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Dimensions of Culture, Values

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Dimensions of Culture, Values

Abstract

We live in a world of changing global requirements. We have the ability to converse with people thousands of miles away at the blink of an eye. Although this seems and is, to most, an awesome power to be relished, it can be for some a world of confusion and frustration seeded by their own perceptions and beliefs. These barriers to cultural diversity exist because of the ways in which different cultures facilitate perceptions and beliefs regarding others and themselves.

Dimensions of Culture, Values

and

Communication

Our text describes culture as “ the structure through which communication is formulated and interpreted. Culture deals with the way people live. Culture is learned through perceptions that are formed in various ways; where we are born and raised, the language we learn, the people and the environment with which we live and the psychological stimuli we encounter.” (Chaney, pg. 6). Understandably, in order to effectively communicate with other cultures, we must first explore the culture to which we subscribe to acknowledge the ways that we present barriers and perceive cultural differences. This paper will explore my own cultural norms as predominant and subordinate, describe instances where others have been perceived as outside the cultural norm and attempt to describe a benefit to being an outsider.

I was raised white Protestant in the suburbs roughly 40 miles north of Boston. The culture that I grew up in was predominately white Protestant with little exposure to other ethnic backgrounds in school or at home even though ethnicity was not far away. Believe it or not, I had not even seen an African American until I was roughly in the fifth grade even though they lived one town away. It was always understood that whites do not venture into their town and they do not venture to ours. I was always told that they “people of ethnicity” were lazy and relied on handouts more than work ethics to progress and provide for their families. I was raised to work very hard for the things that I want and that my moral and ethical fiber would be the only thing that could be relied upon to see me through hard times that were sure to come. I was also raised to believe that my culture was the correct culture and that I would always be able to achieve more than others of ethnicity. However, as I grew and watched more television, witnessing predominant figures of racial diversity hold positions of authority, I began to question the authenticity of this claim.

During my pre high school years, namely junior high, I began to experience different peoples of culture, mainly African Americans and Latin Americans. However, as I have come to realize, many in my culture were raised identical to me and perceived the others as subordinate or outside the social norm of white Protestants. I was considered within the social norm because I was white Protestant and believed in the same social structures as everyone else without deviation, or at least no spoken deviation from the perceived norm. Because their numbers were low, these people were verbally abused without mercy at times, causing many conflicts with the school administration. All this was done because they were outside the social norm that we had been raised in. It was merely their ethnicity that provoked attacks and what many believe as their own culture that did not allow them to be “dominated”. Again, I could never truly understand this. In high school, the tables were turned, so to speak.

During

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