Cultural Identity

Cultural identity is what I see myself as, positively or negatively. The way I see things and my judgement is varied by my own personal identity. This is the combination, result of many factors. Like physical appearances and environment, cultural background, gender, etc. My personal identity should be changing everyday, every moment by the building up of my intelligence and experiences. In the earlier stage, my personal identity is solely from my parents. This includes: heredity, culture background and the environment. As I have grown older, fewer influences have come from my parents but more from my friends, peers and teachers.

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Due to the fact most people want a place to belong to (not necessary be a location), and want to have friends, we’ll sometimes alter our decision and benefits to just fit into a group. When getting into the middle age, the biggest influences will probably come from your work, religion and friends still. Although religion is a big factor throughout your life I believe. As you can see friends plays a very big part in everyone’s life. Personal identity plays a major part in my quest for self-knowledge, but its up to me to choose my own identity.

God created all men equally, but it is up to us to determine whom we ultimately want to be. For hundreds of years, people have been immigrating to the United States in search of freedom, better living and the fulfillment of the American dream. Being an American means to uphold values of independence, responsibility and freedom. America is a huge melting pot of all different cultures, races, ethnicities, etc. Having an American culture is one of the most unique experiences you can ever have. You can literally travel thirty miles and be in a totally different culture area. America represents the “New World. Where immigrants can do things they had thought beyond their capabilities. That reason is why we find there is this great mix of backgrounds, and why America has been called the Melting Pot of cultures. A large part of American history involves the struggle of ethnic groups against the mainstream population in order to obtain respect and independence. In these days, with the varying backgrounds of American residents, this status can no longer be defined with skin color. Although I have to admit that being white on the mainland of America had more benefits than being white when I lived in Hawaii.

I got to feel a little bit of how the African American population was looked at sixty years ago. I was looked at the way African Americans were. Being male for me is just that being male. By being male I have the benefits of males and the disadvantages of being male. I however am very glad to be male. As a male I see the world in a more completive way. The generation I was born into has a lot to do with my culture background. Being born in 1988 influences you differently than being in born in the 70’s or 60’s. I was born in California, moved to Georgia then Hawaii and now Washington.

Just those four states alone have completely different culture and regional backgrounds much less the cities within them. My dad left me before I was born and my mom choose her boyfriends over me it seemed like. All it ever felt like there was, was me. This also goes into my history of who has made up my family. I don’t know of my history of my family besides what ethnicities I am. How can I know the history when I don’t even know most of the present. This affects you world view and how you communicate with people. Your manners and respect towards adult and family may be different from someone from china.

Religion was never an important aspect in my life until I found a certain little all African American church. The way the celebrated was communication in itself. I have tried to carry religion into my cultural aspect of life but it is not high on my list. Community and friends however has always been important. I am always talking and getting to know people and learn new things culturally. A person can have pride in his own culture and still respect and adept parts of another. This is the essential principle behind America: holding on to one’s own beliefs while learning and accepting others.

A simple example of influence of the Melting Pot in this country are the Mexican and Chinese restaurants, which are found all over the nation. Many of the foreigners that have come to the United States have managed to keep their culture and even contribute to a common American one. One single group cannot define this nation; it is all the ethnic groups and their cultures combined that make this country so unique. How you perceive the world is very dependent on your cultural from your views on how life should be lived all the way to good and evil.

A lot to do with how you grow up starts your views and perceptions then over time you kind of get and mold your own perception based on experiences and beliefs. It all starts with your childhood though. It is like your foundation of who you are. This all has to do with worldview. Worldview is often done on the unconscious level. The importance of worldview is so you can perceive reality. There are three major types of world views. Scientific which is based on rules of exact science, metaphysical worldview which is abstract reasoning and religion worldview.

People carry their culture wherever they, and that culture influences how the respond to the people they meet. In American culture individualism is the single most important cultural pattern. We pride ourselves on being unlike anyone else and yet want the same rights. So do we want the be individuals or equal? We want to be the best at everything we do. We want the nicest cars and best paying jobs. Change is usually seen as good for Americans. Progress and change is highly valued. Americans went to the moon, and are always continuing to grow in science and technology.

We seem to always think that if we do not have technology then we cannot continue to grow. We are always competitive and have learned to be this way from child birth. Death and life are very sensitive American culture. Life is something that is very valued when it comes to death but we seem to go around not caring about Verbal communication is something that is obviously done every day all day. Conversation is the most fundamental form of your expression. How long you take to think, and the way you converse all go into the culture norms.

In normal American verbal communication you should state your points clearly, explain and jargon, be careful in your use of ideas and ask question if necessary. Language is the way we reach out and converse with everyone so it is important to have certain culture norms in order for everyone to communicate. Language serves as a guide to reality. Humans tend to be both visual and verbal thinkers. We tend to say things without thinking. We use language to also try to communicate with supernatural beings trying to control supernatural forces.

It is impossible to separate language from culture. The way words are said and the pronunciation mean different things in different cultures. Low context and high context cultures very different. Americans are considered low context cultures. This means we are more interpersonal. There is a lack of common experiences. In low context verbal messages contain most of the information. In high context cultures people seem to have similar experiences and information networks. Nonverbal communication is an important component of our daily life.

Whenever people meet we will find conversation on a nonverbal level, even if it seems to be no communication at all. The diversity of nonverbal communication is huge an each individual has its own way of sending and receiving nonverbal messages. To understand the complex nonverbal behavior of people with different education, cultures or social environment this paper will provide a basic knowledge of the different elements of nonverbal communication before considering the cross-cultural aspect of the topic. Body expressions, eye contact, gestures, and facial expressions are the key points in non verbal communication.

There are certain norms such as not staring at someone to long or you might be thought of as rude or arrogant. This can be a big problem when talking to someone from a different culture. It is always good to sit up straight and have good posture. Some people think you are more educated and proper if you sit up straight. Facial expressions are always a big key because it can portray your mood and how you are feeling. You can say one thing with two different facial expressions and get two different responses based on those expressions.

We live in a world were appearance seems to be everything and first impressions can mean everything also. It is normal to wear clothes but not all of America has the same weather so someone’s appearance one place might be nice but then it might not be for another place. It is all about finding the culture norms of the place you are living at or going to. As Americans we are not a very touchy society when it comes to people we do not know. We like our own space and if someone if violating it we let them know. You have probable heard before “your in my bubble. Giving people space is something that is considered normal in America. How I have lived my life such as sports, community, jobs, religion has shaped all of my communication. Because I have played sports I am more of a confident person and the jobs I have had help me hold myself in a more professional manner. How you see yourself gets portrayed onto the other person also. If you hold your head high and think you can do anything you give of a vibe to other people. This has all shaped me into who I am and how I communicate with people of my culture and of different cultures.

If you do not know someone’s culture you cannot expect to fully be able to communicate with them. Communication is the key to our future and the key in any culture. All of these things make up the cultures that I am a part of; white, middle-class, somewhat Christian, student, youth, and relationship culture. They have all had profound impacts on me in many ways and I am continuing to grow and expand myself in many ways in and through them. Have learned from my life experiences, attributes, and abilities shape and influence my own personal identity.


I'm Kira

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