TED Talk

 

            In Michael Gavin’s TED Talk “Why Cultural Diversity Matters,” Gavin discusses the importance of cultural diversity among society and particularly with indigenous people. Gavin goes on to discuss how indigenous people and their cultures are being lost, and this is a problem because of the cultural diversity that indigenous people bring to the world. Gavin goes on to discuss thing such as the malaria outbreak and how it affects two hundred million people globally, and goes on to say how an indigenous people from Peru found a cure for malaria. In addition to this, the most popular treatment of malaria today was found by a herbalist culture in China. Gavin goes on to ask a question of where would we be today if indigenous cultures such as the people of Peru or China ceased to exist, or what if they never existed?

So how do we stop the loss of culture in today’s world? Gavin goes on to discuss stories of people that leave their cultures and mold to a modern, more powerful culture in order to hopefully live a more successful in life and to bring success to their future family. So, if people are leaving their cultures in order to find a fair playing ground in today’s world, what can we do in order to ensure that these cultures do not die out? I believe that there are many things that need to be done in order to help cultural diversity thrive. However, I believe that the key to ensuring strong cultural diversity is to enforce cultural diversity education in schooling, giving to less privileged cultures in order to allow them to practice their cultural traditions and norms, and lastly promote diversity in the workplace.

Education is a powerful tool that influences our society from the early ages of childhood. Education influences our lives for almost two decades, and gives us an understanding of our world. Now, our education system may not be perfect, however, that is neither here nor there. But if we promote cultural diversity in the classroom from a young age all the way through college, I strongly believe we will have a strong, culturally aware generation that can help ensure cultural diversity in today’s world.

In Gordon Halls (ET AL) academic journal, “Toward Ethnocultural Diversification of Higher Education,” Gordon et al discuss the attitudes of society towards ethnocultural diversification in education, particularly with higher education. In this study, Hall et al discuss how ethnocultural diversity is met with resistance. Hall et al go on to state that “A useful metaphor for understanding attitudes toward ethnocultural diversification in higher education may be found in people’s attitudes toward paying taxes. One group is opposed to paying taxes and believes that individuals should fend for themselves,” (2011, Hall ET AL, pg. 244). Hall’s et al metaphor shows that there is a level of arrogance in our society that does not allow growth in our culture.

This makes me think about a discussion in my Intercultural Communication course at Utah Valley University. I believe -this is in my own experience and understand that this is not the same for everyone- that privilege has a major role on why people are so steadfast in fighting against cultural diversification in our education system. I would argue that diversification in our education system would do nothing but benefit our society, and help ensure the longevity of other, smaller cultures.

Hall et al go on to discuss the benefits of diversity in education, and go on to say “Diversity in higher education, including colleges and universities, has many potential benefits. These include the enhancement of cognitive skills, cultural awareness, interest in social issues, a pluralistic orientation, and an overall heightened concern for the public good (Hurtado, 2005),” (2011, Hall ET AL, pg. 243). If young adults, or college students are showing that they are growing mentally and emotionally from cultural diversification, imagine how much our children would grow from ethnocultural diversification, and what kind of change they would make for our future world.

Privilege is something that I am thankful, and learned to be grateful for. However, there was a time when I didn’t think about the privileges that my society and culture provide me. Many cultures from around the world do not get to enjoy the privileges that I get to enjoy. Many people in the American culture often go on in their daily lives not realizing the privileges they get to have every day. One of the privileges that we have, in our culture, is the ability to provide to less privileged people.

How can we use our privileges to provide to less privileged cultures in order for them to survive and thrive? There are many ways we can help less fortunate cultures succeed in our society. One place to start is to recognize that many people in the American culture, not all, are born into privilege.  In Gulati-Partee and Potapchuk’s article, “Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity,” Gulati-Partee and Potapchuk discuss how cultural and racial differences are maintained in our society. Gulati-Partee and Potapchuk show how a cultural majority has a stronghold, and grip on minority cultures and races in the United States. This grip affects the way these smaller, less fortunate cultures survive and can also give us an idea on how cultural diversity is looked down upon.

We need to recognize our privileges, our culture that dominates our society and affects less fortunate cultures. Gulati-Partee and Potapchuk discuss challenges that white culture brings to smaller cultures. Gulati-Partee and Potapchuk go on to state “By “white culture,” we mean the dominant, unquestioned standards of behavior and ways of functioning embodied by the vast majority of institutions in the United States. Because it is so normalized it can be hard to see, which only adds to its powerful hold,” (2014, Gulati-Partee and Potapchuk, pg. 27). Understanding our helps us realize how we hold ourselves back from growing, and ironically, we withhold our privilege of being able to grow into a much more knowledgeable, more powerful and diverse society by not pursuing and strengthening cultural diversity.

Lastly, I want to discuss the importance of cultural diversity in the workplace. So far I’ve discussed bringing cultural diversity into the workplace, and utilizing our privileges to ensure cultural diversity in America, but now let’s discuss cultural diversity in what our society and culture wants us to become a part of: The Workplace. In my opinion, and I understand that everyone’s opinion may be completely different, I believe that continuation of cultural diversity in the workplace will help establish an equal ground for smaller cultures to thrive in.

In Lozano and Eschrich’s article “Cultural Diversity in Business: A Critical Reflection on the Ideology of Tolerance,” Lozano and Eschrich discuss how cultural diversity is vital and important idea that affects our entire society. Lozano and Eschrich go on to discuss tolerance and respect for other cultures. I believe, and again this is my opinion, that our culture tolerates minority cultures. Many people acknowledge that the cultures are there, however, this does not mean that people have respect for these cultures. Lozano and Eschrich go on to state “As we have seen, the concept of tolerance has evolved with various interpretations, but it cannot be identified with respect. A person can tolerate something, but that does not mean that he or she feels respect for what is tolerated (Cortina 1997),” (2017, Lozano and Eschrich pg. 685). This way of thinking keeps us from growing and becoming culturally diverse.

How can we become culturally diverse in the workplace so that these smaller cultures can survive? Stop with just tolerating cultures and learn to respect them. This idea ties in with education and understand our privileges. Lozano and Eschrich go on to say “Our concept of respect is more inclusive and exceeds the conception of tolerance that is associated with pacific coexistence. It is about generating a positive interaction that generates plural and enriching coexistence,” (2017, Lozano and Eschrich, pg. 685). Learning to coexist with our smaller cultures will, in my opinion, allow our society to thrive and grow. If we can generate the respect and ability to coexist with these smaller cultures, we could become an even more influential society for the entire world, and, hopefully, lead our smaller cultures into a future of longevity and equality.

Overall, in order to support our smaller cultures, it is vital that we provide them the privileges that we live every day. Starting with our education system from a young age is a great way to influence a much brighter, and stronger generation. Secondly, providing what we can with our daily privileges will allow a culture to survive. Things such as donations can allow private organizations to create multi-cultural gatherings that support our smaller cultures. Lastly, many people in our American society go through so many things to earn a spot in today’s workplace. What are we doing to ensure respect and coexistence with smaller cultures? This will only allow us to grow and influence our society to become better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Gulati-Partee, G., & Potapchuk, M. (2014). Paying Attention to White Culture and                              Privilege: A Missing Link to Advancing Racial Equity. Foundation Review, 6(1),                               25-38. doi:10.9707/1944-5660.1189

Hall, G., Martinez, C., Tuan, M., McMahon, T., Chain, J., Hall, G. N., & … Chain, J.                                  (2011). Toward ethnocultural diversification of higher education. Cultural                                         Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17(3), 243-251. doi:10.1037/a0024036

Lozano, J. j., & Escrich, T. t. (2017). Cultural Diversity in Business: A Critical Reflection                               on the Ideology of Tolerance. Journal Of Business Ethics, 142(4), 679-696.

POST 8

I talked to a couple that I am close friends with. When I asked how they felt about being in an interracial relationship they paused, and said that there was nothing really different than normal. Then they said actually, there are things that are different. They said that they get looked at weird when they are out in public, and discussed how they’ve had close family members and friends who have personally discussed with them that they find it weird that a black girl is dating a white guy. In addition to this, they both discussed how they came from different cultural backgrounds. 

I found it interesting that in part of our speakers discussion they discussed how our cultural norms, which have changed heavily and are still changing, and the norms made them look at their their selves in a negative light in some ways.  Their experiences made me just want to help more in pushing to be more accepting of this culture. 

POST 7

I was not here on Monday due to my trip to Mexico. However, in regards to privilege I’ve noticed continual growth in how I see privilege. At the beginning of the semester, my knowledge of my own privilege was “taken for granted knowledge.” I lived a privileged life without really acknowledging/knowing it. As time has gone on, and as I’ve seen cultures of less privileged people, I’ve grown to understand and acknowledge privilege. I’ve been able to become much more open-minded to this idea of privilege, and have learned that my privilege can be used to benefit those who are not as privileged as I am.

POST 6

Like every activity we have in this course, I found this weeks lessons and activities to especially eye opening. What stuck out to me was the last group to have their presentation this week. In their presentation they discussed combating racism, and utilized several class members experience with combating racism.  One of my fellow class members brought up a very good point about interpreting racism. I totally agree with this classmate as well. His interpretation was not to take what people say out of context. In the video that was presented, there was no “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” However, there was cultural insensitivity that could have been taken as offensive. I think this was a good moment where I realized that people have many different views on racism. People have different definitions of racism. Some people, from my understanding, are quick to call someone racist and will take things way out of context, while others read more deeply into meaning of what is said and will interpret the message before making a decision on how to handle a possible situation. 

The question that I have asked, and want to know is how can we fight racism? I strongly believe that education helps out very much in broadening the way you see the world. It helps combat narrow mindedness, and provides different ways of seeing each other. Our fight against racism has made so much progress, however, it is very clear and apparent that racism is very much alive and is an issue in our culture today. 

 

POST 5:

I’ve had the opportunity to understand how privileged I am, and in what ways I am privileged. I’ve experienced many things in life, and seen many things that I would say most of my peers have never seen. Experiencing those who are not as privileged as you are really exposes, and makes you realize how lucky you are to be where you are in the world, and the place you may have been born into. I’ve experienced privileges such as being born into a wealthy family, and benefited from privileges that many people deny such as white privilege. I’ve experienced the privilege of being a man in our society vs. being a woman with things such as earning more money or being put in a position of management over a more qualified woman. Many people say that these are negative things to only talk about, however, they are very real and are an issue to be addressed today. On the bright side, I’ve experienced negative things and see these things as a privilege to experience. Why? I am able to put my life into perspective and realize how good I’ve got it right now. 

Hearing our guest speaker talk about what it’s like to live and experience racial inequality, with firsthand experience, was quite eyeopening. We all know it is there, however, to have someone address that so openly was a good experience.  To see someone discuss their experiences in person vs. seeing a discussion being held on TV or the radio brings a much more humbling, eye opening feeling of realization of the situation. 

 

Cultural Self-Assessment

           Arguably culture is the main foundation that establishes how many people are going to be in life. Culture affects the way we talk, eat, see people, our religion, the list goes on. Understanding one’s culture is a key to understanding a person’s epistemology. As I’ve delved into my junior academia studies, I’ve found myself diving deeper in to the question “How does my positionality bias my epistemology?” I’ve found that this is not a question that can be answered simply; it is a far more complicated issue than that of a yes or no answer. I believe I’ve made more ground in these eight weeks than I have in 8 semesters because of how I’ve been pushed to see through multi-cultural lenses.

            My cultural identity is somewhat complex, vast, and interesting in my opinion due to the cultures I’ve seen, been a part of, and the culture I am in now. I am from a quiet town in Oklahoma. Being from Oklahoma is a cultural indicator in my eyes; I make an identity from being from Oklahoma and take pride in it. A major part of the reason why I am in the military is because of my cultural identity and Oklahoma. Our military men and women were supported no matter what, and were seen as honorary, courageous, blue collar, and selfless people who wanted to do what they can for the people of the United States.

            I didn’t realize at the time while growing up, but I came from a upper-class family that was very affluent. This lifestyle seemed normal to me at the time because I had known nothing else. I had no experience in life to put my situation into perspective and realize how blessed I was to be born into that lifestyle. I after the experiences I’ve had in life I would now consider myself mid-low class working on becoming mid-upper class. I am thankful for the drastic lifestyle change that the military gave me at the age of 18, because it helped me see the world through different lenses in a much more realistic way.

            I fall into a stereotypical category. I am a middle-class white male. I was born into the upper-class and had an incredible fall from it; I am very grateful for this. I’ve been all over the country, and to different parts of the world. I’ve seen, in my own land, in parts of local cultures, how gender and race play a role in how things may be more or less difficult for you to grow and become successful. I’ve seen in other countries how, in my opinion, gender especially plays a role in how someone may or may not be able to be as successful. I used to ignore this fact, this issue in which our culture allows and supports such primitive ways of thinking to happen. However, I see it and acknowledge that it is a very real and alive thing.

          I’ve discussed enough about my culture, and now I want to discuss more how I see the world, and how I used to see the world. I’d like to discuss my ideas about cultural groups different than my own. I am going to be discussing race and socioeconomic classes (upper & working). I chose to discuss these two things because of my experience I’ve had in being born into the upper-class, my drop into the working class, and my perspective from the middle class. In addition to this, I wanted to discuss how I’ve seen socioeconomic class playing a role on race. Just because I lived in the upper-class does not mean I had an understanding of it like I do now; I was completely oblivious to the fact that I lived in an upper-class family at the time! Therefore, I would like to discuss my new found understanding of the upper-class, and working-class.

            Many people from the upper-class were not born into it like I was; many upper-class people are self-made. However, many people that are working-class are born into it, and are very disadvantaged because of this. Again, however, our country is making strides in ensuring that those who aren’t born into wealth are able to be on equal playing grounds in things such as opportunities for education, among other things. In my experience, with my cultural biases, I never want to be in the upper-class ever again. The culture, and family I used to be a part of was very money driven, and had no other drive in life other than money.

             In my experience, the upper-class valued things such as social status, education, economic power, and positions in society. Some of these things are, in my opinion great, and some of these things, again in my opinion, are not so great. I felt as though the social status was a childish value in life. Many upper-class individuals would buy such nice things to show where they are in life; there is nothing wrong with this because they most likely earned it. However, I just did not appreciate this. I look at someone like my brother, a self-made millionaire, and I see him driving his 2000 Chevy Cavalier (same vehicle he had in high school), and remember that upper-class is not one set culture. The upper-class is filled with many different people, with many different values. It is unfair to say that my experience is the say-all-be-all to this culture.

            The working-class was very similar in some ways, and very different in other ways. When I experienced being lower class, I found that I did not fit in with the upper-class, and I did not want to fit in with the upper-class due to my experiences. I valued being successful, however, due to my socioeconomic experiences, the two cultures changed and shaped what I saw as success. Many of my fellow soldiers who were in the working-class with me strive to make a living that supported our families. Many working-class people wanted to give a life to their family that they didn’t have.

          In the end, I would say that my experience is not that “this is how it is” saying. This is my experience, and I know many of my other friends from the upper-class, and my brothers currently living in the upper-class would have a completely different outlook on socioeconomic classes. I emphasize that no matter how much money we do or do not have, we are still human and are all created equal. The world in which we live does not reflect this saying, however, we are working towards being equal.

                I wanted to go on and discuss race. This is a touch topic for many, however, I have seen this topic as a learning, self-growth and mind-expanding topic. My predisposed ideas were very stereotypical of a young, white male from an upper-class family. I thought of African Americans as being poor, having the same opportunities as me to get to a better place in life, and that they were treated equally to me; white privilege was not something I ever thought about. However, when I joined the active duty Army I learned that African Americans aren’t all that different than I am.

                   Like I mentioned earlier, African Americans were much like me in the sense of wanting something better for myself. We (whites and African Americans) strive for a better life by pursuing a career that can give what we want. We pursue an education, and we used the military as a means to get to that education that our culture values so dearly. We valued family, success, meaning, education, and many other things. Many African Americans I knew came from a much, much more challenging place than where I came from. The way they viewed the world was different because of this, and I can understand why this is. I quickly learned that culture, and the place where African Americans came from has made them disadvantaged in our society.  My old views of African Americans were molded by how the media shaped them out to be.

             Where does my cultural knowledge come from? It comes from my own personal experience, my brothers and family, the people that I’ve been around with in the military, and sadly some of what I’ve heard, but very skeptical of, is the media. I’ve learned to take everything that the media says with a grain of salt. The media has a great influence on our people, especially our young and growing population. Things such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, provide news to people’s fingertips at any given time. Many people that control these mediums have an agenda, and may use people as a means to achieve their agenda. I see racism being used as a means to someone’s end all the time. In some articles I’ve read in the past, people have used gun violence as a method to discuss racism, and not the actual issue at hand. The media influences people, and can possibly hinder those who do not question what they see or hear. I worry that this may hurt our future generation.

            Finally, to conclude my thoughts on culture, I would like to discuss what interests and question’s I’ve had in intercultural communication. I’ve always wondered “how can I help my culture see a different culture, and accept that culture and respect it?” I feel as though too many times people in my culture get wrapped up in the way we do things. Our way is the right way, how dare someone not do this our way? I dislike this way of thinking, and would like to help people in my culture expand to a greater level of thought, and cohesion with other cultures. Secondly, how can I help people understand how our culture affects the way we see the world, and to not judge others off of being different? I see that this is a problem, and I do believe it will always be a problem until we find a better way to communicate this issue. Lastly, what can I do to become more culturally diverse? I am taking this course, and it is already helping me tremendously. However, what else can I do to become more culturally aware? I believe that this will only help me succeed in life.

POST 4:

The biggest thing that has stuck out to me so far this semester is being able to recognize biases that I’ve never seen. There have been multiple discussions in class where I thought wow, I can’t believe I didn’t see that, or I do that, but I never realized it till now.  It’s incredible and complex how our positionality biases our epistemology. The lens in which I see the world is always growing, expanding to see things in a different light, however, there are a few things that go unseen that I’ve been learning about. 

Adonica Limon’s story was very powerful for me. I came from a similar situation on a much, much smaller scale. Her story from when she was a foster child, till she finally made it and is returning back to Hawaii was powerful. I loved one of the cultural aspects that she brought up. She discussed how she was returning home to give knowledge, skills and many other things back to her family in Hawaii. I really appreciated this because in a sense she is returning home in such an honorable way. She will have quite the knowledge of life to share. Her story puts things into perspective for me. A couple times this past week when I thought things were hard, I thought about her story and realized how good I got it. I am lucky to be where I am right now. 

POST 3:

Having English only laws is something that would be counter-intuitive for being an american, in my opinion. The United States is a country that is based upon many different cultures from many parts of the world. Arguably, this would be unamerican to enforce English only laws because of what the United States has built its foundation upon.

The United States of America does not need another reason for being divided.  English only laws would seemingly target minority groups who may not have the necessary knowledge needed -or have the means to achieving those needs- and would harm them.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for my service project lately. There are a few things that I want to accomplish for my project. I want to walk away knowing that I have influenced someones life and/or many other peoples lives in the most positive way. I want to be able to give back to those who may have experienced very unfortunate events. Therefore, I am leaning towards working with refugees from countries in the middle-east. I feel that I would find great meaning in my service project by doing this.

POST 2:

The Babakieuria video was very interesting. I appreciated that the video put white people in the shoes of the aborigine’s people of Australia. It gave me an idea of what it could be like being a minority, and how I could be treated inhumanely as well. One scene that sticks out to me- it is hard to believe that this happened because of the inhumanity- is when they gave people a “challenge” in order to become different. In order to change for the better. What surprised me the most is just the fact that this video was based off an actual event.

Chapter 3

Intercultural communication is not something that you would imagine to be simple, and the author does a great job at showing its complexity in the text. It is important for people to understand the way they view the world, and how their biases may hinder their intercultural communication. A problem I see and hear today is the idea of cultures being better than others. Ethnocentrism, by Sumner, is the “name for this view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated in reference to it,” (pg. 52). I’d argue that this is willful ignorance of a culture, and an elitist mindset attitude towards your culture being the right way to do things.

Chapter 4

I took an interest to the Cognitive Concept as discussed on page 73. The author discusses how a person’s lens, a person’s view of culture is created from the mind. What we see in our daily lives impacts who we are, our identity, and our perception. Chapter four is a great example of showing how complex culture is, and arguably, is just like an ice berg. Cultures may seem like they show everything at times, however, there is very little on the surface with what is seen in cultures Vs. the meaning and the reason cultures are the way they are.

POST 1:

About me,

My name is Joey Warstler, and I am from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. I was born and raised in Oklahoma and moved to Draper, Utah at the age of 13.  I attended and graduated from Alta HS from 2008-2011. When I graduated I immediately enlisted into the Army as an Infantryman and went to Fort Benning and many other places. I exited military service at the end of 2014, and began attending school at Utah Valley University. I am now a Junior planning on graduating spring 2019. I am a Communication Public Relations major and am also the President of UVU Army ROTC. I will be commissioning as an Army officer in 2019 and am hopefully going to earn a Public Affairs position! 

Chapter 1…

I always found intercultural & cultural meaning interesting. What fascinates me in particular is the Social Construction Approach discussed on page 16 in Anastacia Kurylos’ text “Inter/cultural communication.” As a junior scholar I often find myself asking questions such as “Is culture real?” and “What makes us see the world the way we see it?” Everyday we are surrounded by things that mold who we are and how we see the world! We may not even notice these things because we have become so accustomed to these things; we may just see these things as a part of our everyday norms. This chapter has helped me to understand how my everyday norms are influenced by my cultural biases. 

Chapter 2…

Going into a different culture without any background knowledge can be very problematic. For example, the way an American may act individually may be seen as offensive in some Asian cultures. What I have gained from this chapter is understanding the importance of understanding other cultures, biases a cultural you are born into affects the way you act and see the world, and being aware of cultural biases so that you may become more prepared to be involved with more cultures. If you can see your biases, it may become much easier to understand another culture. However, if you do not recognize your biases it may be difficult to understand a different culture.