I have learned a lot in the accelerated time spent taking this class. The discussion board posts alone were eye-opening. I loved reading what others had to say from week to week. It was interesting reading one discussion board post in general, from a student who comes from Chinese culture. It was the week about parenting styles and this particular student compared and contrasted their own parents’ parenting style and the traditional American parenting styles. I loved learning from people that are actually immersed in different ethnic backgrounds and cultures.
One of my biggest takeaways from the course is that I now feel okay to ask people about their culture, as long as I come from a loving, humble, and teachable heart. I think one of the most important ways to learn about culture is to be bold in asking people about their culture with the intention of learning and understanding. People never want to step out of their own comfort zones and they are too afraid to offend others, so they never ask questions. Those are the same people that usually offend people because of their ignorance and lack of knowledge. The week that we read stories about refugees was amazing, because it gave us a chance to exercise our empathy skills. I say exercise because I truly think that we have to practice empathy intentionally for it to come naturally. I do not think that empathizing comes naturally to anyone. It is against our human nature to put ourselves in others’ shoes, so it is important that we stretch ourselves and try to see things from other cultures perspectives. This brings me to my next point in saying that I think just by taking this class, my ethnocentrism has decreased substantially.Order now
When writing a discussion board post that others will read and respond to, you are sort of forced to be extra empathetic towards other cultures and other people in general. In order to decrease ethnocentrism, it is imperative that you place yourself in the other person’s viewpoint. I think that the week when discussing parenting styles, I was extra careful to not “judge” moms for the way the way they parent. At first it takes being extra careful before you speak, but after a while, I think you are just subconsciously careful without having to think too much. Although, I think it is always best to think before you speak.
I did not know a lot about diversity. I thought that it was just the differences between people, but working together to complete a common goal. I think my understanding of diversity has expanded a lot. It has gone beyond just physical and even traditional differences. I have never thought of motherhood or even parenting as a culture. There are many different aspects to diversity. 3 different topics that I found especially meaningful were immigrants/refugees, parenting styles/parent shaming, and domestic abuse and violence. First, the week where we looked at stories of war refugees, was very hard and eye-opening. It was honestly pretty tough reading through stories from real people that were basically run out of their home because of a war. The family I read about literally had to take a inflatable boat to Greece from their home (Manning, 2018).
I can’t imagine having to leave my home for the sake of safety. It is something we totally take for granted as U.S. citizens today. It has been decades and decades since the last war that has impacted and threatened the safety of American citizens. It just hit me hard when I had to put myself in the family’s shoes. The second topic I found to be meaningful was parenting styles. This hit me because I have seen myself judge parents for how they parent. I look from the outside and put in my opinion even though I have no idea what parenting entails. It was convicting to read about this topic and then write about it. I felt so tempted to judge when I was reading about Chinese parenting, but I had to try to empathize. The article I read was about how Chinese parents can prioritize criticism over encouragement (Chengliang, 2011).
I had to put myself in their shoes and try to understand how that could be loving. Lastly, domestic violence and abuse was very meaningful to me. I thought it was pretty cool that we had to research local resources for domestic violence victims, like the UMOM center in Phoenix (UMOM, 2018). You never know who is struggling with this, so even in this class, it could have been of help to them. It was especially hard to write about if someone in our lives was being abused. I hated thinking about this, but it was important for me to think of a game plan to help them. I think it made me more aware of and on watch for physical and non-physical signs.
- UMOM New Day Centers. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2018, from https://www.domesticshelters.org/az/phoenix/85008/umom-new-day-centers#.WoUf_SOZPow
- Chengliang,. (2011.). American and Chinese parenting styles – Praise or criticism? Retrieved February 08, 2018, from https://international.uiowa.edu/news/american-and-chinese-parenting-styles
- Manning, H. (2018, January 12). Syrian refugee who fled ISIS-held village opens up about life in Ireland. Retrieved October 3, 2018, from https://www.thesun.ie/news/2036975/syrian-refugee-opens-up-about-his-first-year-living-in-ireland-after-fleeing-war-torn-country-with-his-family/