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Africa Gold

Fist off having that guest speaker was one of my favorite parts of this semester.  I really enjoyed his story and some of the cultural lessons we can learn.  I had no idea about the show and what it was all about.  

I really respected the fact that he went to a completely different culture and country and tried to get in with the locals and make a living.  I feel like in every culture if you are going to live there you need to adapt or be destroyed.  And for his case it was literally be destroyed.  

I think one of the most eye opening parts of his story was when he was talking about getting the chiefs blessings.  I think he mentioned how they had to sacrifice and pray to the Gods for his blessings to do the work they wanted to do.  I kept thinking on what I would have done.  I am a Christian and sacrifice is something we don’t do, and might be considered something that would upset God.  It was amazing to hear his point of view and how they handled it.  

I also liked when they were talking about how they paid the young labor workers to much money and that was disrespectful to the chief and also screwed up the economy in their village.  That was something I feel I would have not thought of, because I would have wanted to be generous as well, but that just threw everything off.  So doing this is something that needs to always be considered.  

I really enjoyed his story and his points of view.  

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Positives of Intercultural Relationships

If I were to say, close your eyes and think of a romantic partner who would you think of? What race are they, what would be their skin color, what languages do they speak, where is their family from, and what do they believe?  I think the majority of us would imagine somebody pretty close to what we are like. I think this is very common, and there is nothing wrong with it.

I’m choosing to write my paper on intercultural relationships.  The Ted talk by Ngoc Tu, brings an interesting view on how we interpret intercultural relationships.  His Ted talk talks about how moving to the United States posed dating struggles for him. He is an Asian man looking for love. He talks a lot about how inter-cultural relationships have been a struggle for him because of is differences in culture/race.  He wants to encourage people that intercultural or interracial relationships are not a bad thing.  

Taboo is a big thing in cultures around the world. Each culture has different taboos and stereotypes with intercultural relationships.  Ngoc found some of these taboos to be challenging in trying to find a woman to spend the rest of his life with.  

I can relate to this man in ways others cannot. I married a girl from a different culture. My wife is from Germany and there are a lot of differences between her and I. I remember when we started dating some of my family members told me it would be a hard road and that there would be a lot of differences between us compared to marrying somebody with in my own culture.  At the time I didn’t think much of it and didn’t really take it into consideration, but there was definitely some truth to what was said.  

The first year of marriage was challenging for me just with cultural change. Not only did I marry somebody from Germany but I also moved to her hometown in Germany and lived there for two years. It was extremely hard for me to get used to the change in culture and differences. Now I have a completely different outlook. I love having a multicultural relationship.

In the close of Ngoc’s talk he gives a bunch of positives to why we should be in an intercultural relationships. The biggest one that stood out to me is that if engaged in an intercultural relationship, you can discover an entire new world.  This was so true to me and my relationship. I had no idea how different Europe is from the United States. It has opened my eyes and given me so much more knowledge, enjoyment, and travel opportunities than I could imagine.  

Yodanis, Lauer, and Ota (2012) talked about how they did many studies with interviews where they asked participants about ethical relationships. They found that people sought out intercultural romantic relationships because of the difference in culture rather than in spite of them.  They also found that actively seeking cultures from oneself helps reduce homophily. 

This study helps us understand that a lot of people actually choose to be in intercultural relationships just for the advantage of the other person being from a different culture. I think if both parties go into a relationship knowing that cultural differences have positives and negatives they will find that the positives will outweigh the negatives.

Hafenbrack, Eastwick, Maddox, and Galinsky (2017) talked  about the positives in having intercultural relationships in the workplace.  They do multiple studies to test this theory.  They did  a study on how intercultural dating relates to creativity in the workplace. They actually had subjects start dating during this study. The results found were that participants having dated people from other cultures has superior creativity performance. 

I can totally see how this is an accurate study. I feel that having two different minds that may think completely different opens up opportunities for enhance creativity. If people that are in the same culture and think similarly may not come up with as many creative ideas.  I can see how this would play is an advantage in the workplace environment and helping companies progress and come up with new innovation.

I know for me in my life having my wife being able to look at situations differently than I do makes a huge impact on coming up with good solutions. There are a lot of times that the choices I make and how I make them are the right way, and the same goes for her. If I didn’t have her to look at things differently than I do I might be stuck in my own ways and never be as creative or come up with other solutions.

With all this being said I think it is important that we have intercultural relationships.  We may not have the opportunity to be in a culturally romantic relationship, but we definitely can increase our way of life by having relationships with others outside of our own culture.  I encourage all people to look at intercultural relationships as a positive thing. We need to look at it from the view as Ngoc did, we get to experience a whole new world.  Many people do not take advantage of this because of the stereotypes and taboos our own cultures create. If we can let them go and reach out and learn about other cultures, so many more opportunities and positive life experiences will come to us.

References 

Yodanis, C., Lauer, S., & Ota, R.(2012). Interethnic romantic relationships: enacting affiliative ethnic identities. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74(5), 1021. https://doi-org.ezproxy.uvu.edu/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.01005.x

Lu, J. G., Hafenbrack, A. C., Eastwick, P. W., Wang, D. J., Maddux, W. W., & Galinsky, A. D. (2017). “Going out” of the box: Close intercultural friendships and romantic relationships spark creativity, workplace innovation, and entrepreneurship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102(7), 1091–1108. https://doi-org.ezproxy.uvu.edu/10.1037/apl0000212.supp (Supplemental)

Tu, N. Tedx Talks. (2017, February 16) Interracial Romantic Relationships | Ngoc Tu | TEDxTCU. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO4q2c_d2TA&t=301s

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Post 7

Stereotyping has been something on my mind as of late.  I feel like this is something that I have been guilty of and am trying to improve on daily.  I have done some studying and research for our presentation for our presentation that was about stereotyping and prejudges.  

I think one of the biggest things for me was dealing with the stereotyping and prejudices while I was living in Europe.  I lived there a few years back and was amazed that there were more muslim people there than white people.  This was hard for me.  In the USA there are other races than white but I feel like we do not have may middle eastern living in our country.  I feel Europe has a lot more.  

To top it all of during my time living there, there were many terroist attacks that had me thinking bad on stereotyping.  I had to overcome that.  What helped me was making friends with many muslim people that I worked with.  My manager was middle eastern but from USA.  We became good friends.  I was shocked by home many other muslims were really amazing people.  I now have a better understanding of other people and how to they should be treated.  

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Power and Privilege

I think for me this week was something I noticed outside of class.  I would like to share an experience with you attending mediation in court.  For one of my other classes this semester I have to go be a mediator at court and help people on trial come to a mutual agreement and settle. I got t witness some interesting things and definitely different power and privilege.  Im not able to fully talk about the circumstances and what happened during court but there were some definite power and privilege advantages going on.  I feel like these are things we cannot avoid and no matter how hard we want things to be equal, one party or the other is going to have more privilege or power.  My heart goes out to those that may be treated with less power and privilege.  

I think to help with this we all need to be more aware of how we are speaking and acting.  I think from time to time we all think we might deserve more privilege or feel we have more power.  I think it is important to make everyone feel equal and excepted. 

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Privilege

To me this is something I really had not thought about much since we talked about it in class.  I really had not thought much about how being white in our society would effect my privilege.  I guess never thought much about others having less privilege than me.  I think I viewed everyone equally but thats not how society treats them.  I always see how different minority races on the news get discriminated against or treated differently than maybe a white person would in that situation.  I have been keeping an eye out for it and I see it now more often.  It feels kind of weird to think that I get more privilege even when others don’t.  It kind of makes me feel weird and sad.  Its hard to explain for me how I truly feel.  

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Identity

What is Identity?  How important is Identity?  Is identity the same as a belonging?  These are some of the questions I have been thinking about lately.  I have been reading the Book “Braving he Wilderness” by Brene Brown.  It goes into great depth about belonging.  I think Identity and belonging can be one in the same.

Identity can be something as obvious as I am American, or a male.  I suppose to that definition of identity its easy to identify a few things about myself, but is that really my identity.  I think the obvious identifiers on the outside of people are masking what may truly identify them.

I believe we are all searching to find our place in this world, we all want to belong and feel important.  When I was in jr high school I remember feeling a lack of identity and a sense of belonging to something.  I had moved from a different school where I felt the complete opposite.  It was a new feeling for me and something I hated.  I remember eating my lunch at the far end of the school.  Id come home and cry to my partents because I had no friends and nobody wanted to take the time to get to know me.

I noticed that there were clicks or factions that formed and what seemed like all the “cool” kids were a part of.  I noticed the most popular kids were all on the football team.  It seemed like they all had friends and hung out together.  I thought to myself if I could only be friends with them then I could find my place.  So I did what any kid would do…I joined the football team the following season.  It turned out to be an experience that shaped somewhat of my childhood and life today.

I hated the football team.  I dreaded the practices and the games.  I hated playing the sport.  The worst part about it was my parents wouldn’t let me quit.  I had to stick it out the whole season.  I saw the real side of these kids and the lessons the coaches taught.  I quickly realized I didn’t want to be a part of that culture.  I realized a lot of my team mates were someone I didn’t want to be friends with.  I will say that I did make some friends, and some I am still friends with today.  But It didn’t give me that sense of belonging or identity I was hoping for.  I wanted that Hollywood football player story that gets the cheerleader and is popular.  That never happened.

The point I want to make is we all need to find our own identity deep down inside.  Somehow find a way to belong to ourselves.  We need to love ourselves.  Our identity’s change based on the paths we choose and the directions we move through life.  I think many of us just believe if we can get “this” I will be this or that.  If I can just have this job I will be successful, or if I can get 1,000 likes on my instagram posts I will be something.  From my life experiences true identity comes with the ability to realize we are allowed to be ourselves and become something we are happy with.  It’s not about the world and how they see us.  True happiness comes within and accepting our self and owning where we belong and how we identify.

I have not started my service learning project yet.  I am still waiting to hear back from some of the places.  I will email them this week. I am really excited to start working with the refugees.  I think it will be a great experience.

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Language

I really enjoyed the video Babakieuria,  It was such an interesting take on perspective.  At first I was really confused about what was going on they I realize what point they were getting across.  Its really interesting to see how backwards culture portrayed  in the video made me think about what was happening.  I think seeing white people as the minority is different, since I’m white and for most place I have lived am the majority.  I never really thought about how being a minority might be compared to the majority.

On Tuesday we listened to our first group presentation.  I really enjoyed the groups lesson and what they talked about. The African American culture and language is very different than the standard white American’s.  As I was listening to the presentation I couldn’t help to think about my past place I have lived and the different language they speak.  I had the opportunity to live in the ghetto amongst the African American culture.  I lived there for 5 months deep in the projects.  It was a huge learning experience for me.  I was serving a mission for the LDS church at the time and we had many responsibilities and goals to achieve with the people.  We wanted to help bring light into others lives.  I was really surprised by how the majority of people were very religious and strong church goers.

We talked a lot about coding in class.  I had to change the way I talked to get my points across and the respect I deserved.  I found the way I talked normally was not accepted or respected as much as others.  So overtime I learned to talk to people in that culture.  It made a huge difference to the way perceived me.  I felt more respected and heard.  I never remember making a conscious effort to do this but I did.  Its amazing how our brains work.  Listening to the lesson and understanding coding just put a definition to something I had already learned but didn’t know.

Language is so important in every aspect to live.  We need to be able to talk the right language to get our message across and also to hear others.  Having many tools in our language and communication will help us be better human beings.

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Power

I have really enjoyed this class this semester.  I really like that the class is a safe space to talk about sensitive maters having to do with culture.  I really like that we can tackle and talk about political correctness in an educational way that helps understand the different ways it is appropriate to communicate to each other and other cultures we may not be familiar with.  I really like the diversity in our class as well.  I am a white male and I really value the thoughts from my other classmates that might be of other race, gender, or another diverse background other than mine.  

“Power Matters” was a fun read.  Im not sure why all my classes sync up, but the past week all of my professors have been giving lectures on Power.  I think this is a really interesting topic and something that can be dove into deeply.  I really think power matters and is important to have.  We need power in our own lives and with others to accomplish goals and tasks.  Without it nothing would get done. 

With that being said I do think that Power can be a negative thing as well.  If people are using power to negatively influence or effect someone else, this can be where power is destructive.  I think many people use power to do this.  Doing that can be very hurtful and damaging to relationships.  

I think power also can given to others.  Sometimes in my own life I find it refreshing to not have the power.  Having the power all the time can be stressful and exhausting.  I think the most important thing is knowing yourself and knowing when it’s time to have the power and let someone else have the power.  This will help build more meaningful relationships and be better communicators.  

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Post 1 First 3 Weeks

It has been a fun first few weeks of class.  I have learned a lot.  I have a lot of cross culture communication experience, so learning from class topics has put some good education behind what I have experienced.  

My Name is Aaron and I am 31 years old.  I am a senior this year and can’t wait to get my bachelors comm degree.  I have lived all over the world and enjoy traveling and seeing different walks of life.  In my free time I enjoy fly fishing, photography, and hanging with friends and family.  

As I mentioned above I have a lot of cross cultural communication experience.  In 2014 I married my wife, she is from Germany.  She has lived there her whole life.  We met when she was a foreign exchange student in USA.  Our first 3 years of marriage we lived in Germany while she finished her Bachelors degree.  

I got to experience so much wonderful culture.  I was able to travel all over Europe and meet people from all over the world.  Communication was very hard for me in many aspects.  Not only learning another language but just the way they communicate.  

One of the biggest differences between Germans and Americans is bluntness.  Germans don’t sugar coat anything.  If you did a bad job they tell you.  If your food tastes gross they tell you.  I feel like in America we are conscious about others feelings and will sometimes sugar coat or lie so others do not get offended.  

These weeks in class have rang so true to me about how the different cultures communicate.  It might be as simple as sugar coating something.  Needless to say it took me a long time to build up the thick skin to not get offended and realize thats just how they are.  My wife hates how Americans sugar coat everything and I’m not sure if she will ever get used to that.  

I really wish I would have taken this class before moving to Germany.  It would have helped me understand the cultures better and how to better understand how each culture communicates differently.