Within our society we withhold many different cultures that all of us perceive differently through our language, communication, and social habits. However, even with all these cultural differences, we are still able to find similarities within each and every different culture. I was able to show similarities within our culture when I conducted an interview with a person from a different cultural background that I was an acquaintance with from school. Isabella, the girl I interviewed, was able to tell me about her culture in a diverse society in Oakley compared to my culture in Southern California. When I conducted this interview, I chose to discuss with Isabella about perception of the self and others and communication and culture , allowing us to compare and contrast our perspectives and culture.
To begin, I began by discussing perception of the self and other with Isabella. I began by asking Isabella, “ How do you think others perceive your culture in Northern California verses how you preserve Southern California culture?” Isabella began by expressing the different stereotyping perceptions of her culture and what she heard about my own by stating, “Typically when people hear I am from Oakly, right outside of San Francisco, they think of a busy hustling city with tons of trash, extremist liberals that are narrow minded and the Golden State city. Realistically, we are nothing like this at all.
We make up a huge diverse culture with many different backgrounds, languages, and religions which is nothing like what you see on television. However, Southern California was where I thought famous rich people were supposed to live and Los Angeles is a place to hangout with friends that was high end with tons to do” (Isabelle M, personal communication, September 27,2019). I was immediately able to connect with my interviewee as if I was speaking for myself in my culture. When it comes to my culture in Southern California, I was able to relate because people just stereotype the entire area of Southern California as Los Angeles and Disneyland but do not consider any of the outskirt cities surrounding along with the political narrow mindness.
Freeman and Johnson expressed stereotyping as, “the act of assuming that individuals have a set of attitudes, behaviors, skills, morals, or habits because they belong to a certain group” (O’Hair, Wienman, Mullin, & Teven, 2018, p. 61). Continuing, I was able to further connect to Isabella’s response by the expression people use to nickname Los Angeles as the city of angels. People hear this distinctive nickname and obtain a perception of Malibu or Hidden Hills and it is nothing like this at all. Relating to Isabella’s perception of Los Angeles, I was able to perceive that Isabella is using schemas, defined by Fike and Taylor as “mental structure that put together related bits of information… that form patterns that we use to create meaning” (O’Hair, Wienman, Mullin, & Teven, 2018, p. 55). I related to Isabella’s perception of her culture and schemas by relating to my own of Los Angeles as a clean, high end, and fun area to hangout, when really it suffers from homelessness and cleanliness. Making assumptions of others in their cultures based off of schemas or assumptions blinds oneself to have an open perspective to the real meaning behind one’s culture. Having respect for all cultural backgrounds allows people to actually learn about a culture and what goes into it.
Next, I discussed communication and culture with Isabella. While discussing communication and culture, I brought up the topics of intercultural communication and how people identify within society. Intercultural communication is “the communication between people from different cultures who have different worldwideviews” (O’Hair, Wienman, Mullin, & Teven, 2018, p. 136). Since Isabella comes from a diverse area near San Francisco, I wanted to ask her about her intercultural communication with others. I referenced this by asking, “How do people within the different cultures communicate with one another with tasks?” Isabella began to express all the different cultural backgrounds in the Bay area and how they all had different ways of being different but working together. “
Personally, my family does everything on our own but still work together in a direct way over time when communicating to get tasks done. However, when I go to Chinatown to shop for example, much of the tasks are completed by family owned business quickly and efficiently at stands or shops on the side of the street “ (Isabella M., personal communication, September 27,2019). I am able to relate to Isabellas way of communication because much of the communicating within my family is done individual with the women in our family. Furthermore, growing up in Southern California, my culture has a rich Mexican cultural background which allows me to see how communication can differ from my own. In the Mexican culture, many of the jobs within the area are gender specific such as clothing in Alvera street, like la china poblana or el charro, is usually handmade and sold by the women with indefinite prices on them.
This allows people within the Mexican culture to have their own social identity much like Chinatown does. Relating to both cultures, they are showing social identity theory according to Tajfel and Turner that “ you have a personal identity, which is your sense of self-concept that comes from your group membership” (O’Hair, Wienman, Mullin, & Teven, 2018, p. 147). All of these different cultures allow everyone to show distinct differences in their identification in work ethics to achieve tasks which can lead it hard to express why each culture works differently. However, this allows our different societies to work together and individually from one another to achieve different tasks.
Overall, conducting this interview with Isabella allowed myself to get insight on different cultures and how each culture can function similarly but completely different. Isabella’s diverse background in her community alongside my diverse cultural community allowed us to find cultural similarities and differences, which allowed me to present and comprehend both sides. I was able to show my similarities with Isabella through cultural stereotyping, false name or television advertisement, finding our identification within each culture, and how cultures can work together. Differences between our cultures were found in how our hometowns are politically and our families act culturally.
One other difference was how different cultures were primarily shown in each community. I was very thankful for Isabella to be willing to answer such thoughtful and mindful questions for my essay to help me provide evidence. Through all the dieverse question I was able to ask in my interview, I can say that I was able to learn the different roles communication can portray within different cultures and how they can be expressed. I think this allows many of us to have a unique sense of our culture and provides us with our individuality throughout society.
- Isabella M. , personal communication, September 27,2019.
- OHair, D., Wiemann, M. O., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J. (2018). Real communication: An introduction. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins.