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Overview: In thinking about this idea or paradigm being comprised of ethnicity, class, gender, age and belief we need to flesh out what each of those are for the purpose of this class and from and anthropological view.
Ethnicity is not race. The textbook addresses this, but the most important thing to remember is that ethnicity is about the cultural connection to a group that you identify with, that identifies with you and that others see you as. These are not always aligned; when people are from multicultural or inter-racial backgrounds that might be easy to see. As an example, I have a friend from Hawaii. When she was living in Greeley, people assumed she was Hispanic. This is a mismatch of her ethnic identity. As another example, I was born and raised in Bolivia South America. My father’s heritage was Portuguese, and my mother was mostly Irish. I look like my mother, so people don’t see me and identify me with a Latin culture- though that culture is the most influential in my thinking, cultural values, etc. Everyone has an ethnic heritage that may or not be highly influential in their sense of self- but we all have one. Think about how you view the world around the idea of ethnicity and how the world views you.
Class is not just about money, it is about access to resources (Ruby Payne has a great book called A Framework for Understanding Poverty that addresses this if you are interested- very useful and easy to read book!). When thinking about access to resources, think about access to societal values (those with more money are more likely to value career- even over family; whereas those with less money tend to value family more than career). Think about access to education, healthcare, strong sense of community, etc. How does that impact the way you look at the world?
Gender is not sex- it is not about your sex parts or chromosomes, but rather is about the rules, beliefs and meaning cultures construct around what sex a person is. These rules and beliefs impact what we wear, what jobs we think are most suited to each sex, etc. Gender also weaves in ideas about orientation. Again, think about what you believe it means to be a man/woman/inter-sexed individual.
Age often influences what things we think about and are important to us. This often influences how we see the world and how we view people of different ages. Our culture offers great privilege to youth, for example and tends to infantilize the elderly.
Finally, belief- this is not just your spiritual beliefs, but your values and ideas about what it means to be you (such as personality theories, talents, etc.)
Assignment Description: Your job is to write a 5 page paper (I go by word count, so you need 1200-1500 words and I don’t worry about font, size, double or single space, etc) about who you are that reflects on the above mentioned 5 components of paradigm. I encourage you to write this as a first person, reflective- somewhat casual paper. It is essential that we know who we are before we try to understand other cultures.