October 8, 2017
Cultural Self-Assessment Paper
This class has helped me become very aware of how I look and perceive things. It makes me more aware of the things that I do and I know now that just because someone may do something different than I do, it is not because it is wrong, but because we have been brought up differently, in a different culture. I like to try to understand a person for who they are as a person and not judge them on previous things I have heard about someone of their same race.
I am Caucasian and have been brought up in an all white family. The language I speak has never been a problem because everyone around me has always spoken the same language I speak, that being English so I have always felt comfortable in that aspect. I am a female. Both genders get judged and told things they can and cannot do because of their genders. I feel like because I played sports, it has helped me become very strong and independent to do things that men can too.
The socioeconomic class I have is probably different than most in the Utah area. I was very religious and active at a young age in the Mormon Church. At about age 14, I started to stray away from the church, not because I do not believe it, but because of the people that I was surrounded with. I felt like the older I got, the more judged I got in my ways of life. There were some things that some of the leaders had told me that strayed me away. I chose to not attend church anymore because I still believe that if I am living a happy life full of good choices, the god I believe in will still love me and accept me with open arms because I am still being a good person. With Utah being such a heavy proportion of Mormon’s this transition was kind of hard on me as a child at such a young age, but because of trials I went through in my childhood, I was able to grow up and mature a lot faster than most kids my age and I felt like that gave me an advantage.
From the day I was born to age 12, I had lived in a very small town, Payson, Utah. It ultimately seemed everyone was the same, the same beliefs, spoke the same language and you rarely saw anyone that was different than you. When I was 14 to age 18 I lived in Spanish Fork, which was about the same as Payson. It was a little bit bigger but people still did not ever seem different. At the age of 18, I moved out on my own to Salt Lake City. I was about eight minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, in a town called West Valley City. I lived in West Valley for two years. It was very different and very scary at times. There were many more robberies, murders and cops around. I had to get brave fast. A very cool thing was I did get to see people of different race, ethnicities, and beliefs than most the people I have been surrounded with. I got to meet a lot of different types of people and learn a lot of new things and meet new people. At first, it was very scary because I was in some cases the only little white girl around, but once I got to know my neighbors who majority of them were black it made my situation a lot more fun. You just have to give them a chance and make them feel comfortable around you.
I am a white middle class woman. I am going to choose gender and socioeconomic class. First, I want to address gender. I have a very common example I want to share. You never actually know the effect of something until you have actually been apart of it. Since I have begun playing sports, it has been what ultimately given me a stamp and changed the look I have on gender and race. Gender is the first point I want to address. When you are a female and play sports, you basically play in front of your families. But, if you are a boy that plays sports, you walk into a gym full of fans, families, and people that are just interested to come watch. When you are a girl, girls’ sports are often made fun of and not watched. You can be in a gym playing basketball and hear every word that is said on the court because it is quiet. To compare that, if you walk into a gym when a men’s basketball game is being played, it is so loud that teammates essentially have to scream into each other’s ear just to have a basic conversation about the game. This just shows how women’s sports are judged and it is a trend that they are not watched because of the gender. Some people do not even give watching a game a chance before they say they are not interested.
Race also has a big impact on sports. I have to separate examples on how race is big in sports. When I was a junior in high school, we were scheduled to play a team from out of state; they were a team of 9 black girls. People picked against us and said how we would lose just because they were black. We were motivated because a team full of 9 white girls can compete just as good. At half time, we were up by two points. Everyone immediately was surprised and had thoughts like, what is wrong with that team of all black girls? We ended up losing by four points, but we shocked people and proved that we can be just as good as they can and race does not matter. Another example was when I was in high school; I got matched up to race an African American girl. We both had yet to lose but I was not favored because of my race. I ended up winning, not by much, but I won and shocked people because black people are supposed to be fast. This can make both people feel bad. It can make a black person that is not as fast as the stereotypes feel bad because they are not living up to the expectations.
Next I would like to move onto socioeconomics. It is very uncomfortable being around someone who is in the upper class. You feel very belittled because they might have more education than you, more money or even a better family life. Many people of the upper class are viewed as more intelligent as me. It is not because they are, they might be, but it is more about how they act and present themselves. You can tell when someone is upper class. We do have similar values but I learned that they are just interpreted or limited in a way. If you do not have as much money, you might not be able to receive an education from the best school, but you still get a degree from a school. I think most people have similar values and goals, but everyone is different so not one value is the same. The way they behave, you can most often times tell when they are upper class. They are more proper and dress up to a higher class. Many times when I think of this, high maintenance comes to my mind. With my family being the lower class, we often stayed away from these types of people because we did not fit in. My mom would rarely say that everyone was equal because we are not. People have different advantages, disabilities, and money. She did emphasize always treating everyone equal though. Although people are different, you should always treat everyone with the same respect and equality.
I retained a lot of my knowledge from being around the Mormon Church, sports and this class. Janet Colvin has been my teacher for my intercultural class and I have learned so much about different cultures. There has been a couple different stories that she has told that have stood out to me. One story was about her family that had went to Thailand on vacation. They knew someone that had lived in Thailand so they asked if they could stay with them. The people seemed kind of weird about it because they insisted they would have to sleep on the floor and they would not let them do that. The family insisted they slept on the floor and how they did not mind. When they got there, the family told them goodnight and headed up stairs not leaving them with anything but the cold tile to sleep on. This was because in their culture, when you would sleep on the floor, it would mean you were less than them and did not deserve to sleep in a bed. I thought it was really interesting just because how easily something can get mistaken or how different things are in each culture.
Another thing that we have touched on is different languages and symbols in different cultures. For example, someone could use a slang term or another word that is used a lot in one culture and it could be taken as very offensive and mean something completely different to another culture.
I had a teacher in high school that impacted the ways I think as well and it was my Spanish teacher, Ryan Kunzler. We talked a lot about the Spanish culture. The best part was the day we learned about different foods. I always thought that the Mexican restraunts that we around town were the same as what they ate. They have their similarities but they are not the same. One day he brought in a home cooked meal by a Mexican family that had just moved into his ward from Mexico and it was the best Mexican food I have ever tasted. Some of it was very spicy, but they do not notice as much when things are hot because they are used to it.
Media has a very significant impact in every aspect in today’s world. It impacts on a couple key ways that stand out to me in sports, religion, and culture. Twitter and Facebook are the two main ways that I see the news and things that are shared. You see stories shared about religion controversies and racism everyday. The one that sticks out to me most that I see is when shootings happen. It always seems like they get made into a racial issue. For example, the shooting that occurred in Las Vegas was the biggest mass attack in U.S. History. I have heard many stories blame that they have not called it a terrorist attack just because he was white. Which I think it would be the same situation regardless if the suspect had been white or black. He was essentially the only shooter involved so that is why they did not call it a terrorist attack. The media essentially has an impact on every thought that you have because it is a place where you can access anything.
I would like to further my knowledge with gaining more knowledge. Some questions I have about the different cultures would help me get that knowledge. One question I have is, “How do cultures gain that stereotype?” Sometimes stereotypes can be true and sometimes they are false, but what did that culture do and people that came before you in order to gain that stamp? Another question I have is, “is a certain language required in order to be in a certain group or culture?” The last question that I have is, “How do they discipline their children?” Many different people staple things as right or wrong and not one thing is right, but everyone can discipline differently. You need a good route to discipline so kids do not go down the right path.
I am very grateful for what I have learned about the different cultures. I am very intrigued to learn more about language. Communication is everything and I want to know more about why people say things that they do and different slangs. I also would like to learn more about lifestyles and how they are raised, this consists more of what different cultures do and how they work. I think it is interesting how some cultures the men work more and in some the women work more. I want to know why that is. I am very excited to learn what is to come about different cultures.