How Has Your Culture Influenced Who You Are: Essay

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Culture is defined in many different ways by different people. Whether talking about American culture, LGBT culture, or Deaf culture, they are all a system of knowledge. Culture shapes us because it consists of values, beliefs, language, behaviors, and practices that people share. These influence us on how to think, interact, and behave in the world. People can be a part of more than one culture based on what they identify themselves as. No one is born with culture; we are taught culture by our family members throughout our lifetime and it is passed on from one generation to another. The ways of being, actions, and ideas that are appropriate in one culture may not be appropriate in another. Culture is alive and it is in a constant state of change.

The cultures that I choose to be a part of our Filipino culture and Gay culture. Someone who is Filipino and Gay may not interact or think the way that I do because we have different beliefs and values from our personal experiences. In terms of culture, we are born a blank slate, having no knowledge of culture. Holcomb (2013) states, “people are not born with culture; rather, they are born into a culture where strategies of survival are introduced to members of the community as they grow up. These strategies allow people not only to survive but also to thrive in the environment in which they live,” (p. 17). We gradually acquire the characteristics and norms of a culture based on our personal experiences and family members.

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As I was growing up, my parents taught me traditions, behaviors, and values that were accepted throughout the Filipino culture. Filipinos value their families. This includes the nuclear family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and honorary relations such as godparents and close family friends. Filipinos receive much love, support, strength, stability, and endless happiness from their families. “Family is considered to be the foundation of social life for most Filipinos,” (Scroope, 2017). Growing up, I had a strong bond with my nuclear and extended family members. We would have family get-togethers at least once a week to eat, sing, and socialize with each other. My family usually sets aside a specific day for a certain celebration such as birthdays, anniversaries, or reunions. To me, family always came first. Because family matters most to Filipinos, I am family-oriented and have a family-centered lifestyle.

Rice is the main meal in the culture. The very first food I learned to prepare from my parents was rice. It is usually prepared by steaming it in a rice cooker and served together with other foods. In addition, it is also the main ingredient in the preparation of pastries and sweets, grounding it to make rice flour. Johnson-Kozlow et al. (2011) state, “steamed, white rice was reported to be a central part of the daily diet, often being at breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” (p. 3). Filipinos consume a lot of seafood in most households such as fish, clams, mussels, squid, crabs, and shrimp. They are prepared by being salted, fried, and served with rice and vegetables. At bigger parties, there is usually a whole pig roasted called Lechon. This is a popular food item where people can slice their pieces and serve themselves. Growing up, my diet always consisted of rice with every meal, so I am used to eating rice with meat or seafood.

In addition, Christmas is important to Filipinos. We have the longest Christmas celebration, celebrating it as early as September. “September inaugurates the start of what is known as the ‘Ber’ months (September, October, November, and December) when parades, parties, and concerts crowd the calendar of a season that is as visually resplendent as it is long,” (McCarthy, 2018). My mom decorates the inside and outside of the house with Christmas decorations. My family would celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve and it would extend until the morning of Christmas Day. This was always the biggest celebration every year, having family from different areas attend the Christmas party. Each family would prepare and bring either food or desserts to share with everyone. The adults would socialize with each other in one room, while the kids were playing games in another. Once midnight hit, my entire family would exchange gifts and open them at the same time. The party would continue even after we open presents.

I identify myself with the LGBT culture because of my sexual orientation. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Those who are in the LGBT community might experience discrimination and hatred based on their sexual orientation. They are discriminated against in schools, and hospitals, mistreated and disowned by their families. Some cultures do not approve of same-sex marriages or relationships because it is considered wrong. “For many gays and lesbians, coming out of the closet still risks familial banishment, the loss of friendships, or even violence,” (Kirchick, 2019). It took a lot of courage, but I am open about my identity to my friends, family, and to the public. My friends and family were very supportive and accepting of me, encouraging me to be comfortable with my sexual orientation. The LGBT community is filled with very supportive individuals. For example, when my girlfriend and I hold hands in public and we see another LGBT member, they will flash a friendly smile at us. I am proud to be a part of this culture.

I do not identify myself with Deaf culture, but I find it extraordinary that they have their own community that brings Deaf people together. They have similarities and differences like any other culture. For example, every culture has its own language. Filipinos speak Tagalog and Deaf people communicate with each other by using American Sign Language (ASL). Holcomb (2013) states, “ASL is considered to be the most accessible language for deaf people because of its visual properties,” (p.114). On the other hand, Deaf people stomp their feet and flicker the lights to get the attention of other people. However, these techniques are not used when hearing people are around since they are viewed as negative.

America is very diverse because of its various racial, religious, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. Diversity is constantly growing. One’s cultural values, beliefs, practices, and customs influence how we think, interact, and behave in the world. There are many cultural similarities and differences such as the spoken language, preparation of food, and social habits. We should embrace these differences because that is what makes everyone distinctly unique.

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How Has Your Culture Influenced Who You Are: Essay. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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