In class on Monday we discussed culture. The meaning of it and what kinds of things are included in a culture. Ashley gave us a handout to fill out on our own in order to understand/determine what culture we belong to. At first, I didn’t think I really belong to a “culture”. I thought I’m just plain ‘ol American with no special culture. I don’t have any special clothes or traditions that other people in America don’t have. I eat the same things as other Americans. I dance the same way (and with less talent) than other Americans.
But while filling out this handout I discovered that “American” is a culture all it’s own. It’s fast paced and highly informal. We respect authority figures, yet challenge them at the same time. BUT! One great thing about being American is the subcultures that we can also belong to. I discovered that I am very Southern. I respect those in authority by saying “ma’am” and “sir” to anyone with a higher rank that mine. I find time management important, but at the same time I will drop something, or be late to a meeting, if my family or friend needs me. Another subculture I belong to is the Mormon culture. I go to church and think highly of the family unit. I like casseroles and will take food to someone who is going through a trying time. One other subculture I thought I could be included in is that of a single student. I’ve made a “family” of close friends who I hang out with regularly. I’m careful with my money. I want to travel/change the world. And I wish to be a professional one day when I’m done with school.
All these cultures that I’m a part of affect who I am. And who I am affects how I see the world. I need to be able to expand my horizons and opinions if I wish to accept other cultures. Not necessarily become a part of another culture, but at least I can accept what they do and perhaps understand why they do them. This will be very important while I’m in India living with Tibetans. I will need to accept aspects of their culture in order to get to know them better. I will also need to understand their traditional diet culture so that I can research how it has changed. And even how other aspects of their culture has changed which has affected their diet.