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Before you can begin to understand another culture, it is important to examine your own culture and what makes it unique to other cultures. For this assignment, you will select one “culture” that you self identify as belonging to and write a minimum of two pages on it. For example, if you are a gay, Cuban, catholic man, you could write about Cuban culture, LGBT culture, or Catholic culture; it is your choice.In the paper, you should:Describe the culture in detail includingThe history of the cultural groupContemporary issues experienced by the cultural groupYour personal connection to the cultureIdentify how your selected culture meets the definition of a culture provided in this moduleDescribe the aspects of the culture including:CharacteristicsTraitsNormsTraditionsPapers should be a minimum of 2 pages in length and a maximum of 3 pages in length, double-spaced with 1 inch margins using 12pt Times New Roman font. Students should NOT include your name, course, instructor name, heading or anything else (Canvas uploaded the paper under your student profile so I will know who wrote the paper. This will allow you to write 3 full pages.You must use use external sources in your paper to support the information and assertions you make in the paper.You MUST cite your sources properly, both parenthetically and on a reference page (reference page is not included in the page count).You must use APA for your citations.You must support the statements you make in paper. For example, if you say “My culture values family connections.” you must provide support and evidence for this statement using external sources. How does the culture value family connection? How is it demonstrated within the culture? Give an example to support your assertion. If you research your culture but are struggling to find external, citable sources that provide support for your personal experiences, then you need to consider if the experiences and examples you are using are actual aspects of your culture or simply just your personal experiences that are not related your culture. This is an academic paper therefore you should use proper writing conventions (spelling, grammar, consistent tense, etc) in it. You should avoid overly casual language in the paper. Papers will be graded on the following:ContentSources and/or supported statementsOrganization and structureWriting conventions (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc)I have provided several sample papers here for you to use to help guide the development of your papers. While I DO NOT carbon copies of these papers, I know that it is helpful to have some examples to help with understanding instructor expectations. Examining One’s Own Culture Rubric (1) (1)Examining One’s Own Culture Rubric (1) (1)CriteriaRatingsPtsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeContent3.0 ptsNo DescriptionPaper incorporates all the required elements as described in the assignment directions: Describes the culture in detail including the history of the cultural group, contemporary issues experienced by the cultural group, and your personal connection to the culture. Identifies how your selected culture meets the definition of a culture provided in this module. Describes the aspects of the culture including: Characteristics, Traits, Norms, Traditions.2.7 ptsNo DescriptionPaper incorporates most the required elements as described in the assignment directions: Describes the culture in detail including the history of the cultural group, contemporary issues experienced by the cultural group, and your personal connection to the culture. Identifies how your selected culture meets the definition of a culture provided in this module. Describes the aspects of the culture including: Characteristics, Traits, Norms, Traditions.2.4 ptsNo DescriptionPaper incorporates most the required elements as described in the assignment directions though some of the elements lack depth or demonstrate a weak connection with the culture: Describes the culture in detail including the history of the cultural group, contemporary issues experienced by the cultural group, and your personal connection to the culture. Identifies how your selected culture meets the definition of a culture provided in this module. Describes the aspects of the culture including: Characteristics, Traits, Norms, Traditions.2.1 ptsNo DescriptionPaper incorporates some the required elements as described in the assignment directions though some of the elements lack depth or demonstrate a weak connection with the culture: Describes the culture in detail including the history of the cultural group, contemporary issues experienced by the cultural group, and your personal connection to the culture. Identifies how your selected culture meets the definition of a culture provided in this module. Describes the aspects of the culture including: Characteristics, Traits, Norms, Traditions.1.8 ptsNo DescriptionPaper addresses only a few of the required elements as described in the assignment directions and paper lacks depth or demonstrate a weak connection with the culture: Describes the culture in detail including the history of the cultural group, contemporary issues experienced by the cultural group, and your personal connection to the culture. Identifies how your selected culture meets the definition of a culture provided in this module. Describes the aspects of the culture including: Characteristics, Traits, Norms, Traditions.3.0 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization3.0 ptsNo DescriptionThoughts are consistently expressed in a fluid and logical manner.2.7 ptsNo DescriptionThoughts are almost entirely expressed in a fluid and logical manner.2.4 ptsNo DescriptionThoughts are expressed in a moderately organized manner.2.1 ptsNo DescriptionThoughts are expressed in a significantly disorganized manner.1.8 ptsNo DescriptionThoughts are expressed in a manner that makes little to no sense.3.0 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeWriting Conventions3.0 ptsNo DescriptionWriting contains minimal errors pertaining to: spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and vocabulary.2.7 ptsNo DescriptionWriting contains a few errors pertaining to: spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and vocabulary.2.4 ptsNo DescriptionWriting contains several errors pertaining to: spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and vocabulary.2.1 ptsNo DescriptionWriting contains numerous errors pertaining to: spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and vocabulary.1.8 ptsNo DescriptionWriting contains an egregious number of errors pertaining to: spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and vocabulary.3.0 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDocument Length & APA3.0 ptsDocument Length & APADocument contains 600 to 900 words, excluding quotes and works cited and uses APA style conventions accurately. Including: font size, font style, spacing, in-text citations, works cited2.7 ptsDocument Length & APADocument contains 600 to 900 words, excluding quotes and works cited and uses APA style conventions accurately with the exception of one element. Including: font size, font style, spacing, in-text citations, works cited2.4 ptsDocument Length & APADocument contains +/- 50 words from the word count requirement, excluding quotes and works cited and uses APA style conventions accurately with the exception of two elements. Including: font size, font style, spacing, in-text citations, works cited2.1 ptsDocument Length & APADocument contains +/- 75 words from the word count requirement, excluding quotes and works cited uses APA style conventions accurately with the exception of three elements. Including: font size, font style, spacing, in-text citations, works cited1.8 ptsDocument Length & APADocument contains +/- 100 words from the word count requirement, excluding quotes and works cited and does not use APA style conventions accurately. Including: font size, font style, spacing, in-text citations, works cited3.0 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeSources and Supported Statements3.0 ptsNo DescriptionPaper contains a variety of statements and assertions that support the thesis of the paper. Personal statements are validated by research and sources that corroborate the personal experiences of the student.2.7 ptsNo DescriptionPaper contains a some of statements and assertions that support the thesis of the paper. Personal statements are generally validated by research and sources that corroborate the personal experiences of the student.2.4 ptsNo DescriptionPaper contains a some of statements and assertions that support the thesis of the paper. Personal statements are inconsistent with the research and sources that corroborate the personal experiences of the student.2.1 ptsNo DescriptionPaper contains a few of statements and assertions that support the thesis of the paper. Personal statements are not generally validated by research and sources that corroborate the personal experiences of the student.1.8 ptsNo DescriptionPaper contains statements and assertions that support the thesis of the paper. Personal statements are not validated by research and sources that corroborate the personal experiences of the student.
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Culture is defined in the course module as
a people’s whole way of life”, and includes “ideas, objects, and ways of doing things
created by the group…culture includes arts, beliefs, customs, inventions, language,
technology, traditions [and] learned ways of acting, feeling and thinking…[and] includes
three important characteristics: culture is acquired by people; a person acquires culture as
a member of society; culture is a complex whole.” (“Module 1:Presentation”, 2017, slides
1-3)
This paper will examine the culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer
people (henceforth “LGBTQ”). Being a member of this community influences all aspects of
one’s life from relationships, family, employment, leisure, and beliefs and values. LGBTQ
individuals have their own traditions, terminology, shared history, and common ways of being.
There exists a range of LGBTQ influences in the art, theater and music. Many members of this
culture share common characteristics and recognize that they are part of a larger community with
similar backgrounds, experiences, and values. While homosexuality and gender identity may
have biological roots, LGBTQ culture is learned and acquired. One can be queer and not identify
as a member of the culture.
Naturally, the most basic defining characteristic of LGBTQ culture is having some
degree of same-sex attraction or sexual fluidity, whether acted upon or not. For many in this
culture, there is also a rejection of traditionally prescribed gender roles and gender expression;
however, LGBTQ subgroups often do have their own set of labels and stereotyped roles. For
example, many lesbians self-identify as “butch”, “femme”, “lipstick”, “stud”, etcetera, as ways to
describe their own and others’ gender expression, relationship role, and cultural identity.
Similarly, gay men may use terms like “queen”, “bear”, “leather daddy”, etcetera. An important
characteristic of such terms is that they are reserved for community members; use of these terms
by nonmembers is usually viewed as pejorative or threatening. Like many cultures, the
appropriation of derogatory labels historically used by outsiders as a means of oppression
becomes a source of empowerment and ownership.
Another defining characteristic of LGBTQ culture is the shared experience of “othering”
(being viewed as outside of society, treated as though one were part of some nebulous group of
“others” rather than equal members of the surrounding community). Such experiences have
shaped the culture’s views and norms about family. Unfortunately, homosexuality continues to
be a major source of contention in families all around the world. It is not uncommon for
individuals to be disowned by their biological family, sometimes being kicked out of the family
home as teenagers. This has led many queer people to seek a chosen family in friends and
members of the LGBTQ community. Of course, many families are accepting of their loved ones,
whether they are heterosexual or queer. However, the cultural tradition of choosing one’s
“family” persists even for those who have not been rejected by their family of origin. Often the
complexities of familial relationships arise from a universal LGBTQ rite of passage: “coming
out”. Nearly all gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals spend some part of their life
“closeted” (i.e. hiding their sexuality or true gender identity). At some point in their lives, it
becomes necessary to “come out” of the proverbial closet, which involves a process of telling
family and friends about one’s identity and then gradually being “out” publicly. Many people
come out in their teens, but it is also not unheard of for this process to take place well into
adulthood or even into the geriatric years. Some queer folks never come out. Because of the
social stigma that has historically been ascribed to homosexuality, many closeted LGBTQ people
may live as heterosexual for many years or even their whole lives. They may marry opposite-sex
partners, have children, and live the “traditional” life, all while hiding their identity. Some may
not even recognize or acknowledge their own queerness. This is my own personal experience
and connection to the LGBTQ culture. I spent my entire adult life in a heterosexual marriage. I
denied my own sexual orientation for fear of being outcast. I did not come out of the closet until
my late thirties, after 14 years of marriage and two children. While my personal journey has not
been without struggle or loss, I can now say I feel free. I strongly embrace my culture and no
longer feel marginalized or fearful. I am happily engaged to a woman and finally at peace being
my true self. I participate in all the activities of my culture, including pride events and activism.
Since the beginning of history, LGBTQ people have existed, often in the dark margins of
society. Morris (n.d.) notes, “Most historians agree that there is evidence of homosexual activity
and same-sex love, whether such relationships were accepted or persecuted, in every documented
culture.” (para. 1). Considered immoral and taboo throughout most of time, little history of
homosexuality has been recorded prior to the 19th century (Morris, n.d., paragraph 2). Most
LGBTQ historical timelines, particularly in the United States, begin around the 1920s, with
many major milestones occurring in the 1950s and ‘60s, continuing through present day. From
the time that gay, lesbian and other queer-identifying individuals first began to come out of the
shadows they have been met with fierce resistance from mainstream– particularly religious-society. Recurring themes throughout our history include the ongoing fight for civil rights, the
drive towards social acceptance and normalization of same-sex relationships, the
destigmatization of gay/queer culture, and the breaking down of harmful stereotypes and
prescribed gender roles. The “Living Memory GLBT History Timeline” highlights numerous key
events in the evolution of LGBT culture, beginning with the first use of the word “gay” in
publication in the year 1920 (Cook-Daniels, 2008, p.1). Other major milestones that shaped this
culture include: the burning of the Institute of Sexual Science library in 1933; the ban on gays
and lesbians serving in the U.S. military in 1943; The American Psychiatric Association’s
addition of homosexuality to its list of “mental disorders” in 1952 (and subsequent removal
from the list some twenty years later); the infamous Stonewall Inn Riots in 1969; Harvey Milk’s
murder in 1978; the U.S. military’s implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (which
essentially prohibited individuals from being openly gay while serving in the armed forces) in
1993 and repeal in 2010; Matthew Sheppard’s murder in 1998; and so many other critical events
all the way through Marriage Equality in 2015 (Cook-Daniels, 2008, p.1).
The history of LGBTQ people is one wrought with struggle, hardship, and violence. In
LGBTQ culture, one of the ways group membership is affirmed is through participation in the
ongoing fight to secure the most basic of human and civil rights in the face of relentless
marginalization. Participation in the struggle for equality can manifest in many ways. Some may
simply hold beliefs and values that align with those of the community (such as that all people
deserve the same basic rights, that same-sex couples should be treated equally in the eyes of the
law, that LGBTQ individuals are human beings not unlike their heterosexual counterparts and
thus deserving of acceptance and respect). Others may take it a step further and speak out
publicly against inequity or, even get involved in activism and social justice movements. It may
strike some as ironic that a common trait of queer culture is to seek, on some level, acceptance
by the larger mainstream culture; however, cultures often form out of shared struggles. One only
needs to look to other ostracized groups such as African Americans, Native Americans, the
disabled and immigrants to recognize the major role that adversity plays in cultural genesis. It is
important to note that while acceptance and equality are crucial cultural movements in the
LGBTQ community, there is by no means a desire for total assimilation. Many people take great
pride in their queerness, in being different and on the fringes of “polite” society. No custom
better captures the duality of LGBTQ acceptance in mainstream society and retention of cultural
identity than Pride parades and events (collectively referred to as simply “Pride”). Beginning
with the infamous Stonewall Inn riots in 1969, gay and lesbian people finally decided to take a
stand and refuse to be hidden from public view any longer. At the time, New York law
prohibited homosexuality in public. Gay establishments were routinely raided and shut down.
When police raided the Stonewall Inn (a popular Greenwich Village gay bar), people took to the
streets in protest (The Leadership Conference, 2009, para. 3-4). This spurred the cultural
tradition of Pride, with the first parade being held in multiple major cities on the first anniversary
of the Stonewall riots. Pride is a way for LGBTQ individuals to celebrate our heritage, proclaim
our refusal to be ignored and pushed to the margins, to honor our long history of struggle and
those queer pioneers who sometimes laid down their lives for the cause, and to be surrounded my
members of our community in solidarity and love.
The queer community continues to face oppression and violence in the present day. The
struggle is especially pronounced in other countries around the world where homosexuality is
reviled and considered a direct affront to religious teachings or local customs. Although we have
seen great strides towards equality in the United States in recent years, there are still many places
globally where LGBTQ people are imprisoned or killed for embracing their cultural identity.
Even within this country, discrimination is still rampant in some regions. On an almost daily
basis, queer rights are called to question by organizations looking to repeal legal protections or
implement legislation such as “Religious Freedom” acts, which grant legal authority for
businesses and government to refuse service to gay people. While same-sex marriage is finally
law of the land, thanks to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, there are still states
which refuse to allow same-sex couples to adopt children and thus enjoy truly equal rights to a
family experience on par with the unhindered rights of heterosexual families.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people have fought long and hard to enjoy the
same rights, privileges and acceptance as other in society. Out of necessity and shared struggle,
we have formed a rich culture which allows us to belong to a community of others with whom
we share both our difficult history and the joys of our progresses. Just as most cultures offer
individuals a place to belong, so does the LGBTQ community. Through our common values,
experiences and traditions we stand together in solidarity to continue advancing our culture and
ensuring those traditional pushed to the margins have a place to call home.
References
ASL3514 Module 1 (2017). Module 1: presentation. Retrieved January 18, 2017 from
https://usflearn.instructure.com/courses/1188948/pages/module-1presentation?module_item_id=10410874
Cook-Daniels, L. (2008). Living memory GLBT history timeline: current elders would have
been this old when these events happened. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 4(4),
485-497. doi:10.1080/15504280802191731
Morris, B. J. (n.d.). History of lesbian, gay, & bisexual social movements. Retrieved January
20, 2017, from http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/history.aspx
PBS. (n.d.). Timeline: milestones in the American gay rights movement. Retrieved January 19,
2017, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/timeline/stonewall/
The Leadership Conference. (n.d.). Stonewall riots: the beginning of the LGBT movement.
Retrieved January 20, 2017, from http://www.civilrights.org/archives/2009/06/449stonewall.html
Timeline of LGBT history. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2017, from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_LGBT_history
The father of cultural anthropology, Edward B Tylor, defined culture as a “…Complex
whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and
habits acquired by man, as a member of society (Tylor, 2006).” The culture of American college
falls into this definition by creating a community of people that are like minded, have similar
habits, and are subjected to life through the same experiences. The culture of college is a culture
that has grown in the past few years. The number of college students has increased dramatically
within the last 30 years due to the sudden increase in the population. There are currently more
than 20 million people enrolled in a community college or university within the United States
today as compared to the 11 million people who were enrolled in 1975 (Number of college
students in the U.S. 1965-2025, 2014). This jump in attendance can also be contributed to the
growing emphasis within the American work force to obtain a higher education degree before
entering the job market.
So how did this culture begin? In 1636, the Massachusetts General Court founded
Harvard University, the first University on American soil (About Harvard, 2017). This school
was founded for many reasons. One was the amount of British colonists who were previously a
part of a culture that put great emphasis on the importance of higher level learning. This mindset
and belief was brought over to the United States with them and has since remained. Another
reason for the founding of this institute was the desire for educated clergy and leadership within
the early American Puritan church. As freedom of religion grew with in the US and more
churches of different denominations arose, so did the amount of small colleges around the
country. And so began the higher education system in the United States. For many years, only
Caucasian Christian men were allowed to attend these institutions. In 1890, the government
passed an act that funded the building of universities and places of education for African
American men. Later, in the early 1900’s, women’s colleges began to gain popularity as the idea
that women could bring additional income to families grew more and more attractive and
obtainable. It wasn’t until the 1950’s, following the Brown versus Board of Education federal
lawsuit, that the Supreme Court of the United States decided to abolish segregated schooling and
fully integrate both men and women, white and black into the same institutions (Berger &
Calkins, 2000).
Perhaps one of the most defining aspect and issue of this group is the lack of sufficient
finances. From the creation the university system, the image of those attending university has
always been that of prestige and so has unintentionally attracted a wealthier demographic and
shunned the less fortunate. This has undoubtedly contributed to the reason pricing of attending a
university has always been so high in the United States. Just in the past 40 years, the cost of
college has increased more than $8,000. In addition to this, the average cost to attend a private
non-profit university surpassed the average income of women in 1994 (Median Incomes v.
Average College Tuition Rates, 2012). Meanwhile, the job market continues to become less and
less available to those without a college degree. All these factors combined have caused the
culture of college to be one of poverty. Many students struggle to pay rent, buy food, and even
buy gasoline. Recently, my roommate informed me of her success in obtaining a “nice” set of
shelves from our apartment complex’s trash chute. This is an example of the frugal mindsets
some students possess. I, too, have struggled in the area of finances as my cost of living and
attending university increases faster than my income. These difficulties have been reflected
within the college community on many social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, as
the community relates to each other while poking fun at the lack of finances and the urgency to
conserve money. Unfortunately, this is not so easily push aside for some and the stress of
finances and academic expectation has led to a spike in mental illness and suicides.
However, this hardship has also caused the community to come together by the pooling
of resources such as food and money. This may be one reason that the community places high
value on being social. One may be seen as an outsider if they do not reach out and join a social
circle. Many people view the college community as hard partiers due to the fact that many
members may stay out late and sometimes engage in unhealthy or unlawful activities. However,
there is more to the social aspect of this community than late nights. With the knowledge of the
stresses that come along with obtaining a higher educational degree, the community has come to
realize that this feat is better done with friends around than in isolation. This realization has led
to the creation of sororities, fraternities, and other clubs within the various universities of the
United States. These clubs give college students the opportunity to meet other members of the
community that are like minded and may expand their social circles. While spending time
together, members of the community may share a meal, study for classes, attend events held at
the university, or enjoy time outside of the college campus by attending events or places of
business in the greater community.
Although the social aspect of the college community carries great importance, it is also
communally understood if one does not always have the time to attend such gatherings. Time
within this culture is rigidly scheduled so as to balance the work load of academics, employment,
and the expectation to be social. Many students use their time together to achieve a task such as
buying food or walking to a class. It is not typically perceived as rude if interactions are cut
short because of the communal understanding that time is precious and should be spent
accomplishing a task. In addition to the highly structured timing of this culture, many students
participate in poor sleep schedules. A student is revered as a hardworking if he or she has stayed
up early into the morning, or even neglected to sleep at all.
Overall, while myself and others included in this culture face many challenges, we have
found many unique and resourceful way to obtain success. These coping mechanisms have
culminated together to create the traits and norms that make up the culture of college.
Works Cited
About Harvard. (2017). Retrieved from Harvard University: http://www.harvard.edu/
Berger, B. J., & Calkins, M. V. (2000). Higher Education in the United States. Retrieved from
StateUniversity.com: http://education.stateuniversity.com/
Holcomb, T. k., Langholtz, D., & Mindess, A. (2006). Reading Between the Signs. In T. k.
Holcomb, D. Langholtz, & A. Mindess, Reading Between the Signs (p. 64). 64:
Intercultural Press.
Median Incomes v. Average College Tuition Rates. (2012). Retrieved from ProCon.org:
http://college-education.procon.org/
Number of college students in the U.S. 1965-2025. (2014). Retrieved from Statista.com:
https://www.statista.com
Among many other labels, I identify as American with Colombian descent. This is why
the culture this paper will be exploring is not the Colombian culture in its purity, nor solely the
American culture, but the partially assimilated Colombian-American culture I was raised in. To
achieve this, I will be addressing Colombia’s history, contemporary iss …
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