United States and Life Learning Center Essay

Submitted By capps93
Words: 2184
Pages: 9

Imagine if you wanted to live out your dream, create something for your family and have a good life but cannot due to the country you live in. America is known to be the land of the free and opportunity, what does that really mean? Throughout this land we have countless cultures everywhere, but how did they get here? It may seem so easy and obtainable but do we really take the time to think about the struggle of those who try to live here but are not natives? Through personal conversations with friends of mine and miraculous people I met throughout volunteering, these questions will all be answered. Before the research even begins, the primary question at hand is what is culture?
David Matsumato, author of Culture and Psychology, claims, “Culture can be used to describe activities or behaviors, refer to the heritage or tradition of a group, describe rules and norms, describe learning or problems solving, define the organization of a group, or refer to the origins of a group. Furthermore, culture cam refer to general characteristics; food and clothing; housing and technology; economy and transportation; individual and family activities; community and government; welfare, religion, and science; and sex and the life cycle.” With all the different uses for the term culture, it is said to be some sort of confusion involved.
To break this down a little more, I am going to discuss Hofstede’s five dimensions. Referring back to the Culture and Psychology book written by David Matsumato, the first dimension, power distance correlates with the fact that all individuals in the same society are not equal—this shows the inequality amongst our society and community. Not only do we suffer from power distance, but this goes hand in hand with social status. The whole purpose of the power distance is for hierarchy, you do not go where you do not belong. With the social status it keeps you in your lane. In terms of Individualism, as a whole, I believe that we are an individualistic culture. The American people always worry about themselves and how it will either benefit or hurt them. Americans focus on the “I” not the “We” in problems. Our society has become unwound and is now loosely knit together. Lastly, the dimension of Uncertainty Avoidance deals with the way that a society handles the fact that we have an unforeseeable future. Without being able to control the situation it creates anxiety within the society, as does immigration because “we” physically do not have the power for anything. Speaking for myself I think that I am almost exactly like the dimensions just discussed. It is quite eye opening because I did not realize I have those qualities, I like when I can control what is happening right now. These traits were probably an innate factor in me due to me being a native in the country.
When taking into account the novel discussed during our course, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down written by Anne Fadiman, the Hmong people did not have an easy time immigrating into America. In the book the Hmong were harshly criticized for their beliefs and values, and the communication barrier did not help the situation at hand either. As I did some outside research further into Hmong Immigration, I came across an article on this very topic. According to Jefflindsay.com, many Americans felt that they (the Hmong) have “invaded” our country and polluted us with their non-American ways. The site goes on to say that their values do not match with ours and they should just leave. Yes, some of their daily routines seem taboo, for example all of the episodes with Lia’s seizures and the belief of the qaug dab peg. Naturally we Americans would just admit our child to the hospital, but in the Lee’s eyes it was proper protocol to have the spirits heal her. The most obvious conflict between Americans and the Hmong, or any other immigrant for that fact, are the culture gaps between the two. For people who do not experience anything but…