Shiraev and Levy (2017) defined culture as “a set of attitudes, behaviors, and symbols shared by a group of people and usually passed down from one generation to the next (p. 4), which extended my own understanding of culture beyond that of a familial background. I simply thought that, culturally wise, I was just a German/American; my mom was a first generation from German and my father was a many generation from who knows where.
I have fondness for both the German flag, as well as the American flag, though growing up I was careful who I told about my half German ethnicity after being asked if I was a Nazi one too many times. It was nice knowing information about German beyond that of World War II and the Nazi’s, to be able to understand that they were a very accepting and no bull crap people compared to most Americans. I do believe that America holds more of a traditional culture than that of Germany, though with each generation of Americans we’re heading more towards a more nontraditional culture.
I says this because Shireav and Levy (2017) define traditional culture as “as cultures that are base largely on beliefs, rules, symbols, and principles established predominantly in the past, confided in local or regional boundaries, restricting an mostly intolerant to social innovations” and America tends to have a hard to accepting new things (such as gay marriage) or the undertone of racism that still thrives today. America may be moving towards a more nontraditional culture as the generation’s progress, but I don’t think we’re completely there yet.
American cling to religion being part of government as witnessed, in my opinion, to this last election and hearing individuals of the older generation saying that Trump is bring God back. Though I admit that my belief that Germany is more nontraditional than American could be a representative bias on my part due to the fact that I’ve only experienced that of America’s reaction to certain events that have recently happened here and hearing from German native individuals that Germany has not such bias’s again the LBGT group that we do here in America.
I believe my bias on this matter has a lot to do with the fact that I also consider myself to be a member of the LGBT (or gay) culture that has emerged these last couple of decades with the more acceptance of homosexuality, well in terms that there’s a little less killing or rather law wise that is considered a hate crime, and the legal knowledge that an individual could be put in jail may be what is lessening the killing. Whether that’s a true correlation or not, I honestly don’t know for an absolute fact, but I do strongly believe that to be true anyways and until given facts otherwise will continue to think that.
However, I’m not sure if I’ll apply the assimilation bias or distorting the information on the matter to figure my belief (Shiraev and Levy, 2017). I’ve experienced first hand the reaction people have to me being gay, such as “you don’t look like a lesbian” to “you’re a lesbian because you haven’t found the right guy,” so I imagine that makes me really bias in regards to America being traditional on the believes of gay individuals and how it is sinful and wrong.
I did not have any of these experience with my tiny ten months living in Germany, so my thinking on this matter could be part of the belief perseverance effect, which even if told that Germans did the same thing as Americans on the homophobia matter I would still hold very strongly to belief on the matter even after being faced with contradictory or disconfirming information (Shiraev and Levy, 2017). I do believe it is possible to be a member of multiple cultures, as I see myself as being within three different ones.
I feel it would be much harder, in this day and age for an individual to be of only one culture with how connected the world is today. It would be especially hard here in America where it is a complete melting pot of all kinds of different people and cultures; i. e. Hispanics, Germans, Italians, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, British, Swedish and so on, to name a few. The roots of America is that of different peoples coming together, first for religious freedom then for the ability to pave your own path, the American Dream if you will.
However, even though America is that of a melting pot, outside country could have the schema, that is a preconceived or general expectation (Shiraev and Levy, 2017), that most Americans are from European decent. Identity developing wise, it could be hard to apply yourself to that of your family’s background and the identity that comes with being American, especially if you’ve never been outside of America.
I can say that even though I identified strongly to both cultures, growing up my parents had me study and learn all things to do with Germany, I wasn’t at all prepared for the actual lifestyle and over all culture that Germany had. I was so use to the fast pace of America; fast foods, stores opened late, stores open during the holidays and fast ‘get the hell out when you’re done’ service. Everything was slowed down there, more laid back, no amount of hearing about or reading about could have prepared me for the massive cultural differences both countries had.
I learned within those ten months that I considered myself part of the German culture, but I was defiantly an American national. I believe that there are only a few places that an individual could only be of one culture and that is indigenous groups, which are protected from international or national laws (Shiraev and Levy, 2017), and North Korea, which is just cut off from the world and in their own little bubble. The North Korean belief could be based off availability heuristic because that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think about that country (Shiraev and Levy, 2017).
The hardest adjustment change, identity wise, would be an individual coming from a collectivistic country like Japan to an individualistic country like America. America is hardcore me and my family first, and maybe possibly that family over there if we have the money or want to help them out (Shiraev and Levy, 2017). It’d be a sever culture shock in that you don’t have the community that one would find in an collectivistic society where the beliefs one has or religion or values are shared (Shiraev and Levy, 2017) and people are more likely than not to help others in their community out no matter the problem.
Even the other way around would be as rough on an American in Japan, I think. Neither would really understand what the people in that country could act in the matter that they do. Maybe an American would wonder how the Japanese shared so many similar values and such because where they came from there was so many different perspectives on anything and everything. Whereas on the other hand, the Japanese would wonder how an individual could be so selfish in the way they act for only themselves or their immediate families.
Research wise, all this mixture and impact that such connection people can have internationally could make it hard to make a study on just one specific culture. Depending on where they chose to do their research that culture could have been introduced and intermingled another culture to their own. Further complicating things, like here in America, you’ll have an individual with Arabic parents but grew up in the United States. That individual could mish mashed both cultures into their own identity, in which they do not have one culture that shows more than the other, but a combination of both.