Surface and Shallow Culture
I grew up in a suburb or Dallas, Tx and there really wasn't much diversity at any of the schools I went to. My family is considered white, but we have some Greek, Irish and German in our family blood line. My family has been here for many generations and have pretty much all lived in the same region in Texas, aside from my Mother's side which is in Houston.
I would describe my family as middle to upper class. I do not know exactly what my parents make but I know I have always had everything I've needed and a lot of the things I've wanted. I got a car when I was 16 and my parents are paying for college. Both of my parents were fortunate enough to attend college. My Mom was the first on her side of the family to go, so it is a privilege to be able to attend a college myself.
Some of my family tradition include celebrating Christmas, Easter and Thankgiving with various members of my family. My family also goes to church together and we always would have family dinner of Wednesdays in High school because that was the only night everyone was home at the same time.
One of the sayings I always heard from my parents is my dicho, "It's okay to be moody, but not mean." As a young child I was very moody and that carried over into my early teen years. My mom new this was just a product of my age and always reminded me that it's okay to be in a bad mood but you always have to be kind and treat people with respect.
Some of the family stories that are told regularly to me and my brother are about my mom and dads upbringings. They both had a much more difficult childhood than we had and didn't have all the opportunities that I now have at my fingertips. We are told to be grateful and always accept opportunities that are offered to us because not everyone gets those chances.
My parents taught me to respect everyone because they are people and deserve to be treated like everyone else, but they also taught me that respect is earned. It is important to be kind to everyone, but that doesn't mean that you have to have respect for them.
I was taught to wear my emotions on my sleeve and to be honest about how I was feeling in different situations. As I have grown older, that has gotten more and more difficult for me. When you're young, you haven't experiences certain parts of the world or had situations that make it hard for you to be emotionally open. I think because of experiences I've had in my life, I am more empathetic to different emotions that people have and can see what they are feeling in a different light.
As a child and even a teenager I was not allowed to call adults by their first names. Now that I have moved away from home and I'm in college, I call adults by their first name if I have known them for a while or if they introduce themselves in that manner.
Some of the things that earned me praise as a child was being honest, kind, and doing what I was told. One of the biggest things that got me in trouble was lying or blatantly disrespecting the rules my parents had in place for me. I really liked to test the limits so I felt like I was in trouble a lot, but it has helped me in the future. I was allowed to question my parents in a respectful manner if I didn't understand why I was in trouble or why something was happening. I was never allowed to talk back or be disrespectful though.
When I was younger I think it was assumed that a "grown up" was a figure of authority and if they told you to do something, then you would do it. Now being older, my parents and people I know and respect are still authority figures to me, but I have been in situations where people my age and younger have been the ones in charge or giving the instruction.
Deep Culture: Reflections
When learning and "doing school", students should show motivation, respect for their peers and professors, and doing their best to be on task for the duration of the class period they are in. I also think collaboration is an important aspect of learning. Sometimes talking things out and hearing other people's opinions can make for the most meaningful learning. I think I came to believe this way based on my own schooling experiences. I am a kinestheitc and tactile learner so I discovered pretty early on that I enjoy working in groups.
Unfortunately I think that in today's society, there is a stigma of being individualistic. A lot of school work, activities, and jobs are individual and don't really require much out of a group. In other cultures and in different countries, a big emphasis is placed on working together and bettering other people as well as yourself. This may cause other ethnic groups to succeed more because they aren't only focused on personal gain. When people work together, they end up gaining much more than they thought they would and that applies throughout school, activities, jobs and life.
My culture taught me that in order to be considered "intelligent" you had to be the kind of person who was going to go to college and be a success. I think that is unfortunate because I know many people who don't have a degree that are incredibly intelligent based on their experiences and where their life has taken them. I do believe that some people are genetically smart and understand things easier than other people, but that doesn't mean that someone is born stupid. I think a lot of times people base intelligence on a person's SES. This isn't true though. Sure, people of a higher SES may have more opportunities to better their education but that doesn't mean that someone of a lower SES isn't smart and couldn't be successful.