Ethnography tells about culture and the members that comprise this culture. A definition in the scientific description of the customs and individual people of a culture. The progress of doing this assignment allowed me to explore another aspect of a culture group different from my own. For this assignment, I chose to interview my mother in laws friend named Rosio. I was aware of her Hispanic culture when I first met her just based on her first name and the fact that her main language was Spanish. I’ve always wanted to know more about a different culture that is way different than my own so I thought there would be no better person.
Before conducting an ethnography interview I made sure that I had asked Rosio first and made sure she agreed to do so. I then explained to her that it is important to be able to recognize and respect other cultures different from your own, and not believe one’s own culture is more valuable or superior to the rest. Sometimes issues can prevail when people are unable to connect culturally with others. Being tolerant and understanding what other cultures value is key to successful acceptance of one another. And you want to be sure you can complete all of these things before interviewing another indivisible with a different culture from your own.
Culture is a way of life for people, and it helps construct the foundation for people’s values, beliefs, and choices made in life. Cultures are what makes societies unique, making them an essential element in influencing our everyday lives. And as it carries from generation to generation, people will adapt to new technology and changes, but the principles remain the same. Rosio stated to me “ that she has no doubt that her culture has influenced her in almost every decision she has made so far in her life, underlying what she has been taught and the values she was raised with”. Rosio was born in California, but her parents and the generation before them were all born in Mexico, which makes her Hispanic. When asked Rosio what her culture believes in she knew right away. Without hesitation, she answered these principles, and knowledge was passed down to me at a very young age. We are firm believers in family and manner, which is pretty universal with all Hispanic families. For example, we were taught to have phenomenal table manners in our homes, grandparents, and friends, and in public, they all apply the same. Which consists of knowing when and how to greet people, being polite, and such. In our culture, we believe in this and follow it so much because the whole family becomes judged by how just one member behaves. Having good etiquette, especially with people outside your family is very important to our culture. We believe in being respectful of one’s surroundings and of what is not yours is part of showing others that you’re a respectful individual, and also part of being liked as an individual by others. My grandparents taught my parents this and passed it down to me and my siblings and that is: the general idea is to give out respect in order to receive respect back from others. Or in other words, treat others how you want to be treated. I have applied this concept to every event in my life.
Because human beings display a variety of cultural attitudes about controlling external forces, our attitudes about time, destiny and fate can be dramatically different. As I asked Rosio what attitudes influence her culture. She sat there for a second and said this kind of a hard question to answer. Her response explained that here in the US with American culture, struggle with accepting things the way they are and have the need to constantly try to change them. They feel they need to have control of life’s uncertainty. But as Hispanics, we live our lives that each day is taken as it comes. We live with attitudes such as having a positive mindset, and that things are the way they are and there is no changing it. She added I would like to say that we have an attitude that tomorrow isn’t always guaranteed but today is so make the best of it. As a culture tolerant of uncertainty it tends that have a relaxed attitude. Having us being more laid back influences my culture to enjoy every moment we have on earth.
Cultural traditions help us connect with our people; country, community, family, and friends. It’s what keeps you together as a culture. This leads to my next question for Rosio what are some of your cultural traditions? She reveals that there are so many Hispanic traditions-too many to list. But the ones in her family who participates will give you a taste of a few of the most popular customs that are practiced in Hispanic culture. The main cultural tradition her family does is a Quince Anos celebration. She explains this to be a very popular tradition that makes the right of passage from girlhood to young womanhood. It is based on a huge party with the Quinceanera the woman who is turning fifteen years old. The girl will wear a very huge and pretty dress, usually a pastel color. She adds that at this dance the girl will dance with her father, older brothers, or any other male relatives. Another cultural tradition is Hispanic Christmas. Like many other cultures, Christmas is the most popular tradition. Hispanics have many customs when it comes to Christmas. Some are that as children you will write letters to baby Jesus instead of Santa Claus. We will have midnight mass we do this right as it strikes midnight and it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. While growing up our culture made the understanding that Christmas is about Jesus, not all the presents. And my favorite Christmas tradition is Christmas Eve dinner. We plan all year for this and make it a very special night celebrated with family and closest friends. And we all bring a dish since food plays an important role during this celebration. My family has been doing these traditions for too many years to count and will continue to do so through generations.
Family is a combination of functional love, although the function or purpose of a family might be similar, family structure differs all over the world. Each member of the family role has a certain play. Through these next few questions that I ask Rosio, you will learn the gender roles in the Hispanic culture. The first question I asked her what is a man’s role. She answered in the Hispanic family the fathers occupy a position of authority and respect and takes most of the decisions for his family. They should also be the providers for their families, meaning providing them with a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, and food on the table. That leads me to my next question for Rosio what is the woman’s role? Rosio explains to me that in the Hispanic culture women are the natural caregivers and play the role of housewives. They are responsible for taking care of their children, as well as doing the housework and preparing meals for their families. Then I asked her what is the children’s role. Rosio acclaims that from young age Hispanic families raise their children to be responsible and cooperative. The sons are helped responsible to provide for their families as well so typically start working at a young age. While the daughters look up to their grandmothers, mother, and aunts to be able to cook and do household chores. And the last question I asked her in relation to the family structure was how is the family viewed within your culture? Rosio confesses that family in Hispanic cultures is very close, they have family gatherings very frequently, and it’s all part of having the opportunity to see extended family such as our tios(uncles), tias(aunts), or cousins that we do not see every day. The need of our family is more important than the concerns of the individual’s needs. So in other words, she affirms that family is viewed as their greatest treasure.
When we talk about spirituality we are talking about the concept that has helped us cope. It’s what helps us get through the rough times in our life that we encounter. We use our spirituality and religious coping to help maintain our health and longevity, in well- belling during a chronic and terminal illness, through trauma, and stress. Through my interview with Rosio, I learned a lot about her own spiritual beliefs and the strengths they give her. I had first asked her would you mind sharing any spiritual beliefs that bring her strength. She asserted that throughout her life she has learned to be patient. It has made me good at hanging on over the long haul. I have learned to be thoughtful and patient with myself, with others, and with where God is going to lead me. Another spiritual belief I have endured that brings me strength is faithfulness. Being faithful to myself, and God. Knowing he is in total control of my life and knows what is best for me. I just have learned to sit back and be patient and faithful in his steering and know my time will come when he wants it to. I learned what Rosio values about her faith/religion is that she is united with God. She had faith that God is real and that he is with her always. And that he is in control of healing and her life. She claimed that if my family gets sick we will not go to the doctor because we believe in gods total healing and his words in the Bible. From her answers, I can convey Rosio has faith and trust in God and has faith his words are true. Yet, uses her spiritual beliefs to keep her strong through all the rough times we endure throughout our lifetime.
From this interview, I have learned so many new things. And that being able to understand other cultures like the Hispanics begins with knowing the traditions, faith, and experiences of these cultural groups. Knowing the things we like and do not like, what we believe in and how we act will always be affected by our culture. Yet even though we may have to live somewhere else away from our culture our food, customs, ideas, mentality, and judgment is all underlined by our cultures and live within us forever. And above all, being able to embrace and accept the beliefs, norms, and values of other cultures is crucial for cultural diversity to exist in any place, in this world.