Running head: AMERICAN HISTORY 1
AMERICAN HISTORY 6
Introduction to World
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Introduction to World
1. Please write about what you think are the main cultural adjustments an immigrant (legal or illegal) would have to deal with in the U.S. If you have had any significant experiences with immigrants, what do you know of their stories?
The most difficult obstacle for both legal and illegal immigrants is language. I think that the U.S. government should be more attentive to this issue by opening free schools and language courses for immigrants. One more important step is to explain basic elements of the U.S. culture: holidays, food, customs, and traditions in general.
I had an experience with Chinese from Hong Kong who had problems with American food. Food is also a part of national identity; that is why immigrants often look for traditional restaurants. I explained to him why Americans love hamburgers and how to make them properly. This example proves that some obvious things can be a real challenge for immigrants.
2. Please write about any experience you may have had in trying to adjust to a different culture. What issues did you face and how did you deal with them? Examples could include: when you or your family had to move to a new area (even in the U.S.), when you entered the working world or changed jobs, or entered military service, etc.
My experience of cultural adaptation relates to our familys moving from the big city to the small town. The most surprising thing was that our neighbors tried to become friends with us even if we did not want that. For example, more than ten people with pies have been visiting our house for two days, and we did not know what to do with them, so we decided to offer them coffee or tea. In fact, those people just showed their hospitality, not asking for a visit. There were many examples of adjusting to this new culture, but even the abovementioned case shows how difficult it is to perceive culture if a person does not belong to it.
Questions from the Textbook
3. What markedly different assumptions about child rearing did the author have to confront when she came to the Unites States from the Philippines?
The ideas of autonomy and independence are the basis of American child rearing. There was a situation when one woman tried to convince the author that her daughter should start to drive a car, since it was necessary for her life. Moreover, Amparo B. Ojeda was surprised that there was no barrier between children and adults, and thus they called their elders by first names.
4. If you could choose between the American or the Philippine life-style, which would you choose and why?
I would choose the U.S. lifestyle, since there is more freedom and independence. Children should learn to be independent in order to have a better chance for socialization according to existing cultural values. Furthermore, the lack of barriers between children and parents does not cause psychological discomfort, and both of them are more open with each other.
5. Are there child-rearing practices to which you were subjected that appeared arbitrary or were they well-founded? Describe your experiences.
American lifestyle allows children to do many things because this is the essence of freedom. Despite this fact, every action has its own responsibility, so the life of children does not differ from the life of adults. My parents usually just ordered me to do something without any explanation. Such education leads to problems because the child cannot recognize how the world works. As a result, I still perform some things because everyone does it though do not understand why.
6. Why was it is so important for the military to stage an art show in Doura, Iraq?
The military wanted to stage an art show as an independent space of hostilities. The artists created their sculptures, performances, and installations, rethinking various social problems there. In fact, the art location was a center of entertainment in the most destructive city, so it distracted the army from the war.
7. How does Van Buren use quotations from military outlets to suggest the one-side reporting that goes on?
The author uses citations in a special way, contrasting the official report with the reality. For example, generals words seem false and absurd at the background of the bombed-out city and the art show. Therefore, the quote shows that the official report does not coincide with what the reporter saw in Doura.
8. In what respects is the American guest for acceptance in Iraq akin to the culture shock Amparo B. Ojeda experienced?
The author describes many episodes, but one of them is the spread of pigs in the region. Since American soldiers eat pork, unlike the Muslims, the farmers intensely began to raise pigs. The pig population grew uncontrolled, and they began to destroy crops in the region. This episode is a metaphor because it reminds Christians dominance in ancient times. Nevertheless, for Van Buren, the biggest culture shock was the art show, which was a place for parties and leisure in the midst of the ruined city.
9. Identify the thesis and main arguments for one of the articles above. Identify its strengths and weaknesses (e.g. credibility, persuasiveness, clarity, etc.). Would you recommend this article to others? Defend your answer.
The thesis of Ojedas article is that American children differ from others in their open, direct, and independent behavior. It means that American kids do not always consult with parents, they make decisions by themselves, and, therefore, learn to be independent and free. As a result, American culture focuses on independence and autonomy of an individual, not on traditions and humility as it often happens in the Philippines.
The article is clear and accurate because the author gives real examples from her life, comparing them with the life in the Philippines. The situation with a car seems convincing and shows two different traditions in the same episode. However, the article is not persuasive enough, since separate examples do not indicate the whole cultural paradigm in the U.S. Thus, sometimes the authors conclusions are exaggerated, especially about childrens behavior in the restaurant. In fact, many American parents control their kids in public space, and the described situation would have never occurred with such families. Nevertheless, I recommend this article for immigrants and anthropologists because the author has spent many years in the U.S. and observed its culture from the inside.
10. Based on your own cultural experiences/reality, write about (a) the roles you associate with the terms man and woman; (b) how you perceive those roles have changed in your lifetime, especially in the raising of children; and, (b) what prejudices, if any, have you observed regarding women in American culture? What is a glass ceiling? Is it real?
According to my experience, men and women perform opposing roles in society. If a man is associated with an active and successful person, a woman does not necessarily meet such criteria. I thought that the main role of a woman was to support a man in his career. However, I have reinterpreted this stereotype, and now I believe that both sexes should be involved in the education of children. Also, the most common prejudice in American culture is that a successful woman is usually a single person who has no children.
A glass ceiling is a metaphor that shows the inevitable limits of a womans career growth that mostly relate to sex but not to her professional duties. I suppose that it is still real, since many employers decide to work with men because they can dedicate more time and never go on maternity leave.
11. Most cultures have customs designed to deal with key life cycle events such as birth, puberty, marriage, retirement, and death. Please identify and write about what could be considered one American custom for each of those life cycle events.
One of the most significant cycle events is the birth of a child. Parents carefully select furniture, toys, clothing, and other accessories, and then make a party for all relatives and friends. As for puberty, when a girl turns sixteen, she has a sweet sixteen birthday party with her friends. People deliberately prepare for marriage, and guests must be present at the wedding and stay until the end of the celebration. A successful retirement has a role when someone can be a volunteer or activist and participate in various social activities. In the U.S., a memorial process usually takes place in a funeral house, although it may take place in a church. When someone learns about death, he or she comes to the house and usually pays respect to the dead person.