This is a question that I kept asking myself while doing research and gathering all my information. Sitting down, and jotting my ideas for my research paper made me realize that this is a question that I really took into depth. It’s important to come into a sense of who you really are, and what influences around you have helped you develop your personal cultural identity. According to our book, “identity basically refers to the reflective views of ourselves and other perceptions of our self-images”(p. 244). If this is true then we live in the product of our values.
For many years’ scholars have been working on many cultural patterns typologies and taxonomies to help in recognizing and comprehending different cultural values. Typologies and taxonomies are both two approaches that are used for classification. I will be addressing two out of the seven valuable taxonomies, Kohl’s, list and values Americans live by, and Hofstede’s set of value dimensions. With these two classifications I will write about my personal culture identity, the intercultural event that I attended, and apply taxonomy to the intercultural event and my culture as well.
Understanding our personal cultural identity is very important. It is something that we develop throughout the years. Every individual throughout the world has their own unique identity and culture.“ Identity is an abstract, complex, dynamic, and socially constructed concept”( Samovar, L. A). Our culture makes up our identity and throughout the years our beliefs values, and behaviors start shaping our identity. My culture identity is Mexican-American. I’m the youngest out of all my siblings, and the only one born in U.S territory. I was born in the city of San Diego, California but my family was originally from Tijuana, Mexico. My mom and dad are 100% Mexican, but since I was born in the U.S that makes me Mexican-American. My personal cultural identity can be seen through food, family structure, music, nationality, ethnicity, generation,norms, and religion.
From my childhood I remember my mom being religious, but not my dad. My dad was always busy with school and trying to find ways for a family to be financially wealthy. My mom was really into her religion each housing that we would move into my mom would always have a priest to come, and bless it and sprinkle holy water. Since my mom was very religious my sister and brothers where baptized, had to do first communion, and were confirmed. I only got baptized as a baby but I never did my first communion or was confirmed. As we grew up we weren’t really encouraged to play sports.
My mom’s only suggestion for me was Karate because she thought that would teach me discipline, but honestly it just made me feel more powerful. I was always fighting at school, and my mom was trying to find a solution. As time went on my mom was no longer a catholic and started walking with Christ. She later changed her beliefs/religion, and now she identifies herself to be Christian. The religion that was introduced the most to me was Christianity. As I grew older I made the choice to follow Christ. I had a really rough adolescents. The group that I chose to be part of brought no good to my life or my family. My mother always corrected me and would let me know what was right from wrong. Without even realizing what my parents where portraying is something that was passed down from there generation to me.
That was only a life experience and now here I am. The culture that I grew up makes up my morals, and religion. I’m a huge believer that God hears my prayer, so I rely heavily on prayer. 1 John 1:9 says “ If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ” As other religions attend mosques, synagogues, I attain my church every Sunday to worship the Lord.
Although culture and communication have a high influence on each other, the impact of these changes is emulated in people’s communication behavior. Culture affects communication because of people’s different perceptions, past experiences, and cultural background. I find that in my culture, culture affects communication in verbal language styles, slangs, refusals, formality, inverted question marks, and groups.
For example, in my heritage we normally communicate indirectly. Mexicans are often considered indirect communicators. What this means is that at times we take longer to respond to things which might make us seem rude. Also when ask something instead of answering with a yes or no we normally say let me see what I can do. This is because we fail to communicate directly. We don’t like confrontation, and we avoid conflict. Where as I can say in my American culture I rather be direct so that things wont be misinterpreted.
In our book in the taxonomy value of Kohls it points out that kim says that, “there are similar characteristics that all Americans share, regardless of their age, race, gender, or ethnicity.” (p.206). So Americans believe it or not share similar characteristics to a Mexican heritage. For example, change, time and its control, equality/egalitarianism, individuality and privacy, self-help, and many more. Time is valuable in American and Mexican culture. My mother use to always say, “ Andale, el tiempo es oro,” which it translates to hurry up time is gold. This would be a valuable characteristic that these two culture share among each other.
As far as personal cultural identity I feel that this is a constant battle developing a concept of what identifies you.
Finding a cultural event wasn’t easy for me. In fact I felt that we had less time to plan something because it was such a short-term class. I would have really liked to attend an actual event or I even would have paid for a professional tour. This would have been awesome because then I could have taken down good notes, and ask my tourist questions. I actually really did enjoy this intercultural district because it took me out of my hometown.
I got see new things and symbolism. With such little time to plan I decided to go to Little Tokyo, in Los Angeles, California. Little Tokyo Japan is located right in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. It was a very long drive for me but well worth it. This had been my first time visiting here. What I found really interesting is that there’s a piece of Japan in America. There are very few towns of Japan here in the U.S. The three officially Japanese towns that are recognized are located in San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I have now officially visited two of the three Japanese towns which are, San Francisco/Los Angeles.
I arrived in little Tokyo around 3:30 p.m do to work and the famous hectic Los Angeles traffic. Once I arrived there I really felt a nice vibe it wasn’t to crowded and it was easy to get around. This Japanese American district is known to have the highest Japanese American inhabitants in North America. Little Tokyo district is more of a place to shop, and try foods.
The purpose of little Tokyo is to give Americans a perspective of what Japanese culture is all about. There is a lot of cultural offering among this district like Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, but I got there to late and most of the other attractions were closed. There are Japanese restaurants that are known for there cuisine and restaurants that have been around for many years. For example the Shabu Shabu House where you get to cook your own food. The line was pact so I didn’t get to have dinner here. It’s insane how some people will wait up to two hours to dine in here.
So I kept it Mexican American, and ended up eating a Torta. Which is a large sandwich with meat. While I was on my adventure I did have a chance to glance at what other people where eating. I’m not sure what a Japanese plate is supposed to look like but in my opinion the food looked very Americanized, dry, and gross. One thing that I really wanted to try was Mochi Ice cream. I have heard many things about Mochi. Acquaintances have told me that it is very good, and that it’s nothing like I have ever tasted. So I went ahead and visited Mikawaya Mochi ice cream and I tried the strawberry Mochi it was almost as if I was eating a gummy. I did see several public sculptures along the little Tokyo District. One that I saw was space shuttle Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka monument. He is known as a Japanese American astronaut.
As far as little Tokyo I feel that I can make comparisons with my culture just like they have a plaza so do we in Mexico and here in the United states. The plaza here in America woud be known as the mall, and the food court, In Mexico there is also plaza, but they are mostly referred to as tianguis, and swap meets. We don’t sale sushi outside although you could find sushi in Mexico I don’t recommend it. Here in Japan Mochi seems to be the number one thing to try. In my Counrty the number onw thing to try I would probably say pan dulce. Just like Little Tokyo had a lot of animae and culturally based accesorues so does a Mexican culture. If you go you will see Calaveras which are skulls.
Lets go into detail on Hofstedes value dimensions come from. Dutch social Psychologist Geer Hofstedes came up with a model , the 6 dimensions of national culture(Hofstedes). The six dimensions are individualism/collectivism, Uncertainty avoidance, power distance, Masculinity/feminity, and long and shor-term orientation.
I really would have loved to attend the Nisel week festival parade that goes on in every August. Nisei means 2nd generation.