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Discussion Paper 2

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Challappa, Lekha
SOC 101 Weekly Discussion [2]
Date of Submission: February 1st, 2019
Week’s Topic: Culture
Four questions
1. How is culture shock apparent for college students?
2. How is multiculturalism apparent in America?
3. How is language acquisition relevant in cultures?
4. How is cultural transmission important in family life?
1. When I first came to the University of Miami from a small town in Kentucky it was a
very new and unique experience. I came from a predominantly white, bible belt community that
was not home to many different cultures. The population was 19,200 spread over 6 miles of
mostly farmland. However, I was fortunate enough to have parents who loved to travel and
experience new cultures across the world. However, I was not exposed to a predominantly
Hispanic community till I came to UM. For me, coming to Miami was a form of culture shock,
which is by definition, “[a] personal disorientation when experiencing an unfamiliar way of
life” (Macionis 2016). For me this disorientation was also present in the speed at which Miami
moves in comparison to a place like Kentucky. Everyone is more keen on getting where they
need to go and focusing on faster productivity. The “southern way of life” is not expressed in
Miami as it is in other parts of Florida. Also, the Uber community in Miami is very different than
in other states because the drivers have a certain expectation that the riders will speak or
understand at least enough Spanish to get to their destination. The inability to get into an Uberr
without having to use your high school Spanish skills was a surprise to me.
2. Multiculturalism is, “a perspective addressing the multiple diversity of cultures in a particular
society, promoting efforts for the multiple cultures to coexists and live harmoniously,
collectively, and individually” (Macionis 2016). In America, multiculturalism is apparent across
the nation, but in Miami especially there are examples of it everywhere. Little Havana is a
community in Miami that is a representation of life in Cuba rather than in America. It is homes to
stores, restaurants, cars, and homes that mimic Cuba. An article by the ANNALS of the
American Academy of Political and Social Science describe this latin beat in economic terms by
saying, “the presence of large numbers of relatively skilled and educated bilingual Latinos makes
Miami an attractive location for companies that do business in Latin America. Hence, the influx
of immigrants was accompanied by a rapid internationalization of Miami’s economy”(Nijman
1997). This culture is completely juxtaposed by the college community present in Coral Gables,
where the fraternity and sooty culture mimics that of school in the South such as Alabama or the
University of Kentucky. These very different groups of people coexist with a very small distance
in between them and overlapping at certain points.
3. Growing up in a bilingual family, there was always value held in learning the language of our
roots. Language by definition is, “a system of symbols that allow people to communicate with
each other”(Macionis 2016). The ability to communicate with my family that lives in India is
very helpful when I travel there. When I am there I am able to hear stories in the native language
it allows me to communicate with my family on a deeper level. Also, being able to speak the
language makes them feel as though I have stayed connected to my roots rather than separated
from them entirely. Also, I feel a sense of security that if the job market crashes or has a
downturn in America, I could go to India and make a life for myself by speaking the language.
From an economic perspective, it is very beneficial to speak English and Hindi in India than in
America.
4. My mom grew up in Houston, Texas which is home to some of the best comfort food in the
country. My grandmother started making crispy buttered Mac and cheese for my mom when she
was a child. As my mom grew up she wrote down the recipe and learned how to make it by
watching and listening to my grandmother’s instructions. The sharing of this recipe from my
grandmother to my mother and now to me is a from of cultural transmission. Cultural
transmission is, “the process by which one generation passes on culture to the next generation,
this culture contains countless symbols passed from one generation to the next” (Macionis 2016).
My mother was very specific while noting down the exact measurement and ingredients for the
Mac and cheese. The most unique part of the process is the splash of bourbon that is cooked
down into the cheese mixture to cut through some of the richness. This was a technique that my
grandmother taught my mother and something she highlighted when giving me the recipe. If I
end up having kids, my plan is to pass down this recipe to them in order to preserve this piece of
my family’s culture.
References
Macionis, J. J. (2016). Society: The basics, fourteenth edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Nijman, J. (1997). Globalization to a Latin beat: The Miami growth machine. The
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 551(1),
164-177.
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