Last Updated 15 Apr 2020

Intro to Chicano Studies

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David E. Dominguez April 21, 2013 ECC RM 169 Introduction to Chicano Studies Midterm Have you ever noticed the numerous similarities between you and your peers? No? Perhaps the way you speak upon one another, the tone, maybe the diction, or even the syntax of your voice can all be apart of ones culture. However, communication is only one of the very many key elements when taking in and digesting the term, ‘Culture’ along with its eclectic and widespread meaning.

Now, when I say, “take in and digest”, I simply am referring to act of embracing and understanding the complete meaning of the word and its effect on our everyday life. Many professionals such as Anthropologist, Doctors, Psychologist, Economist and many more Scientist have their own definition of what culture may be, as well as your regular neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and even teachers. So why is this measly word so important?

Well figure this, there is only one race everything else is culture, here in the United States of America we are what is defined as a multi-cultural society, nationwide. This means that within our country resign many different ways of life, entertainment, appearance, language, social classes, and even many deaths due to disease, thus resulting in a grand amount of what are called cultural clashes.

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Categorized as conscious and unconscious, these confrontations have an enormous effect on our civilization. Culture is an essential part of conflict and conflict resolution. Cultures are like underground rivers that run through our lives and relationships, giving us messages that shape our perceptions, attributions, judgments, and ideas of self and other. Though cultures are powerful, they are often unconscious, influencing conflict and attempts to resolve conflict in imperceptible ways.

In other words, there are many circumstances in which these types of conflicts are in a sense, uncontrollable, meaning our regulatory system of life may have been pre-judged, now bare with me here, to my understanding due to my research, cultures are more than language, dress, and food customs. Cultural groups may share race, ethnicity, or nationality, but they also arise from cleavages of generation, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, ability and disability, political and religious affiliation, language, and gender- nd this just to call upon a few. There are also very many theories to this term, culture. For example, The Resource Pot defines culture as mutual adaption of diversity in life, also as respect and celebrated diversity. On the other hand, the concept and theory of The Salad Bowl reveals another meaning to culture, such as acculturation, acculturation is when two or more cultures come into psychological, physical, or even environmental contact and begin to alter their original customs to further adapt to that in which they have discovered.

This theory also reads that this part of culture is “color blind”, not literally of course but symbolically, towards race and ethnicity. Lastly there is the theory of The Melting Pot, which is a more assertive and aggressive form of acculturation, in which the dominant of the two cultures will succeed and overthrow, if you will. This particular theory also portrays the word Ethnocentrism. This is the act of judging ones culture based upon your own cultures’ ways and or beliefs.

Emic and Etic are terms used by anthropologists and other social scientists referring to two different types of data collected on human behavior. Often used by cultural anthropologists, an "emic" point of view is one where the analysis of behavioral and cultural systems is defined in terms that are meaningful to the individual who is a participant within that culture, also known as an "insider's view". The emic perspective arises from the participant of the culture being observed.

Now, the Etic point of view is which comes from the “outsiders” of the particular culture in which is being observed. In a comparison, the Etic perspective is used if the representations are in accord with scientific observers. The etic perspective employs a more logical, analytical and anthropological analysis of one who does not participate in the cultural that is being observed. However, despite any differences between these two perspectives, and due to my educational research, anthropologists agree that any ethnographic work ought to be represented using both the emic and etic views.

To fully understand a culture, anthropologists must be able to understand the culture empathetically and scientifically. The two approaches build off one another and allow for a wider understanding of culture. Also, there are many elements in which may influence ones social and personal behaviors/identity as well as their mentality and psychological judgment or comprehension. Just to point out a few- life experiences, environment, personal choices, and Adversity... ersonally, I believe you have to give back to those more in need to fully understand who you are as a person, in today’s society it is a "give me all about me" society and the more you give the more you gain as an individual and the more you grow and develop your own genuine not manufactured characteristics. Yes, I said manufactured characteristics, believe it or not but people are many times shaped and formed into who they are due to what they watch or see on the television screen or from what they hear on the radio stations, even within our children, its an epidemic.

The mentality of the youth in any community as well as anywhere else across the globe, is very gullible and vulnerable. For instance, I observe the television shows on the Disney Channel that my four year old, soon to be five year old little sister watches, and I have learned that in each showing there is constant affectionate and loving relationships between young boys and girls. Now although it is portrayed as humor and may seem completely innocent, it makes me wonder how this will effect my baby in the future, along with the sexual and intimate lyrics played both on the radio stations and at home.

I feel that the media contributes to the epidemic of pregnancy in young women now a days. That is just one personal opinion of observation from my perspective as an older brother as well as a young Chicano. I have come across these connections between Disney Channel’s young affairs, the radio stations, and the epidemic of pregnancy through my own personal experiences and visualizations of the youth in my family and across the city. My theory goes on much more into depth but lets stay on topic.

The media is only another element in which may influence ones identity; another involves the environment, the habitat, and the beings all around the individual. When we enter the world we enter naked physically, socially, and culturally. Unlike other living creatures humans need social experience to learn their culture and survive. Only humans rely on culture rather than instincts to ensure the survival of their kind. The natural thing to humans is to create culture. Culture has to be learned it is not apart of a biological make up; but our biological make up makes culture possible.

We as humans do not inherit habits and beliefs we acquire them during the course of social experiences. We come into this life without a language, social class, values, morals, religion, race, we do not even know how to love or hate. It is through human contact that people learn to become members of the human community. Culture is the values, beliefs, behaviors, and materials that form the way of life for humans. Culture interprets our surroundings for us and gives us meaning and allows us to express ourselves.

To learn any culture is to learn a person’s values, ideas and of what is desirable in life. Values underline or preferences, guides or choices, indicate what we hold worthwhile in life. Values help define the character of a culture, but it does not provide specific courses of actions. Without any morals or values in life there is no culture, and once again, without culture what is life? What is the point of life without Culture? Without Culture life would be meaningless and boring, I think it is an extraordinary craft to learn ones culture who differs from you.

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