Cultural Immersion Part 3
1 Share some of the background of your interviewee (or couple). What was this person’s/couple’s story?
The individual that I interviewed shared some personal information about their life and the experiences that they have encountered in their culture. Much of their lives, they have grown up and faced hardship. As a child their family lacked a lot and had to work harder for the things that they had. They have witnessed death and mistreatment from others in and out of their culture that impacted their life in a different way. Dave has a family and is now able to provide for his family in an appropriate manner than what he was brought up on. He focuses his mind on ensuring that his family is aware of their culture and focuses on the importance of recognizing how they are blessed. Being here in the United States has provided him with opportunities that they may not have had. Being raised in a country where Cubans are known for being cruel and mistreating individuals, it has helped to add a different aspect of life to his timeline as well as that of his children. One experience that was shared was how, as a child, he had witnessed killings of people due to the choices that they made that were not pleasing to their culture. As he shared information about these killings, but not willing to disclose some information, I could see how it had impacted his life. From watching adults being killed to watching children, it is something that he reluctantly wants to recall. However, the memories of what happened he said was enough to push him to want a better life than what he was used to. Having the support of his family and seeing many family members work to improve their lifestyles as well, continues to motivate him to do what it is he is destined to do.
2 How open was the interviewee/couple? Why do you think this was so? My interviewee was somewhat open about his life. He shared much information about his upbringing and things that were important to their culture and family. However, as we talked about events that had happened in life, more culturally related, he was a little hesitant about recalling that information and sharing that information. He explained that as a culture there were some things that could be shared in detail and some things that could not due to revealing information about their culture. I respected that a great deal and realized that this was a person who truly did respect his culture but was still pleased with where he had come in life. 3 What were some key cultural events (interactions with the majority culture, experiences of prejudice, positive experiences with the majority culture, etc.) for this person/couple? One of the events that we talked about was how he remembers his family being mistreated because they were not as wealthy as other families. This is something that I shared takes place in all cultures. Being from Cuba, he shares how difficult it is for people to understand that all Cubans are not about killing and fighting. He talked of how he has encountered mistreatment here in the states due to his Ethnicity and what people think they know about Cubans. He also talked of how there were many people who reached out to him and to his family to help. The area that they live in had many Cuban families as well as families form many other cultures. Knowing how people can mistreat you based on lack of knowledge, he shares information with his neighbors to ensure that they understand where he comes from and he understands about their culture. He shares that people are people and that it helps to encounter positive attitudes from individuals and it is important to treat them as you would want to be treated. Being in an area where there are other Cuban families it makes them more comfortable although he shares that there are some from the same culture who can be just as cruel as any other. I feel that having a strong religious background has helped Dave to understand and to get through many things that he has encountered and that he is continuously faced with. However, the one thing that he shared is that he teaches his children to love everyone regardless of how they treat you. This has helped his children to understand their friends and to overcome many obstacles that they have faced and continue to face. 4 What was your sense of this person’s acculturation level and racial/cultural identity development? Why do you think this? I think that Dave has developed and maintains a great sense of respect for his culture. However, he has gained knowledge of other cultures and shows respect for them. In some sense, he has gained much from the other cultures that surround them. From the way that he is raising his children to the education that they receive. He has not completely changed their lifestyle and he still reflects on the Cuban culture by enhancing their religion and continuing to stress what is important to their culture. Although his family is not in Cuba, they are still aware of what their culture holds. He has not let the surroundings of other cultures take complete control, however he teaches “survival skills” and how to adapt to change. His children and his family seem to enjoy where they are now and interact freely with other individuals. There are still some things that he says are debatable as far as what he should do and whether it is culturally appropriate or it is what should be done because of where they are now. However, he emphasizes what is best and makes the decision that is going to keep his family safe and secure. I think that overall, Dave is comfortable with his culture and where he is now, but he still respects others that he comes in contact with day to day and respects the values that are taught in other cultures. 5 How did you respond emotionally towards the interviewee/couple during the interview? Given what you know about your cultural background and other aspects of your personal experience, why do you think you reacted this way?
My reaction to Dave and others that may have given input, was that overall they are just like any culture. They want people to understand where they come from and not pass judgement on who they are based on past experiences or what history has taught us to believe. As I was interviewing Dave and he shared experiences of growing up, I could relate to him in many instances and how people would mistreat you. I did feel emotional as he talked about seeing people get killed and felt a strong sense of hurt. As a child I could not imagine growing up and seeing some things that he described as graphic and nothing he would want his children to see. My reaction to Dave and the interview was not emotional but more of a sense of proudness. He has worked hard to get to where he is now and continues to want nothing but the best for his family. Dave supports his family and that would make anyone proud. From my perspective, I enjoy seeing individuals overcome obstacles in life and improve themselves and he has truly done so for himself and for his family members. Dave is proud and he shows that by remaining true to his culture but still working to improve his life. Dave shows respect for other cultures and opens up to learning more about them. Learning where he came from and understanding his journey would make anyone feel proud. I truly felt proud of his accomplishments. Thinking of my culture, it is important to work hard and to remain focused on where you blessings come from each day.
6 What did your interview with this person/couple add to your knowledge about this cultural group that you did not get from parts 1 and 2? I think that this interview added a more in depth and emotional feeling about what this culture stands for versus how they are perceived. Many personal things were shared and that gives a different aspect on things. Knowing what he went through as a child and how it has impacted his life, makes me feel more compassionate about the culture. Every culture has something that many may not be knowledgeable of and therefore this interview was important. Reading what Cubans have encountered versus hearing and seeing emotions first hand, makes the understanding much clearer. In parts one and two, the information that was received was more from the activities that they did and seeing how they interacted. The interview, being a deeper insight, helps to shed so much light on the culture and on individuals from that culture. 7 Remind yourself of the biblical worldview lens material considered in Module/Week 1 (see the presentation titled “Interpreting Culture” in the Module/Week 1 Reading & Study folder). What are some strengths or elements of common grace that you see operating in this cultural group? How can we pray for people in this cultural group?
I think that some of the strengths that I see operating in this culture are that they have a great sense of religion and that family is important to them. Religion in itself is important in that it teaches us to stay focused and to be grateful. We must have a connection in order to sustain ourselves and in order to grow. Family is important and should be in any culture. God teaches us to love one another and it is one of his greatest commandments. This culture embraces one another and supports each one. They stick together and help each other out. In many cultures, you may see the closeness that was seen here. As with any culture, we can pray for them by asking God to continue to teach them to love and to improve growth in them to keep them close to him. No culture is perfect and I believe that we all can be prayed for.
8 Which part of this immersion experience (parts 1, 2, or 3) was most helpful to you in learning about this cultural group? Why do you think this was so?
I appreciated the interview the most. The interview opened up a lot of aspects and allowed for a closeness to learn about the culture. Seeing the reactions and emotions of the interviewee about certain situations, made me feel a sense of closeness and understanding. It also allowed me to continue to understand the importance of learning about an individual or culture before passing judgement. I found that there were so many things in the interview that I could relate to and therefore, it made the interview more personal and I appreciated it. The other areas were more involved but I think being able to understand and discuss information one on one is so important and worthwhile.
Cuba. In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 09, 2015, from http://en.wikepedia.wiki.cuba D.Cusumano (personal communication, June 24, 2015)