Cultural backgrounds help to shape up how people conduct themselves in different situations. Cultural backgrounds encompass geographical, physical, social, and philosophical influences among others. A person interacts with these factors as he or she grows up. They shape up how a person behaves in different situations and when in different environments that may or may not be threatening to them. Cultural backgrounds also affect how people relate with their friends and work mates. Different geographical, cultural, and societal exposures provide different backgrounds to different people.
This paper presents a case study of two people from different cultural backgrounds. Specifically this paper looks at Peter who comes from an African cultural background and Vishram who has an Indian cultural background.
Peter and Vishram grew up in Africa and India respectively. The two people grew up in different backgrounds that differ in terms of cultural practices, geographical dispositions, and social connections. This presented Peter and Vishram with different ideologies and perspectives that they use, to look at life.
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First, Peter grew up in a patriarchal society that put men higher and important than women. Men had a higher regard than women did Peterâ€™s society. Men handled every issue that required decision-making. Therefore, his background taught him that men should always rule women. In fact, women in the society that Peter came from never went to school. Their responsibilities involved taking care of children and doing core domestic chores, such as cooking and cleaning. Therefore, this made Peter to believe that women should always follow what he says. This has brought challenge, to Peter especially, because he lives in a modernized world, where women have acquired the same roles as men and have the right to acquire education. At this moment in time, women no longer take domestic work as their responsibility. They have changed roles and obligations, because they are educated. Therefore, Peter had a lot of difficulty adjusting to this kind of environment, where he cooks and washes and attending to other domestic chores (Brown, 2000).
The kind of cultural background taught Peter the existence of a Supreme Being. This Supreme Being created heaven and earth. The cultural background offered him Christianity as a religion. People worship the creator, God, through that religion. Peter learnt that God has powers that any other entity. Peter grew up a religious person. He says religious influence from his cultural background has made him a complete person.
Peter experienced, while young, some aspects of initiation rites. In his society, circumcision is a prerequisite to be an adult. It does not matter whether one is a boy or a girl. This initiation happens when one reaches age of thirteen or fourteen. It is a rite of passage in to maturity. This time is a significant time for the individual in question as well as the society. This happens for boys and girls to know their responsibilities as active members of the society. Boys know their rights to their families and, to the society. Girls learn the same. The elder men, in the society take responsibility of educating boys, while elder women educate girls (Hallen, 2009).
During his initiation Peter, learnt about the secrets of his tribe, the process that he would engage in, how to get a wife and enter in to marriage. Peter then got into adulthood. He learnt not to closely associate with women. He further learnt how to communicate his tribulations, and difficulties to his age mates or tribal elders.
The cultural background that Peter grew in, taught him that older people take care of the young ones. This is a rule even if a child and an adult are unrelated. Men took the responsibility of taking care of the entire community, with women going to the farms to till and plant.
This taught Peter a noteworthy lesson. His cultural background promoted a communal life, where people lived as one family. When someone encountered a problem, the entire community would come to rescue and offer the assistance that a person needed. People took care of their individual, relations, neighbors, and friend properties.
Therefore, Peter had a strong influence from his cultural background. Unlike the modern way of life, where people value privacy and individuality, Peter grew up, in a background that promoted communalism. He grew up with the knowledge of respecting other people and their property. Until now, Peter believes that individualism does not function as the right value worth practicing. To Peter, people live together and learn how to share, what they have; however little it is (Russell and Engineers, 2001).
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As a child, Peter learns to respect adults irrespective of their age. Peter learnt that any person, who has the same age as his parents qualify, to be his parents. Therefore, age formed a significant aspect, to Peter that influences the relationship he has with elders. Through this, Peter learnt the impotence of respect. The cultural background that Peter grew in, introduced him to aesthetics. His culture practiced song and dance as forms of entertainment, passage of culture and praise among many other many functions. They sang these songs, in different occasions, for example, during initiation occasions. They sang songs of praise. The songs passed the culture of the society to generations. The cultural songs helped transfer the values of the society to the initiates, who had entered another stage of life, in the society. The praise songs meant to congratulate them for stepping in to another stage of life successfully. It encouraged and showed them the importance of the stage. Dance came along with the songs. When the society had good harvests from a bountiful season, the community would organize parties to gather, sing, and dance. Dance was a way of celebrating any success.
It seems funny to get Peter singing when he succeeds. He combines singing and dancing, to express his happiness. In fact, he says that when he passed a certain proficiency test, when in high school, he sang and danced until other people who did not know the reason joined him. Therefore, from his cultural experience, Peter learnt about the importance of song and dance.
The influences that Peter has got from his cultural background have had an enormous influence on him, as a person. Peter respects people, even those younger than him because this originates from a skill that he learnt from his cultural background (Bhatnagar, 2000).
To date, Peter lives a communal life. He does not understand how people can live with individuality as a value that matter. He believes that man must help his fellow man even when the resources prove minimal. Peter says that his cultural background has offered him one of the best types of education that he will never find, in a school environment. He says that without his cultural background, he could become an empty individual who knows nothing about his history and the values of life.
Vishram comes from India. He grew up in India, and attended his formative schooling years in there. Later on, he migrated to United States for higher education, after which he got a job and now lives there. Indian culture has a combination of civilizations, rites, principles, and notions that harmonizes a central core of self-entity. It has profound richness in religion and languages characterized by considerable number of alien groups. India combines cultures from Persia and Turkey. It boasts of a number of religions ranging from Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Its preaching ground spreads significant mantras that entail universal tolerance and spiritual consciousness.
Vishram grew up in a cultural background that offered him rich and diverse practices advocating humanity. In particular, the cultural background that Vishram grew taught him how to associate well with people (Datta, 2000).
Indian culture treats visitors as gods, serves, and takes care of them in a special way. Visitors are valuable members of the family. Visitors are channels of blessing and good luck. Vishram learn the value of visitors, when he grew up in India. He saw how his parents and neighbors welcomed and treated strangers. From this, he learnt that visitors have a significant importance to the lives of people. The Indian culture teaches that, if one expects good treatment from the people he or she visits, they should respect their own visitors (Fixico, 2003).
Indian culture teaches that respect for elders and their ideologies on significant issues matter a lot. Because elders have experience in life, they offer valuable advice to young people and children. This calls for their reverence. The culture recognizes elders as driving forces in most families. Therefore, the respect, to elders should come naturally from the young. The culture asserts that elders offer blessings to people and must be accorded respect. The Indian culture passes from one generation to the other (Prakash, 2005).
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Vishram grew up in knowing that respect for humanity as a guiding principle in lives of its people. The Indian culture takes all people alike. Therefore, respecting people is a duty. For example, the culture expects a boss to have a homely relationship, with his workers, as opposed to a master to slave relationship.
Right from, childhood, people acquire the virtue of helping one another, especially in times of intricacies and stress. This is not about monetary assistance only. The culture encourages people, offer help to other people, through comfort, advice and other ways that prove relevant to the situation at hand. People should distribute joy and happiness, as well as share distress, pain and sadness. Vishram passed through all these until his adulthood.
The Indian culture has a code of dressing that ensures that people dress, in a respectable way. It teaches people, to respect others and themselves by putting on clothes that display respect. Indians put on muslin and cotton clothes, in response to climatic changes. This taught Vishram how to dress, especially when attending different occasions (Prakash, 2005).
The culture that Vishram grew up in, stressed the importance of family life. This means that it encourages people to live together, in harmony and peace. Family culture revolves around love, patience, and understanding (Goldenberg and Goldenberg, 2007).
This values and ways of living have influenced Vishram as a person. Vishram holds a respect as his most coveted value. He says that without respect humanity cannot exist. Vishram believes that respect coupled by love harmony and religious teachings contribute to his growth as an individual.
The values that Vishram learnt in his cultural background have helped, to influence how he relates with other people. Vishram has an easy time associating with people because of the virtue of love, respect, and patience. They have helped him tolerate different kinds of people. In addition, his cultural background taught him the importance of people living together. Therefore, he lives with people as friends. When people encounter problems, Vishram offers his help unconditionally. This has made people admire Vishram (Huffman and Huffman, 2008).
Peter and Vishram have similarities, in the way they behave. In fact, one may think that they grew up in the same cultural background. However, the similarities they show stems from the similarities in their cultural background. African and Indian cultures display several similarities. Both of them teach about the importance of living together. The two cultural backgrounds show how they value a communal type of relationship. In addition, respect acts as a significant virtue in these cultural backgrounds. People learn the importance of respect from their childhood just as Peter and Vishram did.
Elders act as the backbone of the society in the two cultural backgrounds. Elders offer guidance to young people, based on their experiences about life. They also function as agents for transmission of the values and norms of the society, from one generation to the other (Bhatnagar, 2000).
The two cultures considerably limit women, to a certain extent. This happens specifically, with the way women dress and how they relate and interact with men and their female counterparts. The similarities in these two cultural backgrounds influence how Peter and Vishram engage in interactions outside their cultural worlds. Both of the two cultural backgrounds practice song and dance. However, the styles they apply to their songs and dance do not happen, in the same manner.
However, the two cultural backgrounds have differences. The African cultural background offers Christianity, as the religion that its people should use to worship. On the other hand, the Indian culture that Vishram comes from, emphasize on Buddhism as its religion. Both of them believe in one God, but the ways and practice of worship differ. Buddhists worship, in the temple, while Christians worship in the church (Hawley, 2008).
The clothing people put on in these two cultural backgrounds differ. Their outfits differ relatively. This applies especially, to women. Women in the African culture dress on relatively short dresses and skirts. On the other hand, Indian women put on long dresses, and vessels, sometimes covering their heads.
Despite the fact that the two cultural backgrounds display similarities and differences, their influences on personal behavior have a paramount impact. Their backgrounds determined how Peter and Vishram look at and judge the world.
Peter and Vishram grew up, in different places, with different cultural and environmental conditions. However, their similarity has similar influences on the two. This shows that cultural backgrounds offer valuable influence, in the lives of people. Peter and Vishram can associate with their friends without any difficulty. The cultural backgrounds that they come from taught them the importance of respect, patience, and love when associating with other people in the world. It then stands clear that when cultural backgrounds teach people and impart them with values that they should, people become what the society needs them to be. An influence of cultural backgrounds on the lives of people requires attention. This should happen as cultural backgrounds either build or destroy people with the qualities that they impart on them.