This week we have started to delve into the influences of our own cultures and the roles they play within our lives. There are numerous ways in which individuals can express their personality—it comes down to where they have learned these characteristics. In our text, Diversity, Oppression, and Change, it states “Cultural norms are values and beliefs that influence the attitudes and behaviors of members of different cultural groups” (Marsiglia, 180). You can learn these norms from your parents, relatives, professors, friends, coworkers or any other individual in your life. One can infer that it is sometimes up to the individual who is expressing a chosen behavior to decide which values to hold onto.
There are numerous norms within my life that I have held onto while growing up. I was always told to be polite when first meeting someone—a handshake was a must. I was always told to be on time when meeting someone—punctuality was something you had to take into consideration. Holding a steady job was a must—doing the best at each task would ensure this. When going out you should be presentable— you should always check your appearance before leaving your home. While reading these norms that I was raised with one could assume that my home was a strick one. These tasks were all normal to me because they were values that have been passed down in my home. They were tasks that I saw my parents doing so I learned them at a young age. I never thought of these tasks as something that have been passed down because they are things that I do on a daily basis.
This week in class we had our reflection on our heritage due. By doing this assignment I can see numerous aspects of the values in my family that I express today. I came from a small, but bluntly honest, Italian family. There are several little things that my grandparents did that I can see within my own life. My grandparents lived in a small town, Palermo, Sicily, and always found the little things to be the most rewarding. My grandparents were people who loved to go to markets and bring home something new for dinner, which always was a production in itself. Although I don’t cook a whole 3 course meal each day I love to go to the local farmers market and learn how to cook something new to go along with my pasta. Did I mention pasta is a huge staple in my life(another thing that has been passed down from my grandparents)? I was also named after my grandmother, Sarah Amato, which is another value you can see within my family. You can see this in numerous families across the world with having names be passed down through generations. It is a traditional that will be around for centuries to come for hope of not losing touch with their ancestors.
This week I have learned not only about diversity and inequality but the aspects of what make up who we are as individuals. There are many things that I have taken in my life for granted without ever looking at where the root of them started. I now have a new respect for my grandparents and traditions that they wanted to keep in the family. I hope to pass along in my own my heritage in order for my children to see the life that our ancestors lived.
Rothenberg, Paula. "Oppression." Race, Class, and Gender In The United States. Eighth Edition ed. New York: Worth Publishers, 2010. 151. Print.
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