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Cultural Diversity Paper 1

By jelani-molock Apr 29, 2015 1147 Words

John Thompson’s Interview: Cultural Diversity
John Thompson is one of my good Caucasian friend’s from high school. He was very fortunate growing up with his family but was also very hard working as well. He is twenty-five years old and was born was born in Utah but raised in Raleigh, NC. He proceeds to tell me about the American culture from his view which interests me so much because of my different cultural background. Our dialogic conversation consisted of:

Me: What is your definition of “culture?”
John: Culture is what you make it; I believe it’s your background of where you came from. Me: How do you define “family?”
John: A family of 4 which consist of one boy and one girl. Me: Who holds the most “status” in your family? Why?
John: In my culture, the father holds the status in the family because they are always responsible for making big decisions for the family. Me: How do you define success?
John: Success is someone who enjoys what they do and also is happy with themselves. Me: Do you consider your parents to be successful?
John: Yes! I think my parents have accomplished a lot in life and enjoy what they do for a living. Me: How important is education in your family?
John: Education is the root to success in my family so education is taken very seriously among all family members. Me: Is punctuality important to you? Why or why not?
John: Yes it is important. It displays the kind of assertiveness you have in life. If you arrive 10 minutes early before class, that will be considered on time. Punctuality shows great determination. Being late for an appointment with an American can be taken as a personal offence because it indicates disrespect. Me: What is the most important meal of the day?

John: Breakfast! I love breakfast but you have to consume your energy in the morning to start your day off right. Me: Do you eat foods that are indigenous to your culture? Why or why not? If you answered yes, name some of the foods that you eat. If you answered no, what types of foods do you eat? John: No, I eat rice, chicken, beef, beans, corn, pizza, burgers, and meat loaf. That is a brief summary of everything I can think of. Me: Did you ever live with your grandparents or extended family? John: No. My grandparents are in a nursing home.

Me: Do you actively participate in an organized religion?
John: No
Me: How important is religion in your family? Why?
John: We go to church every Sunday but we are not that religious. We still make sure we keep faith in our lives no matter the tribulations we go through. Me: If religion is important in your family, do you plan to pass this on to your children? Why or why not? John: Religion is not priority in the family, its freedom of choice but we emphasis on Christianity. Me: Are the roles of men and women specifically defined in your family? If so, what are they? John: Yes. It is defined that Men should take charge of their lives and become successful to take care of their family. Women are have the same roles but should strive harder based on gender discrimination. Me: Do you have any eating habits/rituals that are specific to your culture? John: No.

Me: Define and describe the most important (or most celebrated) holiday of your culture. John: Christmas is the most important holiday in my culture. It’s beautiful to see you family and friends come together, eat, open gifts, and decorate the house. Me: If you are from a culture that speaks English as a second language, do you speak your native language? If not, why? If so, will you teach your native language to any children you have? John: My primary language is English, but I will encourage my children to learn different languages.

Me: How is physical contact viewed in your culture?
John: Other than shaking hands, physical contact, such as holding hands or hugging, is reserved for people we are close with. It’s pretty awkward with a stranger. Me: What is considered most disrespectful in your culture?

John: I would say being late
Me: What is considered most respectful in your culture?
John: Showing up on time to appointments, shaking hands firmly, holding the door for strangers, and tipping to servers, taxi drivers etc. Me: What would you say is, from your perspective, the most commonly held misconception about people of your culture? John: That white people are better than any other race.

Me: Have you ever experienced racism? In what form?
John: Yes, from African Americans who judge me and assume I am a racist white person. Me: What can be done about racism and prejudice, in your opinion? John: Not everyone White person is the same. The only way to really resolve this is to form unity within every race to stop the prejudice that occurs today in America. Me: Do young people today have a sense of culture?

John: Yes, but it’s not as strong as it used to be.
Me: What is the best thing about living in the USA?
John: Having the freedom of choice to decide what you want to make of yourself each day. Me: What is the worst thing about living in the USA?
John: It doesn’t expose you to other people’s health disparities. Me: Have you ever felt excluded based on your gender or culture? John: Nope. I have always been a well-rounded person.
Me: Do you remember excluding others based on Culture or Gender? John: No. I do not discriminate at all
Me: Is there anything you would like others to know that we have not included here about you or your culture? John: Americans are much more assertive than most international visitors. They use words as tools to express their opinions and to accomplish goals. The United States is a rather individualistic society, with less social pressure to conform. Me: Thank you- is there anything else you would like to share? John: No, that is pretty much it. I thank you for letting me share.

Concluding our interview, John expressed to me different cultural expectations of an American and how they are perceived from his view. It is so important to capture different opinions in a culture because you learn how that person thinks he/she is perceived based on their background. I learned so much about the American Culture that I never knew before such as the importance of punctuality and the society of American culture. It’s good to study different cultures because when you travel around the world you know what to expect. This interview was a profound experience that will stick in my knowledge of American culture from now on.

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