What is Culture?!
After our continuous class discussions and work surrounding the subject of multiculturalism, and after making an attempt at concluding what culture means, it was very interesting to sit down and see how much culture is around me each and everyday. What was most interesting to see was that I do not even take the time to stop and notice the different aspects and happenings of culture that surround me everyday. I decided to take about 15 minutes and observe the culture in Coffman Union down near Starbucks in â€œThe Cubeâ€?. I sat down at a table and looked around, what I saw seemed typical, until I really thought about it. At the table next to me were two girls in sorority sweatshirts, one was on her cell phone drinking Starbucks, and the other one was on Facebook. To my right were two Asian guys, and as stereotypical as this sounds, they were working on math, what appeared to be an extremely high level of calculus or even higher than that. To my left were two girls who seemed to be from a culture from somewhere in the Middle East. They were speaking a language that I did not recognize and were doing some type of studying or project together. â€œThe Cubeâ€? was not extremely busy, so there was not too much going on, some people were alone, most were reading or doing homework. Some adults were there as well, appearing to be working on projects or things for work. About 5 minutes into my observations, two guys sat down behind me, who appeared to be very smart. They had numerous textbooks, calculators and were dressed a bit on the nerdy side, once again, being stereotypical. Across â€œThe Cubeâ€? I saw two boys in Gopher Football t-shirts and backwards baseball caps joking around and throwing pencils at each other, the divisions between groups of people were extremely evident. As we have discussed and concluded since almost the first day of class, people surround themselves with people similar to them. I think it is just natural, and something our culture has come to be, divided. Itâ€™s not a good thing, and itâ€™s pretty un-American, but when it comes down to it, we will always be divided in some way. As I look back on my old notes, is says we defined culture as a system of shared meanings and symbols in a common group of people, including things such as clothing, religion, language, education, age, morals, traditions, ethnicity or race, social class, habits, music, art and priorities. If I took these aspects into consideration and look back on my observations at Coffman, the divisions seem to make sense. People are most comfortable surrounding themselves with people who have many of these aspects in common, I do, and I bet you do too. However, it is and will always be important to try and get as close to crossing these lines and divisions as possible, and expanding our knowledge of diversity and culture. After all, we do live in the most diverse nation in the world, and it will only become more diverse as the days go by.