Privilege – Post #5

During the paperclip activity in class, I found myself going back and forth to feeling extremely grateful for all that I have and feeling almost ashamed and guilty.   On almost every sheet of paper, I was able to take a paperclip for the majority of the items of each page (aside from the gender sheet).  I realized that my race is represented in every source of media, I grew up in a home with food-filled pantries, college-educated parents, and book-lined shelves.  I grew up with parents that were happily married and they both worked and provided for the family and always being told, since I was little, how well I was going to do in college because, of course I was going to go to college.  Because of this, I think that I have grown to be especially appreciate of what I have and recently, I have been especially aware of how I am more privileged than some of my peers, friends, and even extended family members.  I try to take the privilege that I have and use it to my advantage in a sense of trying to do good.

The guest speaker on Friday, Patience, was very interesting to listen to.  Something that stuck out to me the most was the story he told of being kicked out of a bar in Provo because they “didn’t serve black people”.  I was appalled by this.  The fact that there is still such blatant racism is dumbfounding to me and I don’t understand why, in 2017 and in Provo, Utah, the color of someone’s skin matters.  Yes, it matters in a way of identity, but in the way of service and how to treat another human being, I am floored. Patience spoke of the Congo, where he is initially from, and how he has taught at many different colleges.  It was inspiring to hear him talk about all that he has experienced and seen.

Latino Festival

I had such a blast at the Latino Festival; it is one of my favorite things that Provo puts on every year.  One of my favorite things is all of the food that’s there.  I always have a hard time finding authentic, good Hispanic/Mexico food, so I love to try different things at this festival.  

I had a Passion Pupusa which is, as described on the menu, a Salvadorian staple with a hint of Peru.  

It was SO good.

Along with the food, I loved sitting back and watching how the Hispanic culture was so vastly differently than the culture of most of Provo.  I loved watching everyone dancing and how festive and fun it all seemed.

Cultural Assessment

Introduction:

This intercultural communication class has brought many things to my attention: the different levels of how we communicate within different cultures [(un)conscious (in)competence], how different cultures communicate, and how we must acknowledge the difference before we can communicate effectively.  I have had many things brought to my attention that I previously was not aware of and this class has also helped me to realize, even more, how generalizing can lead to stereotyping.  I’ve always considered myself to be cultured, but this class has brought to my attention the fact that I still have a ton to learn.

Cultural Identity:

I am a white woman.  I grew up in a high-to-middle-class, white family.  I am, as many have told me, as white as they come.  Ethnicity wise, I am primarily German, Scottish, and Irish.  With this background, I have noticed that when conversing with those of different races, I become acutely aware of my background and my race.  I grew up in a larger town with about 100,000 people; about the same size as Provo.  It was a very diverse town being that I grew up in Southern California; about an hour north of the US/Mexico border.  In high school, I had some classes in which I was the minority and was surrounded by people of all different races with different cultures than myself.  I, having grown up in the LDS church and being extremely religious, had very different morals and standards than the majority of those around me.  I was often called “the Mormon Girl” by teachers and friends all throughout high school and was singled out by that culture and the way that it shaped my behavior and personality.  I was often told by friends that they wouldn’t invite me to parties because they were aware of my standard of not drinking and therefore didn’t want to put me around so much alcohol.  I was constantly being sheltered or mocked for my culture that comes from my religious beliefs.  I grew up in a diverse town with a lot of religions so I was exposed to many different beliefs, behaviors, and the cultures that come with that.  I am grateful for this because I wasn’t sheltered and did not grow up in a way that would hinder me from being comfortable with conversing and interacting with those of a different race than myself.  I am aware that I am in the majority, being white and having grown up a middle-class family in a nice cul-de-sac, but I am always trying to be aware of others and be conscious of different cultures.  

Ideas about Cultural Groups Different from My Own:

The two identifications that I am going to focus on and address are that of gender and race.  As previously stated, I am a (very) white woman.  Being a communication major, I have had countless lectures on how men and women communicate differently.  Something that has really been drilled into my mind the fact that men communicate in a task-oriented style, while women communicate to connect and to build relationships.  Men often have a conversation to get the information that they need and then once that is achieved, the communication is stopped.  Women, myself included, want to connect and are interested in the feelings and emotions of those that they are conversing with.  I’ve had so many conversations with some of my friends that are girls that have lasted over an hour that was purely about our feelings and emotions.  I have asked my husband if he has ever had this kind of, and this duration, of a conversation with any of his guys friends and he simply stated, “no,” but then added, “but I have with you when you were upset”.  I’ve noticed that when men are talking to men, they are more (almost) emotionless and less willing to bring up their deep, negative emotions.  But when talking to a woman, especially one that they care about, they are more willing to have emotionally-based conversations and have these conversations last for a longer amount of time.  

In regards to how other cultures and races communicate, the thing that stuck out to me is the distance in which people stand when conversing.  For instance, Asians and Asian Americans will stand much closer in a normal conversion that an American would.  I have experienced this first hand and at first, I couldn’t quite figure out why I felt to uneasy and almost slightly uncomfortable.  Once I took a small step back, simply shifting my weight, I immediately felt better and more at ease.  This behavior involved with communication is definitely something to be aware of when interacting with those of a different culture as to not be so off-put or uneasy by it, but to understand it and to be able to reciprocate as to effectively communicate.  

I have learned how to better take a step back and take a quick second to evaluate who I am talking to and what their race and gender are.  One thing that stuck out to me in a lecture was how the Japanese put out a statement during WWII- the statement being, “Mokusatsu”. This was translated and taken to mean something entirely different to us, the United States, and then the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan.  This difference in meaning of a word/phrase was impactful to me as it made me realize even more that when translating, it is important to not only take the literal translation into account, but also the culture and the meaning of the word in the native language.  Differences in language and meanings assigned to language is something that is different in every culture and sub-culture. I do view other races and the opposite gender to be as intelligent as myself and my race and gender.  I do not, in any way, view and specific gender or race to be superior to another.  This kind of thinking baffles me.  There can be similar values and behaviors between any groups of people and any cultures.  There are so many stereotypes with every race that I have, unfortunately, caught myself slightly falling into them and then having to catch myself and re-train the way I think.  Every group and every culture fits into my worldview as I do love diversity and I view differently cultures and different races and a way to expand my knowledge and as something that is interesting and inherently beautiful. 

I have heard my parents say that everyone, but I have also seen them act contradictory to this way of thinking.  As previously mentioned, I grew up in a pretty diverse town and my parents, especially my mom, grew up in equally diverse towns.  Gender is something that I have noticed from my parents as being especially contradictory to what they say.  I come a family with three daughters, so one would think that my parents, especially my father, would be more supportive and encouraging of women and their abilities; but sadly, this isn’t the case.  Simple, small statements from my father have lessened mine and my sister’s abilities, or even the way they we view our abilities.

Sources of Cultural Knowledge:

I have gotten a lot of knowledge from my everyday experiences and from hearing the experiences of others.  Growing up, my teachers were my parents.  I would act the way that they acted and, more importantly, I would try to do as they say.  As aforementioned, my parents don’t always do as they say, so trying to follow their lectures and vocal instructions was much more important and helpful for me.  I would always try to never think poorly about other races but as so many people, especially those in the South, think and still, for some reason unbeknownst to me, act differently than that of what I have mentioned.  From a very young age, I remember trying to find those that were genuinely kind to everyone around them and I tried to mimic and copy them because I so badly had a desire not to offend or insult someone.  I still carry this desire with me today.  I have since read in textbooks, newspapers, and online articles of how other cultures are and I have tried to pick up on useful tidbits of information so that I can be polite and respectful of those of other cultures.  This class has been of great use to shape and mold my information of other cultures.  Yes, I have obviously been aware of the fact that every culture is different and every race has its own culture, but this class has caused me to look at races in a different light.  I always tried to “not see color”, and it wasn’t until this class that I finally realize how demeaning that can be.  “Not seeing” someone’s race takes away from their identity and who they are.  That has been one of the major things that I have picked up on from this class. 

The media and how they portray certain genders and certain races also has a huge impact on all of those that hear and see it, myself included.  It can be so hard to view a population of people in a more positive light when the media is so consistently and constantly.  The one population that sticks out to me the most that is constantly shown as being all negative is that of Muslims, and really, anyone from the Middle East.  There have been so many stories and articles and news coverings of someone that happens to have darker skin and accent, and this is enough to get them hate speech, abused, and/or kicked out of wherever they are.  It is truly heartbreaking that the bad choices of a certain race and any of those that may have similar outward features have had such a negative and lasting impact on the rest of them as a whole.  I am ashamed to say that I have caught myself beginning to fall into the trap that is thinking more negatively than positively about a certain race or culture just because the media portrays them as such.  I was once told that the first thought that pops into your head is what society tells you, but the second thought is what you actually think.  In my case, this has brought me great comfort because as long as someone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or culture, isn’t putting me, my loved ones, or the general population in harms way, then I have no problem with them.  I will not be afraid of someone with a certain color of skin because the media tells me to be, I will think for myself and I will make a choice every single day to show love and compassion to any and everyone.  The media has too much power over how so many people think and they have become the “culture teacher” to too many people.  I do understand that there are groups, such as ISIS, that the general population needs to be aware of and have an understanding of, but the media should control how they share these types of stories in an effort to protect anyone else that may have any sort of imposed affiliation- even in the terms of skin color.  

Conclusion:

One question that I have is the following: “What, if anything, can be done to get people of every race and culture to be understand and more patient when dealing with and conversing with those of a different race or culture?”.  I’m not sure if this will ever happen, but it would be wonderful if it did. My next questions may be slightly unethical, but stems from the video “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes”, it is: “Would it ever happen, and would it be useful, to somehow spend a day or two treating certain races and other races are treated as an attempt to “walk in someone else’s shoes”?”.  My third question is simple yet very difficult: “Is there a way to completely eliminate racism? If not now, will there ever be?”.

I would like to better learn what the truly best way is to understand a culture and how to better communicate within each different culture, how to better fight stereotypes in the form of communication, and if there is a single culture that has the most effective form of communication.  I hope that throughout this assessment I was able to articulate my thoughts in an organized, understandable manner.

Adonica Limon

Thus far in the semester, I have been especially drawn to not stereotyping and realizing that just because society views a group of people one way, it doesn’t mean that that’s the truth or that I should view them in the same light.  One of my favorite things that the textbook has touched on was that of the fact that generalizations about a culture can help us to have an idea as to how to act and how to behave appropriately, but it also can lead us to not truly understanding a culture, appreciating it, or completely underestimating it.  When thinking of how to behave in a culture different than my own, I think of the unconscious/conscious competence.  Using generalizations, to an extent, can help to move us into being unconsciously competent and being aware of our surroundings and how they may differ from what we are used to.

What stuck out to me in the Adonica Limon video was that of how truly blessed I have been and how blessed my life has been.  When she was talking about being in the foster system and how she would go and pick up her sister from sleeping in a dumpster, I couldn’t help but think of how lucky I am.  When she was talking about her abusive marriage and how she has taken that and used her background to help others that have struggled with the same thing, I was inspired.  I am always in awe of someone that can take such a bad situation and use it to not only make themselves stronger, but to help others accomplish the same thing.

 

 

English Only Laws & Service Learning

English Only Laws

I think that the thought of making English-only laws is a bit absurd.  People very often times associate their identity with their language.  Language, especially that other than English, can be a connecting point between two individuals and to take that away and to force people to only speak English causes for a lack of opportunity to connect with others.  This would also take away from the opportunity to learn about other people.  Personally, I think that other languages are much more beautiful and have much more depth to them than English does.  For instance, the Eskimos have, I believe, 27 different words for the word “snow”.  ASL and the Greek language have at least 3 different ways to say “love” as there are so many different ways to mean the word “love”.  Accommodating to other languages and ensuring that those that speak other languages will cause for a more diversified, understanding, and welcoming society as a whole.

Service Learning Project

I am going to be working on Ella’s project having to do with self-love with Because He First Loved Us.  I love the idea of taking portraits of the children and then allowing them to decorate a frame.  Having self confidence is so important and being able to encourage these kids to love themselves and to see themselves as worthwhile is crucial.

Chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3:

I found chapter 3 to be especially interesting due to the sections on unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious competence.  I’ve realized that at different times in my life and around different people, I have been in each of these categories.  I have family that is Samoan and since I have grown up with being around them so much, I have learned some of their cultural actions and behaviors and I no longer have to think about those things when I am around them as to behave appropriately.  I am comfortable around the culture and, within my extended family and their own, unique version of the Samoan culture, I would consider myself to be unconsciously competent.  Even within the sphere of my Samoan family, I have met some of their extended family and I have caught myself having to think about how to act or how their actions differ from that of my family.  Aside from that, I am always afraid of offending someone with a different culture from myself, so in my day-to-day interactions, I am more conscious of my actions and my words.

Chapter 4:

Coming from Southern California to Utah was a huge change in culture.  Chapter 4 talks a lot about the depth of culture and diversities in different cultures.  Back home, I was always known as the Mormon girl; I even had teachers in high school that would simply refer to me as “Mormon” or as “our Mormon girl”.  Coming to Utah, I instantly lost that title because it is so common to be of the LDS faith.  This chapter helped me to realize and opened my eyes to the fact that even within one country, there is so much diversity and so many different cultures.  Each culture has their own symbols and their own meaning assigned to different words that may have a different meaning in a different culture.

 

I found the Babakieuria video to be quite shocking.  Have the roles of the races reversed had a huge part on the size of the impact that it made.  The video seemed so ridiculous and the obliviousness of the reporter was so maddening as it was obvious how unfair the treatment was and how obviously unhappy the family was that she was staying with, yet this was the point that the producers were trying to make.  Knowing that these events actually happened really struck a cord with me as it caused me to take a step and think about what actions are happening today that I view as being acceptable that in reality, really aren’t.  The sentence, “it’s our job to decide what they want” was uttered in the video, and I think that sentence is what best describes the entire attitude of the video.  It is only the individual themselves that can decide that they want and that freedom needs to be allowed.  

 

Chapters 1 & 2 – Introducing Myself

My name is Kylie Seymour and I am a PR major.  I am a junior here at UVU and I greatly enjoy attending this university!  I am from Southern California, Murrieta to be specific, and I have lived there my entire life, up until attending college.  I come from a family of five people; my parents, two older sisters, and myself.  Two months ago I got married in the LDS San Diego temple and my husband and I are currently living in south Provo.  

 

Chapter 1: I really enjoyed chapter one.  It talked a lot about how sometimes you don’t notice diversity of your own identity.  I was pleased when it mentioned the fact that generalizations can help you to understand and make sense of a culture, but it can also lead to stereotyping.  I’ve noticed this quite a bit- even within myself.  For instance, I have some family that is Samoan and I’ll catch myself applying how they are and how they act, to other people within the same race; even though that doesn’t make sense for me to do.  This chapter had some good insight as to realizing that there is diversity in every culture, group of friends, and even within families.

 

Chapter 2: I found this chapter to be very intriguing and full of explanations for different behaviors.  When looking at IGC and ICC, I can think back and realize that I’ve either heard stories or seen behaviors that correlate with these different ways of going about culture.  IGC, quite frankly, is slightly infuriating to me because I can’t comprehend doing something that would directly go against what someone believes in a way of being spiteful.  Being respectful and going about things in the way of ICC, makes the most sense to me.  I was raised to be polite, to respect people, and to try to understand others.  I thought that everybody was raised this way and that everybody thought this way, but IGC shows, very clearly, that this is not the case.  This chapter had an emphasis on the fact that your beliefs and values shape how meaning is constructed and valued for each individual person.  Knowing your values and biases will help you to be a better intercultural communicator.