Why is Cultural Awareness Important?(research essay#1)

Jaskirat Jawanda

Mr. Nagra

Social Studies 11

September 15, 2017

Why is Cultural Awareness Important?

     “Culture makes people understand each other better…if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers.”-Paulo Coelho Many people believe learning one’s own culture is important, however, learning others can prove even more so. Studying a variety of cultures can expose one to interesting viewpoints, help one understand new cultures they interact with, and increase one’s global awareness while preventing conflict.


     People around the world think differently. Everyone is exposed to a different set of conditions, whether that be a different environment or a different level of poverty. Some hunt, others farm, some read, others play, but no one does everything. This set of conditions heavily affects the way one thinks and acts. For example, someone from the Hopi tribe, a heavily Matrilineal society, would have much different views on women’s rights when compared to those of someone from Saudi Arabia, a country where the male to female ratio is very high. It is not as if American society has not borrowed ideas from other cultures already. Our government is a partial democracy, a concept borrowed from Ancient Greece, baseball, “America’s favorite pastime,” is British, and English, North America’s national language is comprised of more borrowed words than any other language. Other cultures can propose solutions that one’s own may never think of. Taking in ideas from other cultures and considering them while creating an opinion of their own will make their final opinion that much stronger. One could also expose themselves to information and events that may contradict what they originally thought and change their opinions completely. The fact is, everyone is different, and one’s own culture may not resonate with them as another culture would, meaning it may just be enlightening for one to look into other cultures.


     Our world is becoming much more diverse as more cultures move in. Looking at it from an entirely North American perspective, people expose themselves to more new cultures now than ever. With new technology allowing international transportation, nearly anyone can enter any nation. The freedom to go anywhere in the world is leading many to the US and Canada in pursuit of the “American Dream,” along with hopes of a better life and a fresh new start. This means new people, new cultures, are entering our own at an alarming rate. For this reason, learning about other cultures can prevent one from being overwhelmed by the variety of people they will meet on a regular basis. Furthermore, it could help one prevent conflict between groups simply due to lack of information. Moreover, it would help those around you feel more accustomed to their new home. However, this is not limited to one’s immediate surroundings, nowadays, with the internet, and more specifically, social media, anyone can reach out to the whole world in seconds. So, simply knowing a little more about other cultures can help you prevent misunderstanding next time you tweet about that foreign event that is trending everywhere. Learning about other people’s cultures is also good a good business strategy. American businesses hoping to expand to a wider range of customers would need to understand the culture of their potential clients and adjust to account for differences. People whose work involves even a basic level of social interaction could benefit greatly from understanding how other cultures communicate or express their emotions. Even a basic understanding of other cultures can be an indispensable asset when communicating through any medium.


     Finally, learning about other cultures improves one’s global awareness, and can help us, as a society, prevent conflict. With the current state of global relations, and frankly, the United States’ less than competent President, international conflict in the near future is not improbable. Something that is improbable however is the US losing any war, considering the sheer size and budget of its military. And, if such a thing would come to pass, or even if peace is decided upon, negotiations must be held. For negotiations to succeed, all countries involved would need a deep understanding of each other’s culture. If the terms of the negotiation were to hinder one side from practicing its culture, that side’s people would eventually grow to hate the other countries and conflict would occur once again. A more direct example of how that would turn out is the Quebec Act, which prevented self-governance and the practice of certain religions in the French people in Quebec. The French were accustomed to a certain lifestyle, which the Quebec act prevented. Another act eventually replaced it, but the damage had been done, and many French people held a grudge against the British that would last for ages. And, this is likely what could happen on a global scale if culture the countries involved don’t take culture into account during negotiation. However, if all parties involved can take each other’s culture into account and work together for the sake of all their people, it could potentially prevent conflict for years.


     To sum it up, learning about other cultures can expose you to new ideas and opinions, help you socialize and accommodate a variety of different people, and help us as a nation prevent global conflict in the future.



Research Essay #1 outline

“Culture makes people understand each other better…if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers.”-Paulo Coelho Many people believe learning one’s own culture is important, however, learning others can prove even more so. Studying a variety of cultures can expose one to interesting viewpoints, help one understand the various cultures hoping to enter their own, and increase one’s global awareness while preventing conflict.


People from different parts of the world think differently:


  • People around the world are exposed to different conditions and scenarios. Some hunt, others farm, some read, others play, but no one does everything.
  • People raised in different conditions will think differently about subjects. Someone from a culture that gives women larger roles(Ex:Many Indigenous american tribes), may have different views on women’s rights issues than someone from Saudi Arabia perhaps, where the male population is much larger than the female(source).
  • Taking in all of these ideas and considering them while creating an opinion of your own will make your final opinion that much stronger. You could also expose yourself to information and events that may contradict what you originally thought and change your opinions completely.


Learning about other cultures may be necessary for the near future.


  • With the growing cultural diversity in the Americas, people are being exposed to different cultures on a daily basis. Furthermore, with how advanced communicative technology is, the world seems smaller and smaller.
  • People in jobs involving socializing with others will have to learn about a variety of cultures in order to accommodate the new people coming in from all around the world.
  • Understanding various ways many cultures may communicate or express their emotions may become an indispensable ability for people in jobs that require even a small amount of socialization.(Cashiers for example).


Increased global awareness/Prevent conflict


  • With the current state of the US government and the real possibility of war on the horizon, global relationships are becoming increasingly important.
  • With the increasing tension between the western and eastern world, knowing about one another’s cultures can help promote healthier/more positive conversation and even help us prevent future conflict.(Video that covers this)
  • Moreover, as Canadian businesses grow, they may want to reach out and attain global clientele, which would require an understanding of culture.
  • In fact, if any company wants to gain global attention, they must learn about the cultures of people around the world.

Definitions and Theories of Culture

  1. From the list of definitions of culture provided choose 1 that you believe best defines culture and explain why.

“A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.”

I believe this statement best defines culture. If you look at many cultures, some of the things they do may seem unorthodox or may be seen as an annoyance to other cultures. My culture for example prevents me from cutting my hair, something that others may see as a hassle. However, it is a value that I have accepted, it having been passed down to me by my parents. Many cultures are based around similar things with each new generation following in the past generations footprints without hesitation, many times simply for the sake of preserving their own culture. This definition mentions communication and behaviors as well, something that many cultures can be identified by.

2. Try to explain the various cultural theories that are given.


  • This theory notes that people have the potential to be anything in the world, however, they most likely become what they are conditioned to be by the people around them. For example, a serf growing up in the middle ages has the potential to be a general or a warrior if trained, however due to the serf’s conditions, it will likely become a farmer instead.


  • No cultures are the same, no one culture can be seen as the norm, or as absolutely neutral. Two cultures can not hope to understand one another through comparison. Only through education of each other’s beliefs can they co-exist and empathize.


  • Obsession and bias towards one’s own culture. This theory proposes that people who believe their own culture superior to others will ignore the nuances of other cultures. One scenario that explains it is that one may believe that a method of farming that works well in their own country would work well anywhere regardless of the conditions.


3. Look at the manifestations of culture diagram.  Choose a culture and fill out the activities and beliefs that would correspond with each element of the diagram.

Hellenism(Ancient Greek Paganism that is actually still being practiced):

Symbols: The laurel wreath, the lightning bolt, the kithara, the cadaceus, the ‘phi’ symbol and the dodecagram. Their symbols are, many times, used to represent a specific deity, like olives to represent Athena.

Heroes: Heracles, Jason and the Argonauts, Achilles, Agamemnon, Odysseus.

Rituals:They hold festival to come together and worship their dieties.

Values: reciprocity, hospitality, self-control and moderation

Practices: They worship the ancient Greek gods and heroes.

Top 2 choices (Socials topics)

Political Studies: Considering the current state of US politics, and the world’s politics for that matter, we could cover many interesting topics. We would have tons of material for discussion. It may also give us a deeper understanding as to what is unfolding throughout the world and why it is happening that way.

Asian Studies: We haven’t really covered Asian history in detail in the past. I believe it would be an interesting topic to cover. Also, considering the current state of relations between some Asian nations and the rest of the world (China and the US or North Korea and everyone else), it could give us a deeper understanding of recent developments and help us make predictions for the future.

Planning 10 Project Informative Videos: Most important video

Out of all the videos, we watched together in class, I believe that the most important one for students to watch is the STD prevention video. The video speaks about how awkward it is to speak about sex and how difficult it can be for people to communicate their concerns about their sexual health to their partners. Many high school aged people are not very secure with themselves, so they are at risk to make unhealthy sexual decisions. It is important for them to learn about making healthier decisions early on. Furthermore, the video emphasises the importance of the internet, and how useful it can be to tell others about things that would be awkward face to face, which could also be beneficial to younger people.


Project progress report

So far our group has worked quite well together. We have researched several campaigns that targetted bullying and assessed them on their effectiveness. That assignment worked out pretty well for us. We were able to work efficiently together. However, going forward I plan to work harder.

We are currently planning a few more assignments to do, including: Why do bullies bully? Why don’t anti-bullying campaigns work that well? How to actually stop bullying. And, What normal people can do to help stop bullying in their communities.

We have several different sources that we have compiled, including one that would provide us with a lot of anecdotal evidence. We want to look at everyone’s point of view, including the bully’s.

We don’t really have roles, each of us just works on what we feel like doing. This may need to change in the future, however. It is likely that we will try to delegate work so that everyone does what they are good at.

Advertisements Questions

  1. What is the purpose of advertising?


Advertisements are generally meant to sell an idea or get people on board with an idea/person. Advertisements may intend to sell a product like potato chips or shampoo. Other ads can be political, trying to get you to vote for a certain party.


  1. What do you notice about the advertisements? How do the models in them look? Do they have anything in common?


Models in advertisements generally look seductive and oddly proportioned. Many advertisements feature a model slowly walking towards the camera using the produce they’re trying to sell or laughing/flipping their hair(especially shampoo commercials).


  1. Do the models look like everyday people you would see on the street? Why or why not?


No, many models in ads are heavily photoshopped/airbrushed to make them more attractive. Their proportions are extremely unrealistic and in many cases, impossible.  


  1. Look at their expressions. Describe what you see.


They look content/happy using the product. In the old spice and fashion ones, the models look all smoky/mysterious/interesting. They just look handsome. In the female one, the model has a weird unrealistic contour that makes her face look really defined.


  1. What messages do magazine, TV, and Internet advertisements send to people about body image?


Many of them send messages about unrealistic proportions being ideal. Many fitness magazines have oddly proportioned bodybuilders who do not have ideal bodies themselves. Many others models are malnourished and unhealthy. They generally promote unhealthy goals.


  1. Do you believe there really is an ideal body type?


No. I’m not really an expert but it seems to me like everyone has a different type of body. Some people can put on more weight and still be as healthy as other people. Take Fedor Emelianenko for example, he’s not cut like many other fighters, but he was still able to perform at an extremely high level. It’s all about the person.


  1. Is it realistic for everyone to try to achieve the look of advertising models?


No. Many advertising models are perfectly proportioned and their images are heavily altered before being published. They are usually either extremely difficult to achieve or impossible/unhealthy.

  1. Why do you think ads & models are portrayed in such a manner? How does it make you feel when looking at them?


Ads want to promote the idea that their product will make consumers look like the models in them. I don’t really feel a certain way looking at them. I understand that many of these images are heavily altered so I don’t think too much of them.


Meaghan Ramsey TED Talk and QUOTE SANDWICH

“Why Thinking You’re Ugly is Bad for You”

  1. How has the linked nature of social media influenced many young people’s concept of body image?


People don’t have any privacy anymore. People are never alone. Many people constantly plaster images of themselves on social media. Many teens view these people and lose confidence in their own appearance.


  1. How is the online is culture influencing what many youths think about themselves?


Many youths lose confidence in their appearance. They see pictures of the “ideal” body type and strive to become like that. They may also lose confidence in their lifestyle, meaning they might try to change the way they live to be more like people who are popular online.


  1. What problem arises from an image-obsessed culture?


People become less confident in their own appearances. This leads to them making decisions that they wouldn’t otherwise. They are more likely to become depressed, abuse drugs, or have early sexual intercourse.


  1. Why are many students not engaging in classroom discussion?


Many students who don’t have confidence in their appearance avoid speaking up or contributing to the discussion so they don’t draw attention to how they look.


  1. Why do you think that low body confidence can lower test results?


I believe people who have lower confidence in their appearance have lower confidence in themselves all around, so they hesitate to write what they think, even if it’s true.


  1. Why can body confidence affect the economy?


Children withdraw/ avoid programs and activities that are necessary to develop core abilities.

Children may use rash or self-harming methods to find an escape from their insecurity so they might try to use drugs. They might try products that are meant to improve their appearance.

People may avoid job interviews because of their appearance.


  1. What are the six core themes to address when working with body image:


-family, friends, and relationships

-Teasing and bullying

-Talking about your appearance.

-Media and celebrity culture

-Competing and comparing looks

-Respecting and looking for yourself


  1. What actions can people take in their everyday life to help body image?


Compliment people. Work together with people around you. Help people. Try not to judge people. Don’t promote posts that could cause body image issues in other people. Try to promote a healthier lifestyle.


  1. Were you surprised by the amount of airbrushing and editing that occurs in publications? Why

or why not?


No, I was aware of this prior to watching the video. It makes sense that every company would want its models to look perfect, but the fact is that they can’t all be that way. So, they always alter their images to make them look better.


  1. What effect does the constant bombardment of these manipulated images have on people in the public?


It gives people unrealistic expectations and goals. It hurts people’s self-esteem. It causes them to strive to become something they could never be.






Deborah day is a clinician working in the mental health field(with decades of experience), so she definitely knows what she is talking about.

“Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness. ” – Deborah Day

This quote reflects on everyone’s obsession with being perfect. While it is not bad to try to be better, it is worse to hate yourself for being imperfect. That is the message this quote is trying to get across. This relates to the TED talk since many people have body issues due to their imperfections.


Cheri K. Erdman is an author who, in a book for overweight women with body issues, said this quote.

“Even the models we see in magazines wish they could look like their own images”-Cheri K. Erdman


This reflects on airbrushed pictures in magazines and on the internet that are spread around. The images are heavily altered from the source material and display an impossible standard. This quote relates to people developing body image problems due to the illogical standard they set for themselves after viewing such images.


Simone de Beauvoir was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist.

“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”

― Simone de Beauvoir


This quote preaches the same message that the TED talk we watched in class preaches. The talker in the video addresses how people with body image problems are more likely to do worse academically and to avoid/withdraw from programs even if they might enjoy them.


Group Interview assignment


I would hire Gursimar for several reasons, most notably her attitude and communication skills. She is very confident in her abilities and understands her own strengths and weaknesses well. She has some skills that are difficult to come by and very beneficial to her position; she is bilingual. Her ability to speak both English and Punjabi could prove very useful to her on a day to day basis considering the social nature of the job. She has an outgoing personality so she can no doubt fit in and socialise with all types of costumers. Her ability to problem solve is not amazing, but it will definitely get the job done. She states that she will “support the customer” if they happened to be troubled by anything. This reflects our motto very well and displays a level of empathy that her position would require.She was very well prepared for the questions, so it is clear that she has thought about this job and wants it. She states that she has a positive personality which means she could lighten the mood and keep everything flowing at work. She made good eye contact during the interview as well, so it is clear that she is comfortable communicating with new people. Made good hand motions while responding, displaying that she is very articulate. One downside to her responses, however, was that she states she takes too much responsibility often. This could mean she comes off as bossy at times or doesn’t trust other people. However, when it’s all said and done, she is definitely hired.

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