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A Matter of Perspective
What is Culture?
          Material Culture
 Many times, what is thought of as culture is
  only its outward manifestation.
 Music, food, race and clothing are material
 They are things that we can see, touch or
         Non-material culture
 Non-material cultural
  is ideas, beliefs and
  values that influence
  material culture.

Religion and language
  are examples
of non-material culture
              Cultural Roots
 Our collective
  opinions, attitudes,
  values and beliefs
  influence such things
  as laws, customs and
            Culture as a Lens
 Culture is like a
  distorted lens that we
  see the world through.

 Everyone’s lens is
  distorted to some
                      Not Me?

 Chances are, you have an
  opinion about this guy. Your
  opinion reveals the distortion
  of your cultural lens.
U.S. Culture : local (national) scale
                             All people have a
                             tendency to reinforce
                             their own values and
       White,                Culture is often
        White, male,         dictated by the
        attractive, rich,    characteristics and
                              values of the
        athletic, educated    dominant group.
        English language      What are the
        Protestant            characteristics
                             and values of
Name         Gender   Ethnicity      religion
Washington   Male     English        Protestant
Adams        Male     English        Protestant
Jefferson    Male     Welsh          Protestant
Madison      Male     English        Protestant
Monroe       Male     Scotch         Protestant
Adams        Male     English        Protestant
Jackson      Male     Scotch-Irish   Protestant
Van Buren    Male     Dutch          Protestant
Henry        Male     English        Protestant
Tyler        Male     English        Protestant
Polk         Male     Scotch-Irish   Protestant
Name        Gender   Ethnicity        Religion
Taylor      Male     English          Protestant
Fillmore    Male     English          Protestant
Pierce      Male     English          Protestant
Buchanan    Male     Scotch-Irish     Protestant
Lincoln     Male     English          Protestant
Johnson     Male     English          Protestant
Grant       Male     Scotch-Irish     Protestant
Hayes       Male     Scotch           Protestant
Garfield    Male     English          Protestant
Arthur      Male     Scotch-Irish     Protestant
Cleveland   Male     English, Irish   Protestant
Name         Gender   Ethnicity       Religion
Harrison     Male     English         Protestant
Mckinley     Male     Scotch-Irish    Protestant
Roosevelt    Male     Dutch           Protestant
Taft         Male     English         Protestant
Wilson       Male     Scotch-Irish    Protestant
Harding      Male     English-Dutch   Protestant
Collidge     Male     English         Protestant
Hoover       Male     Swiss-German    Protestant
Roosevelt    Male     Dutch           Protestant
Truman       Male     English, Scotch Protestant
Eisenhower   Male     Swiss-German Protestant
Kennedy      Male     Irish           Roman Catholic
Name      Gender       Ethnicity       Religion
Johnson   Male         English,        Protestant
Nixon     Male         English         Protestant
Ford      Male         English         Protestant
Carter    Male         English         Protestant
Reagan    Male         English Irish   Protestant
Bush      Male         English         Protestant
Clinton   Male         English Irish   Protestant
Bush      Male         English         Protestant
          Total male   Northern        Protestant
          43           43              42
  Hegemony and Marginalization
 Unfortunately, those
  who do not share the
  characteristics of the
  dominant group often
  feel that they don’t fit
 They are pushed away
  from the center of
  power into the
  margins. This is called
     Hegemony and Language
 If language were a
  truck, then culture
  would be it’s cargo.

 Languages are
  embedded with all
  kinds of culture.
  Japanese Language and Culture
 Before the Meiji Restoration, Japan      Feudal Lord
  was a feudal society. They had a caste
  system that held each social class in
  it’s place.                                Samurai
 The Japanese have several different
  levels of speech depending on who          Artisans
  they are talking to.
 When meeting someone for the first        Merchants
  time, it is custom to present someone
  with a business card that has your
  name, company name and rank in the        Peasants
  company so that they know what level
  of speech to use.                        Untouchables
 Marginalization and Martial Arts
 Martial Arts is fighting
  without traditional
  weapons. In most feudal
  societies, the only class
  that was allowed to own a
  weapon was the warrior
  class. Because they often
  abused their power, the
  peasants created forms of
  fighting to protect
  themselves. They adapted
  weapons from farm tools.
Extreme Distortion
      At its worst,
       marginalizaiton takes
       the form of hatred,
       racism, chauvenism,
       homophobia, sizeism,
       religious persecution
       and any other act by
       those with distorted
       lenses to reinforce
       their own values
   Core Periphery Model: Global Scale
                                           The core periphery model
                                           explains how some countries
              Latin America
                                           are more powerful than
        China                              others.
            Western Europe, Japan          Specifically, countries north
   S. East                           South
   Asia              CORE                  and south of 30 degrees
                                           latitude are at the core, while
              Australia, South Korea
                                           those between the equator to
                  Middle East
              Sub-Saharan Africa           degrees north and south are
                                           on the periphery.
                                           In other words, those at the
See also: World Systems Analysis core are hegemonic and
                                           exploit/marginalize those on
                                           the periphery.
Core-Periphery Model

           At it’s worst, an entire culture
           Can have a distorted view of
           Another race, religion or gender
           This was the case with the
           Holocaust, Genocide in Rwanda,
           Darfur, Palestinian conflict
           and many other atrocities.
         World Conflict Zones

 Dark Blue=1000+ deaths per year
 Light Blue=10-1000 deaths per year
  Looking at the Lens
 If our values and beliefs distort our view of
  reality, what are we to do?
 Instead of always looking through the lens,
  we should look at the lens from time to time.
 We should examine the way that our beliefs,
  attitudes, behavior and language affect other
  people. If our examination reveals
  something hurtful, we should make amends
  and make a change.
             Response Format
  Use the following format
   to write what you learned
   from this lesson:
1. Summarize the main idea
   of the lesson.
2. Text to world: How does
   this idea relate to the
   world around you.
3. Text to self: Write your
   attitudes, opinions,
   experiences about this
  Excerpts from reflection papers
 The culture goggles had the biggest impact on my life.
  That lesson has completely changed the way I view the
  world. It really connected and hit home. I understand
  things about other cultures that I never would have before.
  I really liked how you had something that was physical and
  visual. It helps you remember things better when you use
  kinesthetic learning techniques. This lesson will definitely
  change my future outlook on other countries, religion and
  races. It gives me an understanding that I have never had
  before.I always thought of how weird and different other
  places are. However, I never stopped to think about how
  they viewed me. They probably think I’m weird!
                Another excerpt
 While learning about the earth’s structure is all well and
  good, it’s not something that particularly captivated me. I,
  instead, was drawn to the political and social power aspect
  of our world. Power is what our world is based on today.
  One group of people becomes dominant, and then their
  values and beliefs are reinforced by their power. If you do
  not possess the same values or standards as this group,
  you are less influential, less important and less powerful.
  Many times, the classifications to be in the “group” are
  impossible to achieve. You cannot change who you are or
  what you look like. If being white is what is “in,” being
  black is not something you change. We have to learn to
  work with what we have and to love who we are.

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