused problems for her in the United States: “It is very frustrating, because people think I have nothing to add. Sometimes I find that when you wait to speak the answers are upcoming. In this society, it’s so important for individuals to own a point of view that everyone feels the need to be the first to put a certain opinion forward. Oftentimes, if I wait long enough, someone will express my point of view.” She adds, “Sometimes if one waits too long, the subject changes and then my response is no longer relevant. The need to be heard first seems to be more important than the appropriate response.”  ~Excerpted from A Geography of Time by Robert Levine, ©1997

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