Category Archives: Culture

WHEN CULTURES CONFLICT

Now a professor in psychology at UCLA studying teaching and learning internationally, Stigler identifies a distinction in the way the East and the West view intellectual struggle. “I think that from very early ages we [in America] see struggle as an indicator that you’re just not very smart. Whereas in Asian cultures they tend to see struggle more as an opportunity.”

Eastern culture treats struggle as part of the learning process, not an omen of the lack of inherent ability. Struggle allows a child to learn tenacity and persistence in solving a problem and achieving a goal, according to Stigler. The West tends to stigmatize struggle as a negative experience, often conditioning children to avoid the hard tasks or to concede too early, “I can’t do it.” Continue reading

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BEAUTY

Sydney Spies never imagined that a photo shoot for her high school yearbook would lead to a national new story. Her mother warned her that the shot she selected for her senior class picture might lead to controversy, but even she was surprised by the media attention.
The 18-year-old high school student from Durango, Colorado posed on a staircase, looking back over her left shoulder. Wearing a short yellow skirt and a black scarf wrapped around her torso so that it exposes her shoulders and midriff, Spies portrays something more provocative than usual yearbook fare. Continue reading

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WHERE DO YOU FIND REAL COMMUNITY?

Community in America has suffered the swelling tide of individualism in the last five decades. In general, people are trading communal life for a bloated private life, as they shrink their relational sphere to family and a small group of very close friends. Continue reading

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UNMASKING MULTICULTURALISM

For decades, political advocates have praised and promoted multiculturalism, arguing for the social benefit of interaction between differing cultures. Cultural relativism grew out of this position, treating all cultures as equal and morally neutral. Some people advocate preserving the coexistence of cultural distinctions rather than promoting assimilation into a single culture, calling it a salad bowl rather than a melting pot.

Some practices and traits of a culture may exist independently from particular values, such as food or dress. But many cultural practices are rooted in values and very often, religious beliefs. Adherents treat the practice with moral assertion, as the right thing to do and competing practices as wrong. Continue reading

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WHAT THE INTERNET TELLS US ABOUT OURSELVES

One has to wonder about a cyber community that invites and facilitates acrimonious speech. The anonymity of those who comment plays to the dark side of human nature. Meanness does not require accountability. One can make unpleasant and painful comments without being confronted, except by another anonymous comment. This provides the darkness where sinful behavior loves to hide. Continue reading

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THE LIFE OF JANE

Not yet 20, Jane is already divorced, a mother and a recovering drug addict. Her parents divorced when she was young, and her mother suffered a debilitating aneurism when Jane was only 12. She has had to serve as a part-time caregiver, not only to her mother, but also to her grandmother, who lives with them. Continue reading

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VIRTUOUS?

The “Faceless 50” are receiving international attention for their courage and self-sacrifice. These Japanese workers at the disabled Fukushima nuclear power plant have worked around the clock to contain the fires and prevent a reactor meltdown. This display of character imitates the 186 firefighters who extinguished the fires at the Chernobyl reactor in 1986, 28 whom died of acute radiation sickness the same year. And it reflects the selfless action of the 343 firefighters and paramedics who fatally rushed up the stairs of New York’s twin towers in 2001. Continue reading

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