Essay on French Culture

Submitted By dlheureux
Words: 2224
Pages: 9

Critical thinking; my own cultures past

Can my culture truly be defined?
Hofstede defined culture as the “collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others” He referred to mental programming in order to explain patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting (Matsumoto & Juang, 2013). The definition of culture can and always will be defined in many ways. To some, your culture is based from your background, your lifestyle, and the way you behave. To others, culture is defined as a history, a belonging, and a simple entitlement to all of your relatives past. For me, culture is all of the above, and more. My culture belongs to my family by relation, and to the things I have learned personally in my lifetime.
Family Cultural Background
My paternal grandparents descended from two areas: France and Poland. My grandmother was French native and lived in the country until the age of 25 when she married my grandfather, who traveled to France from Poland for education. Around age 30 they immigrated to Canada and shortly after started a life the Washington area in the United States. In the early 50’s they had my Father, the second youngest of five boys and one girl. They grew up catholic, in a small town outside of Seattle. My family would go to a small school each day and practice Catholicism. Eventually as everyone went to college, they each dropped the native religion. My father and Uncle traveled back to France, Germany, and Poland to enrich themselves in their own European cultures. My Grandmother never let on very much about her childhood in France, and she never taught her native language to her children. Sometime in the late 80’s my parents met in the middle of Seattle. My mother had traveled north for business, leaving behind her precious hometown of Laguna Beach, California. My mother grew up on the beach side, living and breathing the California air since born back in the late fifties. My grandmother and grandfather on my mom’s side came to America from Puerto Rico. I just found this out! For my entire life I have identified with my white-European descent, and been proud of it! I admit to being a bit shocked upon hearing the other side of my heritage. For the majority of my childhood I identified those of Spanish tongue to be somewhat of a lesser culture. I think I learned to feel this way because of where I personally grew up. You see, after my mom grew up under a strong-tongued household, she took a big interest in her business career. I went to private school while she worked all day as a kid, and could be found in daycare afterwards on weekdays. I grew up slightly snobby, in a suburb outside of San Francisco, California. Halfway through my childhood we moved to a new rural area and I succumbed to a more normalistic lifestyle that was more accepting of various races and histories. I went to school with minorities and learned to behave like a normal kid. When I was told that I’m part Puerto Rican, I had to learn to change some of my ways of thinking. It can be a real challenge! Apparently my grandmother was born in Puerto Rico and immigrated here when she was seven. She went to school and grew up as more of an American girl and has left her Spanish descent in the past. It was interesting to learn about that part of my life because you can see that ethnicity in my looks and talents. Upon obtaining that information I decided it was time to research more about my cultural past.
My Family’s Nature of Health and Illness
Today my family seems relatively free of illness. We are blessed to have the health that we do. On each side of my family, there is history of diabetes, though not genetically passed down in any way. The most prominent disease my background has encountered is the genetic mutation for addiction. Drug use has taken a large toll on my entire extended family. As alcohol and tobacco use has always been a prominent piece of culture in France and