Full version Cultural Interview

Cultural Interview

This print version free essay Cultural Interview.

Category: Miscellaneous

Autor: reviewessays 09 June 2011

Words: 1168 | Pages: 5

Interview with Maria

Mexican culture is colorful and rich, enriched with pride and heritage. Family values and strong moral constitution have sustained the culture for hundreds of years. I have had the pleasure to interact and consort with the Mexican culture most of my life in the business that I'm in. Dedication and hard work are the stables that bound the stigma of the Mexican culture. Being that I truly honor the culture I have chosen a friend of mine that I work with to perform my interview upon. My interviewee is Maria Dimas; she was born in Cancun Mexico but has lived most of her life in the United States.

Maria and I eat lunch together almost every day in the cafeteria where we work. I asked her a few weeks ago if she would be interested in doing an interview with me about her culture. She thought it was a funny request at first and demonstrated this by laughing at me. After joking about it for a few minutes and convincing her that I was serious, she agreed.

Maria and I meet at the Starbucks close to the mall last Saturday and we began the interview. I started off with the first section of questions from the syllabus. I asked Maria "How do assumptions about cultural "norms" impact your interviewee's behavior on a day-to-day basis"? Maria replied that she didn't notice the expectations of Mexican norms from other cultures but rather more from her family and other Mexicans. She said "my family expects me to be a certain way, so I feel like I'm living two different lives sometimes".

I continued by asking her the challenges that she confront by being outside the norm of her culture. Maria replied that, again, the challenges came from her peers and family rather than other cultures. She said her family is more old school Mexican and that some of her family cannot speak English, so it's as if she has to be a certain person while at home and another when out in the world. Maria said "I have a hard time relating to some of my family, they don't want me to lose my sense of heritage".

I went on to ask her if she recognized any privileges or advantages associated with assimilating to the "normative" culture. She didn't really seem to understand the question but replied "I just want to fit in and be accepted". Which, personally, I didn't quite understand the question myself; who is to say which culture is normative and which one would it be.

I asked her if she had any recommendations on how to effectively communicate with people of other cultures. She replied that she just treats everyone as she would like to be treated, to just be herself and treat everyone the same. We discussed her answer and I agree that there doesn't have to be ways on how to interact with people of different cultures. People are people and most just want to be treated with respect.

I moved onto the list of questions that I formulated earlier in the semester. I began by asking her what value her culture hold in high esteem. She replied that "family values are it in my opinion; we are nothing without our families". She went on to explain that all through her life that she had been taught to value family above all others.

Secondly, I asked her what she thought could be done about racism and prejudice. It took her a minute to reply, she said she wasn't really sure what could be done. She said "we need to just treat each other with kindness and respect". She didn't seem to think that there is a solution; that people will always fear what they don't understand and so there will always be racism in some form. I have to agree with her on this point just from my own experiences.

Thirdly, I asked Maria who was someone that her culture considered a hero. She replied "One hero that my culture celebrates is Miguel Hidalgo, he was part of the war for Mexican independence from Spain". I went on to research Hidalgo myself and found that he taught theology, philosophy and ethics, and was a great man. He is remembered on Mexican Independence Day.

Fourthly, I asked Maria what her definition of culture is. Maria said that she felt it was the things about people that make them different from others. I agree with her to some extent but at the same time it is also the things about certain people that help bring them together.

I went on to ask her how important religion is in her family. She replied that her family is all catholic and it is very important to her and them. She said she tries to live her life as well as she can base upon the rules of her catholic background. On a lighter note is said "it can make dating difficult" and she laughed. Closely related to this question was the question if whether or not she and her family participated in organized religion. She seemed to think this was a silly question based upon her previous answer, but she said "yes, very much, we go to church three times a week".

I asked her which holiday is most important to her culture and she replied "The most celebrated holiday in my house is Christmas. We decorate the tree and the entire house". Maria has three children and they all love Christmas, like every other child does.

I went on to ask her "What would you say is, from your perspective, the most commonly held misconception about people of your culture"? She said "one thing that makes me angry is that people seem to think none of us speak English. It happens to me a lot where people walk up to me and say do you speak English." I told her that I understand where she is coming from with this complaint. I hear it a lot in my work, jokes about Mexicans being unable to speak English and that if they are going to be here they should.

Lastly, I asked her if she had ever experienced racism. Sadly enough she said yes, she said more in high school when she was younger, but not so much now that she is grown. She said the places she shops and the places she goes are all Mexican owned and that she really just consorts with her own kind. In that sense I assume there is no racism in a group of people just like you.

Took us about an hour to finish the interview, I have to admit that it was more interesting than I thought it would be. It's difficult to get people to open up about their cultures even if they are people you are close with. She said she didn't mind but doing the interview, if anything she got some free coffee out of it.