Becoming Aware of My Cultural Self

Individual flower

Individual ~ Cultural Self

Each of the categories in the circle represents an aspect of your cultural self. Some aspects we relate to more than others. Each aspect can be connected to values and beliefs that you have been taught. For example, in regard to gender, you may have learned that women are emotional and men don’t cry.

Take out your journal or sketchbook and draw or write a value or belief you hold around each of these aspects of yourself. You may want to explore values or beliefs you were taught at an early age and how these values and beliefs may have changed over time. Is there any residue of the originally taught value or belief that colors your perceptions and assumptions today?

As you draw and/or write, you will begin to become more conscious of who you are from a cultural perspective. You can use this awareness to support you in understanding your own actions more clearly; in improving your interpersonal and intercultural communication; and in contributing more fully in a group setting.

Transcript of the diagram above

Your True Essence
Who you are before you are acculturated; some say you are a spark of the Divine
Personality
Your unique style that permeates all other aspects of your culture- for example, are you more serious or humorous? Relaxed or intense?

Born Into

Age
What world events in the decade you were born affect your values and beliefs?
Gender
What does it mean to you to male, female, transgender, or a combination of both male and female, such as hijras?
Sexual Orientation
An emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to the same sex, opposite sex, or both sexes – Most common categories are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and asexual. What values and beliefs do you have around sexual orientation?
Ethnicity
A distinct social group who share a common heritage, values, language, and behavior. What values and beliefs come from your ethnic background?
Race
Refers to a group of people who are socially defined as distinct on the basis of shared physical traits. Most common categories in the U.S. today are European American, Asian-American, African-American, and Native-American. Latinos may belong to any of these categories. What do you identify as your race? How does your race impact your values and beliefs?
Physical Ability
What physical assets and limitations affect what your value and believe?

Can Change Over Time

Appearance
Our appearance (e.g. weight, hair color, height) affects what we value and believe about ourselves and others. How does your appearance and the appearance of others affect your values and beliefs?
Geographic Location
Where you grew up and where you live now affect your experience of who you are. How does your geographic location affect your values and beliefs? Name them.
Religion
What are key values and beliefs you hold that come from your religion?
Educational Background
How does your level of formal education affect your values and beliefs, especially as it relates to other’s level of education?
Marital and Parental Status
How does your marital and parental status affect your values and beliefs? Think in relation to those who are in an opposite situation to you.
Income
How does the amount of money you have affect what you believe is most important?
Work Experience
What is important to you about your level and type of work experience?

In Your Workplace

Functional Level and Classification
How does your organization create hierarchy (such as Level 14) or classifications (such as professional and para-professional)? How do these terms affect your attitudes and beliefs?
Department, Division, Unit
How do departmental or divisional differences in your organization affect your values and beliefs?
Union Affiliation
How does union affiliation or non-affiliation affect your values and beliefs in your organization?
Work Location
Are you located in headquarters or out in the hinterlands in your organization? How does where you are located affect your values and beliefs?
Seniority
How does your length of time in your organization affect your values and beliefs as they relate to your work?
Work Content/Field of Expertise
How does the kind of work you do affect your values and belies within your organization?

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