Monday, May 21, 2012

Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

Blog: Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

At the beginning of this week I was asked to observe the verbal interactions of other people as well as myself and detect examples of microaggression. In this Blog Assignment, I will share what I experienced and what I learned from my observations.
  • Describe at least one example of a microaggression which you detected this week or remember from another time. In what context did the microaggression happen? What did you think and feel when you observed the microaggression or when you found yourself as the target of a microaggression?
I found myself being the target of a microaggression Mother’s Day weekend. I took my car to the dealership to get an oil change and for the service men/women to check a light that was off in my car that used to be on which is located on the dash of my car. While I was there, the service men (who were Cauasian) concluded that I was mistaken and that I purchased my car with the light out. At that point, I asked to speak with a manager so that the problem could be rectified….as the person walked away, I heard him say these people are always coming in here demanding something. I immediately said to myself is he saying “these people” because I am black or a woman or because I am a black woman. At that point, I felt as if I had to defend myself because I felt as if I was being attacked. I felt the underlining message was black woman are always angry and confrontational…..when in reality I was not angry, but I was not the woman/ customer who will not agree to something especially if I know that I am right in my concerns and that they were wrong.
As I reflect, I think their comments were intentional and it is still up in the air if it was because I am a woman or black or a black woman. In this scenario, the underlying message was black people are demanding and confrontational, when in reality I am just a customer who wants to be treated with respect especially since I am paying for the service.
  • In what ways did your observation experiences this week affect your perception of the effects of discrimination, prejudice, and/or stereotypes on people

My experience affected my perception of the effects stereotypes can have  on people because it made me see how people/groups pass judgment on other people/groups and indirectly believe one group can be uncivil and should behave the way they do. This type of behavior can affect ones self esteem because you can begin to view yourself as being the type of person who is uncooperative and unwilling to work well with others. As I reflect on microaggression I have learned that I need to start spending quality time with people whom look different than me so that I can gain a better understanding of them as an individual and of their culture.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Perspectives on Diversity and Culture

Blog Assignment: Perspectives on Diversity and Culture

An especially effective method to deepen one’s grasp of any topic is to listen to and then reflect on the ideas of others. This week, I had an opportunity to use that method and ask other people what they think about diversity and culture. For this assignment I called and talked to two friends and to two family members three friends, family members, acquaintances, and/or colleagues.
I spoke to my girlfriend Rochelle who is 36 and is Filipino and stated culture consists of family traditions and values. And she defined diversity as being those differences one may have when compared to another person.
I spoke to my friend David who is from Trinidad and he stated culture consists of values and is the way a person views life. He defined diversity as being the differences between two or more groups of people.
I spoke to my 13 year old son and he said culture is a way of life, its how he talks to his friends, and how he dress. He said that diversity consists of people being different.
I spoke to my cousin’s 44 year old wife Awilda who is of Hispanic decent and she stated culture consists of the way one views their world around them, the way one talks, and family traditions. She defined diversity as being differences in people/groups.

Then reflect on the answers you received and ask yourself:
All aspects of culture and diversity that I have studied in this course are included in the answers I received from both friends and family. For example, the panelist in the course video from last week gives a rich definition of culture which is consistent with the definitions of each individual I spoke with. For example, Nadiyah Taylor defined culture as being broad almost like a pair of glasses, and how we perceive the world around us.  And Julie Benavides believes culture consists of one’s characteristics i.e., race, and ethnicity, economics, and language abilities. In addition,  the panelists stated culture describes the way we dress, use slang and or language patterns, and ect. (Laureate Inc., 2012).

Which aspects have been omitted and what are some examples of such omission?
Surprisingly, there were a few points that were omitted by the four individuals I spoke with in regards to culture. The first omission consisted of culture as it relates to everything that we do and see. The second was culture consisting of race, ethnicity. And the third omission consisted of social/economic status.

In what ways has thinking about other people’s definitions of culture and diversity influenced my own thinking about these topics?

After asking friends and family for their definitions of culture and diversity, I was influenced in my own thinking by not limiting culture to just family traditions, foods or the way one may dress…instead I was led to think of the language patterns and the slang we use when we speak to people we are comfortable with, and how the way we think dictates the way we parent.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2012). Family Cultures: Dynamic Interactions. Retrieved from

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Family Culture

    In the event that there was a catastrophe in the United States of America and I had to relocate to another country for an indefinite amount of time which ultimately pushes me into taking on the culture of "my new home", and was I allowed to take only three small items that I hold dear that represents my family and culture, it would be my recipe book because it includes many recipes that my mother and father gave me; it will always allow me to "taste  a little bit of home" and think about the many conversations that I had with my family as we prepared various meals and I can pass those stories down to my son so that he can share them with his family when he gets older.

I would also take with me my photo albums so that I can look at my ancestors before me, and look at photos from my childhood as well as my sons so that we can reflect on all of the good times we had in our old home and country and in many respects hold on to those memories so they can keep us grounded.

 I would take my safe because it has my family’s medical records, personal keep sakes, and my passport.

If upon my arrival, I was told that I could only keep one of those items, I would keep my photos and write various recipes from my recipe book that I shared with my family on the back of each photo so that way I won’t lose too much of myself. 

After completing this assignment, I began to think about all of the many immigrants who had to leave their homes, memories, traditions, and in many respects their language, and culture to come to the United States of America for a better life; but I began to put a huge question mark on "better".  Although many families are given many opportunities to have access to a better education which leads to job opportunities, the down side is many families lose their language, foods, music, and customs so that they can assimilate and fit in with the majority group….. but while they tried to "fit in", they lost a piece of themselves which could be lost forever if they fail to share things such as music, recipes, language, dances and ect...with their children and their grandchildren.