Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Reflecting upon our April 8th, 2010 class I have found some interesting things about how peoples’ social identity in gender and
peoples’ ethnography are related.

After watching a movie about Giddy Worm, the class broke into groups to discuss each other’s ethnography. The main point that I got out of this video is that when working with clients as social workers we need to work with client’s culture and how the client views their culture or in this case one’s ethnography. However, like in many other cases that we have recognized this year, we need to know ourselves first. To do this the class broke into groups to discuss our ethnography. Ethnography, as defined in class, is the study of a particular culture or group to try to understand the culture from the perspective of its members.

When I was thinking of my own ethnography I realized that it related back to my social identity as a woman, what my gender roles are as woman, and how I am always doing gender roles. People are doing gender even when we talk! Gender roles in communication are what Deborah Tannen calls “Genderlect Styles.” Generlect is, “A term suggesting that masculine and feminine styles of discourse are best viewed as two distinct cultural dialects” (Griffin 430).

In my life I did not know how much gender roles affected me in my everyday life and how much gender roles are linked to one’s ethnography. For instance, when communicating with the opposite sex, I often found myself having gender roles in my conversation or Genderlect. I often used the term, “I’m sorry” for a situation, such as when the person I talked to has had a bad day. Men thought I meant “I’m sorry” as an actual apology when really it was not. This distinction of “I’m sorry,” is one of the Genderlect distinctions
suggested by Deborah Tannen.

In my communications with people I have constantly participated in gender roles without knowing it. This communication is seen all over in American culture and therefore is part of the American ethnography. From our Rothenberg book, I also found gender roles to be part of our ethnography when Author Judith Lober says: "Everyone does gender without thinking about it…Gender is such a familiar part of daily life that it usually takes a deliberate disruption of our expectations of how women and men are supposed to act to pay attention to how it is produced. Gender signs and signals are so ubiquitous that we usually fail to note them—unless they are missing or ambiguous." (Rothenberg & Lober 54)

Having gender roles in communication is something that is a part of peoples’ daily encounters with others, which is linked to peoples’
social identity of gender and peoples’ Ethnographies.

Griffin, Em. A First Look at Communication Theory. 7th. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.
Rothenberg, P.S. & Lober, L. Night to his day the social construction
of gender. 8th. New York, Ny: Worth Publishers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Society Run by Technology and Control

Recently we were talking about cultural assumptions and values. Our society today is rushed and is constantly putting pressure on its people to be successful. When filling out the “Summary of Cultural Assumptions and Values” sheet, I found myself marking entries related to how our society is fast paced, stressful, goal driven, and achievement is everything.
The recent episode with the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano demonstrated our dependence on machines. This tiny island in the middle of basically nowhere put a stop to a large sector of the global community and global economy. It is obvious that our society values money. The television coverage of this volcanic eruption spoke often of the millions and even billions of dollars lost by the airlines, travel industries, agricultural products and more. Businesses are in a panic worrying about the cost of business expenses for employees stranded in many European cities. These employees are costing the company money, but they are not conducting any business transactions nor making sales for the company. Essentially, they are on an all expenses paid vacation from the company. What is the driving force in our society? It is to achieve success and make money whether for yourself or the company you work for. European governments and many businesses are upset because they could not control the situation. We like to think we can control nature and become frustrated when we must submit to fate. The dominant US culture has continued to believe that we can wrap nature around out fingers and tame it. As we continue to do this we only hurt nature more and more. How many people will lose their job because their solution to the suspending of air traffic ended up costing the company money? The eruption of this volcano has only shown that we do not have control over everything especially nature.

Stewart, E.C., Danielian,J., & Foster, R.J. (1998). In M.J. Bennet (Ed.). Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: A reader. (pp. 157-172). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press (Selections)

Stewart, E. C., & Bennett, M. J. (1991). Perception of self (CH 7). In American cultural patterns: A cross-cultural perspective (Rev. ed),(pp. 129 - 148). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press (Selections)


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gender Roles within Society

While in class and while learning about gender made me realize how important it is within our society. It was never brought to my attention that gender has its very own big role. I have always viewed gender as something that’s very complex, a boy is a boy, and a girl is a girl. Our society everyday teaches little girls to be girls and little boys to be boys almost everywhere. A great example of that is on cards, which you can find anywhere at your local stores. The cards enforce and strictly make girls into stereotypical “girls” and boys into stereotypical “boys. Even before their births, during baby shower events parents receive cards for boy and girls which differentiate in many ways.

Not only do cards emphasize girls as “girls” and boys as “boys”, television shows do too. As younger kids are growing up, our television shows prepare younger kids to attend school and be ready. However, in this case there are many shows and cartoons also differentiating the differences between males and females. Girls always wear pink or light colors with long hair or shoulder length hair with dolls, and boys are usually dressed in blue or dark solid colors. They are also shown to be bald with no hair. , Also, characters shows with short hair – who are seen as boys – are sometimes shown destroying materials. They make boys strong and tough, while they emphasize girls to be weak and sweet, always waiting to be rescued. Not only that, but girls make high screams when they are in fright and trying to escape danger. But for boys, they usually growl back and fight back. “Gender Socialization begins early as girls and boys are encouraged to act in different ways, play with different toys, and perform different chores around the house (like washing dishes rather than cutting the grass) and send a powerful early message about the gendered division of labor in the family.” (Marsiglia & Kulis, 2009, p. 67) Everywhere is being gender taught, whether you notice it or not, it’s everywhere.

Reference: Marsiglia, F. F. & Kulis, S. (2009). Diversity, oppression and change: Culturally grounded social work. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books, Inc.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

America: Only For White Immigrants? By Deidre

I am planning on going to Mexico next spring through this social work program, so I have been very interested with Mexico/USA relations. Today I heard something interesting while I was at work. An American man was murdered in Arizona by an illegal Mexican immigrant. So of course many people got angry at border patrol policies. Now people are putting up more fences on the Mexican border. Currently, there are hundreds of miles along the border that have no fence or security. The fences that they are putting up in some areas now look kind of like barn fences; made of a couple of planks and about three feet tall.
I have heard numerous comments and conversations throughout my life of people saying there needs to be more border patrol, but only on the Mexican border. This recent rush of new fences has made me think a lot about American opinions. I have never heard anyone say there needs to be more border patrol on the US/Canada border. Why is it that no one really cares who goes to or comes from Canada? Is this because most Canadians are white? Is it because the people of Mexico are, on average, poorer than the people of Canada? And why are Canadians considered American after only one generation, but Mexicans are always considered Mexican-American now matter how many generations of their ancestors have lived here?
There are also frequent comments such as “Mexicans take American jobs!” With this statement, I wonder many things. Why does no one say, “Canadians take American jobs!” or “British people take American jobs!” This brings me back to what we have talked about in class and read about in numerous articles. Does being “American” really mean “white”?
I don’t think so many people should be concerned about the Mexican border; after all, we are all people. All people deserve to live where they choose, isn’t that the American Dream? Or is that just the White Dream?


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Discrimination Against Obesity

While searching online through interesting articles I came across one that really stood out to me. The article is called “For Obese People, Prejudice in Plain Sight” found in the New York Times. It’s something that’s been brought to my attention a lot lately. People are all talking about how obesity is rising in America yet I haven’t heard much about obesity in the work place until now. The article goes on to explain people’s discriminatory actions, including this one said by Dr. Delos M. Cosgrove, who is a surgeon and a chief executive of the Cleveland Clinic. He told a New York Times Columnist that if he could legally get away with it, he would refuse to hire anyone who is obese. The moment I read that I was instantly appalled. If someone were to say the say the same thing only involving skin color, or sexual orientation, class status, or any other identities we learned about, he would probably be in huge trouble. But the comment was seen to be taken lightly which in my opinion isn’t okay. People seem to think that when people are obese, it’s all their fault and it’s more of a personal choice. This makes people think it’s okay to be more outspoken on the issue and say whatever they want to no matter how offensive it is, which in my opinion is really wrong.


-Nicole Gorr

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Self, the Person, and the Individual

During this week, we discussed about The Self, the Person, and the Individual. This discussion really amazed me a lot and furthered my thought about myself and how others think about themselves and the roles that we change or play in society.

We discussed about the different multiple selves that everyone has. According to information discussed in class, one of our multiple "selves" is "The Self", which is defined as the process of knowing and the one who is known. The use of Self, in Social Work is a very needed skill in applying it to others. Another related concept is "the Person". It is defined as the mask – Hiding the true you. We do not say “be true to your person” but instead “be true to yourself”. "Identity" is another concept of our multiple self. It signifies a close likeness to oneself. The last concept is the "Individual".

When talking about the Self, the Person, and the Individual, it makes me think about how everyone has more than one mask. One is your true self, the other in front of others, friends, co-workers, family, etc. When talking about being your true self, I believe that in each category that you put yourself into; you put a piece of yourself into those categories. Every day and every hour we put on masks in front of others. I feel that having multiple masks is a good thing to have in our society. We can be the silly person in front of friends and the serious at work. I remember during class discussion, Professor Rodenborg said that clients come in with different backgrounds and we need to understand where they are coming from. They may have different ways in trying to help solve the problems. We need to understand from their culture’s points of views that sometimes our way of our culture differs from theirs. It is like we have to put our mask into what they are seeing.

“In contrast, most cultures do not share our concepts. We may in fact be quite strange...” (Powerpoint)

Pang Khang