Post 9:

As someone who is an avid media user, I consider myself as someone who is increasingly influenced by the mass media and the power that it holds. Every day we are bombarded with different forms of media such as television, social media, radio/podcasts, music and magazines. Each different form of media contacts us in a different way, but initially serves the same purpose, and that is to influence or inform us. To start with, social media gives us the opportunity to stay informed with things like sales, trends, news, life updates, political opinions, disaster relief etc. Like the agenda setting theory says, these outlets of media do not tell us what to think or to believe, but rather give us an idea of WHAT to think about. That being said, our culture is not indoctrinated by the media but it is influenced. For example, when a class is asked to name the top ten cultural issues going on in our world right now, more often than not, students will choose the issues that are popular in the media right now rather than those things that are outdated, pushed aside or not as prevalent. Most recently, we are dealing with natural disasters and terrorist attacks. These acts of violence and disasters influence our culture by telling people that we need to always be on our guard. I know personally with my peers especially, there is a lot of talk about how we will combat a situation if an attack occurred. The media informs us about what could happen, which in turn, helps the other people in the world better prepare for further disaster. 

Our guest speaker today was SO AWESOME. It was so interesting to hear about his experiences in Ghana and the way they handle business there. The biggest take away from the whole presentation was that you should know the customs and language of the culture before assimilating yourself within it. He talked about how he felt advantaged with the people of Ghana when he was able to communicate with them through their language of Asante. The people respected him and his partner when they spoke the Asante language because it was only used in select parts of Ghana- that showed the locals that they were serious about this business and willing to respect their culture. In addition to the language and customs, he talked about how they had to respect their traditions. In order to get approval from the Chief, there was a ceremony that had to be held beforehand. This was different to them because in America they are used to business deals being quick and simple. They had to force themselves to be patient with the traditions and by doing that they received the Chief’s approval. 

NPR/TedTalk Assignment:

Sidney Smith

Janet Colvin

Intercultural Comm 319G

9 November 2017

 

WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS

We must change the way we use the word, “feminism.” As defined by Merriam Webster, feminism is: “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Feminism betrayed itself by claiming an identity- that being said, we must drop feminism as an identity- it is an elite lifestyle or rather, a political practice. Feminism is for ALL GENDERS. If you consider yourself to be a decent human being, you should be on board with equal rights of men and women. There are many people in the world who consider themselves to be a feminist when they know nothing about it or they don’t understand what it is. In contrast, there are people who refuse to identify themselves as a feminist because of the reputation that it holds. The conversation needs to be changed. We must teach the younger generations that we are all equal. It is unhealthy for both genders to grow up in a masculine culture. As Brigham Young once said, “you educate a man, you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” Simply put- Feminism is your belief in equality.

A Ted talk by, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie titled, WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS, she begins talking about her experience with one of her friends. During an argument, her friend called her a “feminist.” When he used this word, he did not intend for it to be a compliment but rather an insult. Today, I believe that is how a lot of people view feminism. They associate the word feminism with foolish women flocking the streets with no bras and hairy armpits. Although that is the truth for many of this population, it is not the case for everyone. She continues her talk, speaking about how it is often assumed that men take charge in all situations. Her example was in elementary school, her teacher told the kids that whoever scored the highest on the test would be the class monitor. Chimamanda scored the highest. What her teacher did not mention, is that the monitor had to be a male. This infuriated Chimamanda, because this boy who got the second highest on the test did not even have a desire to be the class monitor. Chimamanda shares, many stories such as this one that express how naturally men are the leaders and women are their subordinates. Her argument on why things are as they are is because back in the day, physical strength was seen as the most important thing and naturally men have more testosterone than women, therefore they are stronger and more valuable. Although that may have been the case back then, it is not the case now. We value the person who is creative, passionate and intelligent, rather than the person who is physically strong.

In addition to having a feministic approach in the real world, we should find ways to increase women’s political power. It wasn’t until just recently we had a female candidate in the presidential election. During the time of elections, I was hearing very negative comments about what our world would turn into if Hilary Clinton won. I am not saying that Hilary did not have her flaws just like any other candidate, but the fact that people were saying how our nation cannot be ran by a female was troublesome to me. An article called, Social Incentives for Gender differences in the Propensity to Initiate Negotiations: Sometimes it does Hurt to Ask, gives great insight to the social, cultural, psychological and motivational barriers to expanding women as political leaders. Hannah Bowels, touches on the topic of women not having enough money to run a presidential campaign, which is an underlying negative factor when a woman runs for office. The article goes on to say:

When money dominates politics, women lose out. With women having persistently lower incomes for many reasons (gender gap in pay, occupational segregation, disproportionate unpaid family care, frequent unwillingness to face the social consequence of pushing for higher salaries or promotions) and with social consequences of heavily along gendered lines, women are far less likely than men to be in the social and business networks that pour money into political campaigns (Bowels et. Al, 2007, p. 84-103).

 In the US, running for office is not considered a real job. Therefore, candidates are not being paid for their time and in turn they are losing money while also losing valuable time with family. They are spending majority of their time traveling or attending events that require them to make late night commitments without getting any sort of benefits such as health care insurance or day care. The system has become tailored to the wealthy man with little to no family which excludes any opportunity for a feminine institution. Our system needs to be more accustomed to a woman’s lifestyle in terms of family time, personal leisure time and physical/mental health balance. There are many things that our political system needs to adjust. We must encourage gender conscious practices to please all genders and allow equality within the political structure.

            As previously stated, the word feminism has become wildly misunderstood in our world. People associate the word with harsh man-hating, lesbian women, which makes it very difficult for any other man or woman who does not label themselves as such to associate themselves with the political practice of feminism.  An article titled, Dude Looks Like a Feminist!: Moral Concerns and Feminism among Men, Renee F. Precopio and Laura R. Ramsey discuss their concern on the feminist issue: “Men must overcome additional hurdles beyond negative stereo- types, in order to self-label and act in support of feminism, due to the fact that feminism tends to be perceived as focusing only on women” (Precopio et. Al, 2017, p. 78-86). This results in men being fearful of associating themselves with the elite lifestyle of a feminist. I cannot speak for a male within society because I do not identify as one, but in order to get these men to conform or accept this movement, they must lower themselves to view the world from a woman’s perspective. It is not always easy for a man to understand what challenges a woman might face, but if they offer themselves the chance to let down their privilege and empathize with these women, they may be able to help make a change within society.

            Now, more than ever, feminism has become increasingly prevalent. By diminishing these stereotypes of wild and barbaric woman being the only ones involved in the movement of feminism, we can invite other powerful individuals to further endorse the idea of feminism.  As members of society, we have the power to vote for and against certain gender gap rulings. It all comes down to the thoughts and actions of the people. If a person is willing to understand and listen to those in society who have less, we can create a more equal and unified world where men as well as women have equal opportunity within humanity.

Bibliography

Bowles, H. R., Babcock, L., & Lai, L. (2007). Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103(1), 84-103. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2006.09.001

Precopio, R. F., & Ramsey, L. R. (2017). Dude looks like a feminist!: Moral concerns and feminism among men. Psychology Of Men & Masculinity18(1), 78-86. doi:10.1037/men0000042

 

           

Post 8:

This week I was able to talk to one of my best friends, Rebecca about her interracial relationship. She is in a relationship with a Chinese male named Hero and she herself is a white female. With both of them growing up in the US, there are not many cultural differences but she did give me a few. The main one that she mentioned is religion. She grew up in a very LDS home and her boyfriend did not. His family is not religious whatsoever. Majority of his extended family considers themselves atheist if anything. Another difference is the language. Majority of his family speaks mandarin and her family speaks English. She says she often feels out of the loop because she cannot understand anything that his family is saying. In addition to religion and language, there are also food differences. Hero’s family eats a lot of stir fry and rice! This never bothers Rebecca though because she really enjoys Chinese dishes! Although these cultural differences are minor compared to what she could be dealing with, Rebecca says that it often times creates conflict because their views on certain things such as religion can get in the way. I relate that to what we have been discussing in class because sometimes we don’t always understand the other person’s point of view or their different beliefs because we do not have the same cultural background as them. It is our duty to perform empathy and compassion to those of different cultures and backgrounds. 

I was so excited for the LGBTQ panel to come and talk to us on Friday! I have been lucky enough to hear from them in a previous class last semester, so I knew what to expect. Karen is an awesome leader and is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to gender issues which really helped us with any questions we had. Every time I hear from these individuals I gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the daily trials that they face. I think it is extremely important for us to interact with co-cultures such as the LGBTQ community because it gives us a broader understanding of how these groups view the world and go about their everyday life. The older generations (such as our parents/grandparents) I feel have a very closed mindset when it comes to LGBTQ individuals. I know from my experience talking to my mom, she is always making up excuses as to why these people act out the way they do. She never takes the time to see the world from their point of view, which in return makes her very arrogant. It drives me crazy! These experiences that we have in college to interact with these students can help us gain a greater respect for these people and empathize with them over their situation. We may not ever come across a situation in the real world to speak with these people and get to know them so it is to our advantage to get to know these students in an educational setting. I really appreciate those who were able to come and talk to us on Friday. I know it can be very difficult to out yourself, especially infant of your peers.

Post 7:

Since we have been talking about privilege I have become much more aware of everything I have, everything I do, everywhere I go etc.  I have started to view the world differently. For example, as I was putting together goody bags filled with toothpaste, floss and toothbrushes for my service project,  I started thinking, how sad it was that these kids that I will be serving do not have access to regular hygiene products that I have always had with no questions asked. I have been handed these products for free from my dentists and my parents. It is something I have never been aware of. Putting those bags together really made me think how lucky I am to live the life I do. 

The activity really put into perspective what empathy really means. The people who started to get richer and richer were able to make decisions and take over the dominant role of society. It made me think about power and how people who have more power than others can either choose to help themselves or help those below them. Often times, they will make decisions based on their needs, which is unfortunate. When two different groups are different in terms of power it is difficult to empathize with each other. You don’t see the world like they do so it makes it that much harder to understand the meaning behind the actions. 

Post #6:

This week was mainly focused on Privilege and racism.

In the first group presentation, they talked about privilege. We played a game where we had Janet read off different things and if they applied to us, then we would take a step forward and if they didn’t, we would take a step back. It was to show us how much privilege we had or how much we did not have. That was a good activity because it gave us all a good visual of where we stood privilege wise. By the end of the game, the whole class was spread out. It put into perspective how much privilege I have compared to others. I was shocked with how many steps I was able to take and most of the things I took steps for were things that I never think about. 

The second group focused more on racism and how we combat it. They put us in groups and had us think of ways we could put a stop to racism. Some of our ideas were, bluntly calling people out, question a person on why they think that way and just love a person for who they are. I thought this discussion was important because a lot of us do not know how to talk about racism or do not know how to solve the problem. 

My main take-away from this week’s reading was simply just being aware of how much privilege I have as a middle-upper class white female. I have a lot of things that I don’t ever have to worry about that other people are constantly worrying about. As someone who is so privileged I think it is important to give back as much as I can. Giving to those who do not have as much as me is something that is very important to me. 

 

Post 5:

Privilege: 

For the majority of my life I have never realized how privileged I am. I have grown up in Highland, Utah- which is a very nice area where you don’t hear much about people who are struggling. As I have grown up I have gained a better understanding of what privilege is and what it means to me. Recently, my best friend moved to the Middle East. She is currently living in Amman, Jordan with her husband and her baby. It wasn’t until she moved there that I was able to understand a little better how good I have it here in the United States. In Jordan they do not have dryers, which I found interesting. They have just about every other appliance, except that. Not having access to a dryer has never been a problem to me growing up. I have never had to air dry anything if I did not want to. That is something that I have taken advantage of my whole life and something that I have privilege to. Another difference is that she is not allowed to speak to men. In their country they see that as having attraction to that person. She has had a very hard time adjusting to that because it is so different here. I have been privileged to be able to communicate with anyone I want to and not fear that I will offend them in any sort of way. Most of these things I do not think about on a daily basis, but I think that is the whole point of having privilege, not being aware of all the things you have access to all the time. 

Guest Speaker:

I was very impressed with the lecture Patience gave us today. The main thing that he talked about was Apartheid in South Africa. He taught us a lot of history from Johannesburg and the racism that occurs there. My biggest take-away from his lesson was what he said about racism. He made numerous statements saying that, “things don’t go away overnight”- no matter if wars on racism end or statements stop being said, you will always mentally be aware of racism. He related that to the Apartheid and how even though it “ended” in 1994, the mentality of everything is still the same. 

Cultural Self-Assessment:

            Culture identity is not something you are born with; it is something that you are born into. Culture is developed over time per your proximity, race, gender, behaviors, religions, beliefs etc. As I have further thought through my own personal culture identity, I have come up with a few experiences that have shaped me to be the kind of person I am today. These experiences have been the make-up of my identity and they are essentially what makes me feel a sense of belonging in my own culture. I have spent majority of my life here in Utah County, but I also spent about four years living in San Diego, California. These two places are very different when it comes to intercultural communication and what is perceived as appropriate and not appropriate. I will strive to go into further detail of my own personal experiences concerning my culture identity and how it has come to be.

            As far as race and gender go, I identify as a white Caucasian female. I have grown up with two older sisters and two loving parents. I was and have never been confused with my gender and race, and with that comes confidence in myself. I have always been sure of who I am and what I identify as. I grew up in Highland, Utah for majority of my life. Every time I tell that to someone, they always say something along the lines of, “Oh so you’re rich.” I always roll my eyes when they make comments like that because they are just making assumptions about my whole life based on where I am from. Although, it is true that a lot of people who live in the Highland/Alpine area are well off I have never thought of my family as extremely rich. However, I have always been aware that my family and I have always been very well off. We are just like any other middle class family. Just because we live in a nice area and our house is big does not mean we are rich, it just means we are very smart with the money we do make.

            Back when we lived in California we lived in a cute little town called, Ramona. Our family was best friends with our neighbors even though they were different than us in regards of race, language, ethnicity and religion. At the time, my mom belonged to, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Unlike a lot of Mormon families, my dad has not been a member for majority of my life. However, he always supported my mom and us girls. He would come to church with us and sit through all the meetings. Most people didn’t even know that he wasn’t a member! I remember missionaries coming over to my house and teaching us lesson after lesson. Those missionaries became some of my dad’s best friends and eventually they could baptize him. After that my family became a lot more active and we could call ourselves a Mormon family. It was only a couple years ago that we were sealed together for time and all eternity in the LDS temple. Even though my beliefs have changed since then, there are still some things that I hold onto with the LDS church. It has been a big part of my upbringing and my culture identity.

            I have often been faced with situations that have challenged me to think in new ways such as dealing with someone who has a different racial background than myself. For example, when I was in Kindergarten, I had a friend who was Hispanic. Her name was Flor and she was my best friend! I used to play with her almost every single day after school. Flor invited me to her birthday party one Saturday afternoon. I remember going to the store with my mom and picking out a birthday present for her. After picking out a small pink purse filled with lip-gloss and candy, I was on my way to the party! When we arrived at the party, it was not what I had expected. The party was in a small trailer in a ghetto part of town. Being young, I did not understand that this was Flor’s house. I was very confused because I thought everyone lived in a nice house like my own. When she opened my present I remember the look on her face. It was the happiest I had ever seen Flor! She jumped up from her chair and gave me a huge hug! She told me it was the nicest thing anyone has ever given her. At the time, I was too young to understand what this all meant but looking back on it now, I realized why she always wanted to play at my house or why she never had any new school clothes.

            Even though Flor was Hispanic, she was also from a completely different socioeconomic class than I. I do not identify as a Hispanic, nor do I identify as someone who was brought up by the working class. Her family was very different than mine in terms of communication. Her parents were very shy and kept to themselves. They were very nice but they did not show much confidence in themselves when they were around my parents. I don’t know if it was because they felt intimidated or if that was just their personalities. In terms of intelligence, I do not remember noticing any difference. That was probably because I was young, but after talking to my mom about it today she said they were very intelligent people they just didn’t have the correct resources to get them a degree or further education.

            Another experience I have had with race, when I was in elementary school I was trying to explain one of my friends at school to my mom. I told her all kinds of things like, she’s funny, pretty, fun to play with, good at math, her family is nice etc. I told my mom all these things and my mom could still not figure out which friend in the class she was. One day I took my mom to class and I pointed out my friend, Emily! My mom finally realized who the girl was and later thought to herself why I had never mentioned that Emily was the only black girl in the class. My mom is the least racist person, but she thought that it may have been helpful if I would have told her about Emily’s race. Reflecting back on this story today I found it interesting that I saw these great things about Emily and race was not something that set us apart. I did not even see race! That experience with Emily has helped me be a better person in society. We are not divided by race. We are a group of people with similar values, beliefs and skills that can come together and respect each other for who they are rather than their race or socioeconomic class.

            Recently in our world we are bombarded with terrorism, racism and discrimination.  I have always had a strong belief in love. I believe that without love, we are hopeless. Most of these acts of terrorism and discrimination occur because at some point in these terrorist’s lives, they were looked down on in some sort of way and that is the solid drive that makes them do the things that they do. If we all had a little more compassion and love I believe that we could change the world. In the media, all I see is negative things about anyone who is not white or of a middle or upper socioeconomic class. It’s always about who killed who, who stole what and who is showing the most skin in public.  Hardly any of it is inspiring or uplifting. In my personal experience, the media has not been something I have turned to for information on inspiring stories on things going on in the world.

I have learned not to discriminate against people through family time, friends, romantic relationships, school and volunteer opportunities. One individual who has helped me see people different from me in another light is my fiancé, Justin. We have been dating for three years and through these years he has taught me more about culture than I ever thought possible. He is from Portland, so his family is very-unique. When I first met, them I had problems because I thought they were, “weird.” There are members that are Hispanic and members that are from various social classes. After a good year of visiting these people I finally came to realize that they are just like me. They may have different beliefs and different values but instead of seeing those things as flaws I started to see them as, “differences.” It is okay to be of a different race and it is okay to come from a different class.

            When It all comes down to it, culture is a very valuable thing to a person. Without culture identity, there is no knowledge of who you are. I have had multiple experiences in my life that have helped me put into perspective of what my culture means to me and what other people may think of my culture. As I was typing my story about Flor, I had my first question come to mind, how likely is it for people like Flor who grow up in the working class to rise-up to the upper class later in life? I find it interesting because you hear of stories all the time about how people break free from their born into socioeconomic class, but how likely is that, really? In my second story about, Emily I was raised with the question of, what is the age limit or what is the time of life when a child is aware of race and the differences thereof? I wonder if it is different for every child or if they are all similar in the process.

            I think the conversation of culture can be somewhat of taboo because everyone has their own. Everyone identifies differently so it is hard to find a common ground. We all have our own ideas and experiences that come a long with it. As we meet people who are different than us it challenges us to gain a better knowledge of someone else’s culture. Learning more about others can help us communicate better with those who are different than us, which in the long run is very beneficial because it guides us to a more successful future. My final question, how can we as a society better empathize with people whom are different than us? In what ways, can we put ourselves in others shoes and understand them better without making ourselves feel uncomfortable? I think it is extremely important to indulge ourselves in other cultures and better understand the intercultural communication that stands between us.

           

 

 

Post #4:

I thought Adonica had a very unique and inspiring story. I personally wish I could meet her and ask her more questions about her life. I think it is important to hear people’s stories from different cultures because it really makes you more thankful for what you have.

By the end of the video I had a lot of respect for Adonica. She went through foster care, domestic violence, divorce, culture shock, ignorance and I’m sure many other trials. Her story goes to show that no matter where you come from you can still come out on top. I felt sympathy for her when she was saying how she thought 40 credits was full time school and how she was feeling overwhelmed with how much work she had. She also said that it was hard on her because she was watching all these other students do “40 credits,” and she felt like she wasn’t good enough. I think often in our culture we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and trying to keep up with what everyone else is doing instead of taking things at our own pace. 

This semester I have been challenged to think of things in a new way. I have always been aware of the issues of racism, gender inequality, equality in general, culture expectations etc. But since this class I have actually been challenged to think WHY these things have come to be. For example, WHY is there inequality and where has it stemmed from. I have been able to have better conversations with friends and family about my new opinions and observations.  I have even tried to be more mindful of the world around me, like changing my mindset when I see someone doing something that might not be culturally expectable in my own mind. I have broadened my view on the world and what I used to view as “not right,” and change that to what is different but still acceptable. 

Post 3:

I do not think that we should make, “English only” laws. That is like directly saying, “sorry if you don’t speak English, you cannot be here.” It is discrimination. Even though language barriers can be somewhat troublesome in some situations I think it is valuable to practice and experience communicating with others who come from other places and who speak different languages. I think learning different languages can help you better understand different cultures. In addition to that, learning another language will improve your critical thinking skills. Science has proven that people who speak more than one language are better thinkers because they have the opportunity to think and compare certain words in both of their languages. If we make English only laws, it will take away our chances to expand our knowledge. However, I think learning the English language will benefit you immensely considering it is one of the most common languages spoken. 

For my service learning project, I will be teaming up with Ella and a few others to do a project with, “Because he First Loved Us.” We will be taking pictures of the children, getting them developed and decorating picture frames. I think this will be beneficial because it will help the kids realize that it is okay to admire yourself and love yourself. The project will be very positive and good for their self-esteem. 

Post #2:

Chapter 3: The main takeaway from this chapter was the section on the four types of intercultural competence, created by, Howell in 1982. To begin with, unconscious competence- which is, the lowest level of competence. In this level, people are unaware that their behavior is inappropriate. The next level is conscious incompetence- meaning that someone is aware that they are incompetent in the situation but do not know how to fix it. The third level is conscious competence- when someone appears to be competent but has to think through everything they are doing in order to look/act appropriately. Lastly, unconscious competence- is when a person feels confident in their actions and feels natural in their environment. This last stage is argued against the third stage because some people believe that it is valuable to think through your actions rather than just communicating effortlessly. 

Chapter 4: Cognitive concept and what it means to, “being-in-the-world” is how you feel about certain things such as senses, power, emotions, beliefs and thoughts about other people. The whole idea behind it is that culture is understood as a mental or cognitive concept. As individuals, we are put into certain levels of power according to our employer, social status, finances etc. When someone of a higher or lower power comes into contact with us, we become very aware of where we think we belong compared to them. For example, in school, we see the teacher as someone with higher power and ourselves with less power- which is the reason why the teacher stands and the students sit.

Babakieuria: In this film, the roles of Aboriginal Australians were swapped with White Australians. It gives a great insight to what injustices the black Australians had to deal with. I found it interesting how attitudes of the blacks vs the whites were. It was extremely eye opening to me because I got to see the truth behind all the racism. I think what was most interesting to me was how passive the white family was about everything. They always responded every question with, “its good” or “were happy,” when you could clearly tell that they were the opposite-especially when their daughter was taken away.