Halloween Party with, Because he first loved us!
Polynesian Festival, Bell Hooks, intercultural festival, festival food, indian food
Hygiene day with Central Compassion Center!
Before taking this class, I did not have a clear understanding of what it meant to communicate with other cultures besides my own. In addition to that, I have become more aware of my own culture and the elements that it involves: language, social norms, values and beliefs. These elements help us understand who we are and how we share our, “way of life.” Intercultural communication is a very important skill to have, no matter what profession you want to go into. We are surrounded by people from diverse cultures every day and by learning how to communicate with these cultures, we can better understand them and where they are from. Instead of making assumptions about these people, you should take the time to really get to know them and eliminate any stereotype you may have acquired in the past. I have previously talked about my best friend who is currently living in the Middle East. As she tells me of the struggles she is having there I have become more sure that I will study the culture before I emerge myself in it. She tells me stories about not being fully prepared to live there for such a long period of time. I hope the next time I travel to a new location I will have studied their customs, beliefs and traditions beforehand to be sure that I feel comfortable and that I will not offend anyone there.
Studying intercultural communication has challenged me to think in new ways and it has also improved my critical thinking skills. Every time I see someone doing something that I would not do, instead of judging them right away I tell myself that what they are doing is okay, because that’s how THEY grew up. Everyone has their own background and they have reasons why they do the things they do. It is not because they are weird. I have always been aware of who and what surrounds me but I have never taken the time to actually understand and empathize with those who are different than me. All the activities in class have given me a broader understanding of culture and how robust it can be. I think a simple class on culture is essential to everyone. It is important to accept everyone as they are and embrace the differences between each and every individual. The only way we can have harmony is through love, communication and understanding between everyone.
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.
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.
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 & Masculinity, 18(1), 78-86. doi:10.1037/men0000042
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.