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Race and Culture

Updated on May 28, 2013

Cultural Diversity in the United States

This is what I had learned about Cultural Diversity in the United Stated to help me better understand and relate to others is people are different and coming from different backgrounds and culture, people are similar even though they are coming from all over the world. When I moved to Portland Maine about a year ago, I was surprised to learn there were many African Refugees that new to the United States; they had moved to moved for better benefits. They are presented in their African clothing, which are brightly colored somewhat sheets that they wrap around their bodies and heads, which is very appealing. When it was hot outside, I could not figure out how they could stand the heat. I then remembered that they are from Africa, and their clothing style is very important to them like it is here in the United States with our catchy styles and brand name products, we are very similar and the same, wanting to look fashionable.

Learning that coming from a White Irish racial background, in Ireland there are two groups of Irish people. The Southern Irish people are Protestants and the Northern Ireland (ie Belfast, Donegal, Derry) are Catholics and have been many battles and bloodshed over this religious conflict that still although not in the same intensity as today, however, it is still going on and major issue. Irish people have a tendency to like to drink a large amount and know how to enjoy themselves. They are very kind giving as the expression says "they would give the shirt off their back". The weather in Portland Maine is very similar to Ireland, cold, and damp with a slight short summer. There is also many farm land here in Portland Maine, and you could smell the fire places burning just like they burn peet in Ireland.

In 2050 , trends and immigrations will shape the demographics of the United States. I think that the United States population will look like very much similar as Los Angeles, or New York by the vast number of cultural influences or for better terms a melting pot. I hope that many Americans will be speaking multiple languages and enjoying all the different cooking styles of food, and all of the diverse influences of the many cultures that will exist in the United States by 2050. I also hope that students in school will be taught more about the different people and the ways throughout the world. Fashion majorly will be and will adapt a more of a universal worldly clothing fashion. I also think that the United States will be taken in more international refugees more worldly culture and exposure to more social styles and will move the United States toward a better balance and understanding of the many ways of the world.

The United States faces many challenges in diversity of its many people, and there is still a large percent of the population that believes supporting racism bigotry. These changes will not be able to move forward in the United States racially and culturally, and will not be as diversely accepted the worldly trends in diversity. This is not just a problem with White people, it is a problem facing all the different cultures in the world because racism has many colors, fearing of something new scaring everybody, but with it comes change and I hope that we all could get along in this world and every one occupies. The world and United States has come a long way in battling this war on racism, but it is still has many miles to move ahead before people could see that although different we are all people.

The benefits of a diverse society is that everybody could get a long and live together in a peace society free of hatred, racism, and bigotry. Just because someone is gay, black, Hispanic, Indian, or Asian does not give bigots the right to discriminate against any kind of people, so the benefits would be able to live your life in a free and open manner, without fear adverse reactions. The major benefit would be exposure to many cultures, food styles, languages, and fashion styles. The last benefit would be able to live in a world where everybody accepts everyone for what or who they are, and could contribute to the world for all their diverse, and different lifestyles with everybody just plain getting along together.

It would be nice to foster a climate of acceptance and cultural pluralism in the world and the United States. There is so much that we could learn by the acceptance and exposure of the many different cultures and lifestyles of people throughout the world. This includes the acceptance of lifestyles of their equal rights to live with the same rights of everybody else in the world, including the right for everybody to get married even though many religious organizations find this unacceptable. If it were not for all the legal benefits and tax benefits that marriage provides, I think everybody would be entitled to that right. Also everybody is entitled to the same benefits such as disability and not having the choice to not work because certain things that they can not control. I feel that if refugees could get the benefits easily in the United States, why not citizens who were born here can get the same benefits easily and quickly.

Does media perpetuate stereotyping racism and prejudice? The entertainment industry in music, television, and movies portray an image that people of different cultures including GLBTQ community as either stupid or effeminate they are the majority of the time are presented in a comical betrayal of other people's lifestyles except for white people. For years the Hispanics, Black people and others had complained of the stereotype in the inaccuracy of these portrayals of their people and lifestyles. This is especially true on television and in music. Black people and Hispanics are betrayed as ignorant and the deviates of society such as gangsters and criminals of involving themselves in drugs and pimping as the preferred lifestyle of these people.

While the smaller and independent movie makers and cable stations seem to have a better perception for diversity different cultures and lifestyles. I think this is because of the smaller independent entertainment industry does not have to answer or forced to follow the major entertainment industries constant portrayals of the different culture lifestyles of society. They seem to portray a more accurate description and example of the different lifestyles. To them it is funny and entertaining at the same time, in dealing with facts and details of the history of where they come from, which is a nice alternative to the big business entertainment portrayal.

The United States and its diverse individuals can work together to reduce prejudice, and spread appreciation of the different cultures and lifestyles. This is by spreading the appreciation of its people, forcing major entertainment to accurately portray people for who they are, and the good of people instead of the negative. Following the example of smaller entertainment portrayal of lifestyles, and things different, another example would be cleaning up the movie industry of their portrayal of gangsters, drugs, and partying to a more accurate description of people lifestyle. Another example would be forcing the television industry to focus on the positive descriptions of the many different people in this world. I think that people, if they were given the chance to see this type of entertainment, major television stations would see that this is what people want to see along with entertainment about detective shows and so on.

I might change my own behaviors and perceptions to be more inclusive and pluralistic of what the world and its different members of society can contribute, to my own patience and understanding of the disabled, they need a little extra time to do the same things that everybody else can do, and to offer help when it is needed, which I do to a certain extent. However, I do need to improve my own need to be fast and not slow. After all, my partner is disabled and I have to assist him to perform daily functions because he uses the cane for outings he has a hard time keeping up with me, so by using patience and understanding I have learned that I can apply these characteristics. I also need to improve this toward the different cultures of the world.

Historical Race

In the United States, Black people are still fighting for equal liberties. The last two hundred years, all the advances and achievements of this modern world, including vehicles, planes, television, and modern space travel, you could see the achievements and progress, in some cases slow, and some rather quickly, prejudice still exists in today's world, especially for the Black people, Homosexuality, Asians, Hispanics, and Middle Eastern people. In the United States, the first two are the most experienced in today's society. If you include Gays on the list of Black people prejudice against Black people would say that would not be the same. Homosexual should be included in that list because it is something that you are born with and cannot change. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying what happened in this country and around the world against Black people is not horrible events. However, I feel that prejudice is prejudice no matter if they are Black, Homosexual, Asian, and so on. Just because Homosexuals are not born from the same color of skin, they are still exists by discrimination against for what they are. Modern people have a tendency to forget that homosexuals were rounded out and killed in places like Auschwitz by the Nazi and ridiculed, beaten up, and placed in mental wards. On many occasions, they also were given shock treatments or lobotomies. If not bigotry against a group of people, most bigots would not know they are bigots, I don't know what is. That is why I feel I can relate to the wrongful treatment of people that are different. Bigotry is what it boils down to. I would think in today's modern society that people, in general, becoming educated many with college degrees still would not have fear for the things that were different.

The prejudice against people of darker skin has been going on for many centuries from slavery, to becoming slaughtered like cattle because they had no human value. They were publicly beaten, chained, and shackled like prisoners where ever they went. Many times in the last couple of centuries, famous white people Thomas Jefferson had numerous affairs with a Black slave. When she got pregnant, he moved her to Paris, France where colored people are recognized as every day citizens. Thomas Jefferson reportedly supported her and her offspring for the rest of their lives.

The Civil War was fought for and against the liberties of Black people to make them free people. The problem was these people were freed with no education, no job, nowhere to live, and no money, which is like handing a two-year-old a knife telling her to cut her own tonsils out. Without any skills, it was very hard for them to maintain themselves.

The Civil Rights Movement came about in the 1960s, when not just Black people but all people were given the equal rights, allowing them to eat, drink, and sit in the same spaces as White people. It all started in a small town from Mississippi when Rosa Parks, a young Black woman, refused to ride in back of a bus. The police were called, hulled her off the bus, and three her in jail. The federal government were involved and started the ball rolling to what is called The Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, the Million Man March in Washington DC to demonstrate that they can pull together and show unity in numbers. Around this time, there were many historical events around the Black movement. First, John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov 23, 1963. Then Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. It was not that long ago afterwards, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, which was on June 6, 1968. John F. Kennedy was an adamant supporter of Civil Rights, but him being assassinated did not stop the movement of the Civil Rights. Martin Luther King Jr's assassination sparked and helped the Civil Rights movement to come to ahead, with the assassination of Robert F Kennedy. The powder keg was lit, and the world would never be the same again. Around the early 90s, Rodney King who was beaten by the police and caught on video tape. During that time, a Korean grocer in Los Angeles shot and killed a Black girl for petty theft that ignited the second round of the Los Angeles Riots. The first were the Watts riots in 1965 when the majority of downtown Los Angeles were destroyed. The majority of the destruction was in Watts California. Both riots although they gained national exposure of the building of the pressure of the tensions in the United States. I want to add that would never happen again, but with the current state of racial tensions in not only the world but within the United States, it is not only probably but also likely to happen again.

Role of Culture in Suicide Prevention

The article “Advancing Prevention Research on the Role of Culture in Suicide Prevention”, appears to be in quotations, citations through other people’s observation, which is generally is an inexpensive form of research. This article best reflects on participant observation as it is based on other people’s observations and studies and the authors of this study is just quoting for rearranging the research to get the point of view across. The realistic factor is that all groups of Americans, whether it would be American Indian, Alaskan, Native youth, Latino or African youth and European American youth show that some of the reasons for these individuals groups to use suicide as an answer, the one main factor is that all of these groups have a fairly high rate of suicide.

The breaking down of the research orientation in sociology from page 21 shows me that the article is based on positive sociology, which is the researchers used neutral observation. The author of the article was observing the research of other people, in which he presented proper citation. The only thing that I found challenging to me was that the author did not express his own point of view. He seemed to do that through the other observers. All-in-all it was a good article and I had gathered good information from it.

Sean Joe, MSW, PhD, Silvia Sara Canetto, PhD and Daniel Romer, PhD, Suicicde and life Threatening Behavior 38(2) June 2008. p. 354

Culture Shock

If you were visiting and studying the Yanomamo, describe what you would have done to prepare yourself for possible culture shock.

To prepare myself for the possible culture shock with the Yanomamo, the first thing I would do is to remain calm and show no fear. I would have let my guide approach the tribesmen first so I would feel more comfortable knowing that the tribesmen would recognize my guide. Then I would had brought a gift to them of something that the tribesmen would find appealing, for example, in regular society you would bring a bottle of wine or something in the ordinary to show appreciation. The uncleanliness, filth, and the smell of the odor, I would not have reacted in an offended way. I would had stood there, smiled, and nodded my head with the confidence thinking engrossed from their appearance standing half nude. I would inform my guide to speak in their language and introduce me as a friend to the tribe by letting them know that I would be interested in learning and studying the tribesmen’s’ culture as much as possible by living with them for a year and a half. I think that by having the tribesmen teaching me their way of living would give me a better insight and a better understanding their culture. I would also thank them showing my appreciation, presenting them with those gifts.

Describe a personal experience you have had where you experienced culture shock. What components of culture were you shocked by?

I experienced culture shock when I lived in Ireland for eight years in the 90’s. I moved there as I wanted to know a little bit about my relatives. I remember I was welcomed with open arms as an American. I was most shocked that Derry Northern Ireland was different from the South of Ireland. Northern Ireland also had many problems and troubles with England and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as Northern Ireland wanted their freedom from Britain. I had a hard time understanding my relatives and how they were thinking and why most of them drank. Going to the bars there I noticed their lifestyle was different than the United States, as they know how to have a good time without having drink involved. I also noticed and had learned that Northern Ireland’s currency is used by England. South of Ireland used their Irish currency money. It also took me awhile to understand why the people in Northern Ireland dislike the police and how they felt that the police never help them. I also saw young kids up all hours of the night throwing petrol bottle bombs because of the IRA. I enjoyed the traditional Celtic music and foods there. It took some time with everything that I had learned in Northern Ireland but I eventually able to accept and feel comfortable with.

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