You are currently browsing the Talking Cultural Diversity blog archives for April, 2010.

Moving Out to Move Up

By Jean Mavrelis - 04.09.2010

African Americans talk about the demands of family and community and the need to “move out to move up”.

This creates problems not only for them but for others coming from a collective oriented culture. They\’re not just individuals. They\’re also members of a group.

Latino, Asian, and Middle Eastern Americans echo many of these sentiments.

Many people of color I have met who are working in corporate America –those who have moved away from family and friends to follow the corporate path to success– speak of their loneliness at having left their family and community.

One Latina friend says she has to deal with guilt from sisters who are left taking caring of aging parents

Yet many of them also say that moving away was the only way they could escape family pressures and the traditional roles and responsibilities that went with that to discover who they were or wanted to be as individuals.

An Asian friend says she is barraged with requests to help relatives in need, and is also living with the understanding that her husband’s parents will move in with them soon since she married the oldest son.

Others felt forced to leave. Read more »

Tiger\’s Rebirth

By Thomas Kochman - 04.05.2010

One characteristic of U.S. culture that seems to distinguish U.S. culture, as any Law and Order TV episode can attest, is when crimes and misdemeanors are committed, how quickly and easily we lose sight of the victim, devoting almost all of our attention to understanding what’s going on with the perpetrator instead.

That seems to fascinate us as a culture not only because that’s the story that the media trades on –in this sense, feeding upon what’s already out there— but also because it resonates with our attitudes towards punishment and redemption, in the latter case, our belief in the capacity of people to rise from the ashes—Phoenix like—and renew themselves – putting their past behind them socially as well as spiritually.

The situation with Tiger Woods is a case in point. In today\’s interview Woods continued to express contrition about his infidelity, about straying from the principles he said his parents raised him by. “I lied to a lot of people, I deceived a lot of people,” he said. “I rationalized. I kept a lot of people in the dark. I even lied to myself.” At the same time, \”He was stunned by the positive reaction he got on the course as he practiced at Augusta. \’The encouragement I got, it blew me away.\’\”

Other class-based and communal societies,especially those that are honor and shame based and where the reputation of the family is of primary importance, do not take individual social or personal transgressions that lightly. Read more »