Cultural Studies: Cultural Interview
Learning about other people’s cultures enables an individual to appreciate and respect the cultural diversities that exist among human beings. This paper is based on the response received from an interview by a member of the Métis aboriginal community. The interview was taken through a face-to-face interaction with the respondent. The objectives of the study were in line with the goals of this class: to learn about other cultures, understand and appreciate them. The following paragraphs contain responses for each question asked during the interview.
Cultural Origins of the Métis Aboriginal People
The Métis people mainly live in Canada. They are part of the First Nation people of Canada who trace their roots from the 17th century and appeared as a result of the marriages between the fur traders and the First Nation people (Frideres & Gadacz, 2005). The respondent is part of the smaller group that exists in America.
Value of Métis Cultural Heritage
The Métis aboriginals are recognized in the Canadian constitution as one of the first occupants of the modern Canada (Frideres & Gadacz, 2005). This fact has made them the subject of discussion in the entire history. The culture of Métis is different from that of many Canadians. A lot of people have traveled to the aboriginal reserves to meet and see the community of the native Canadians.
Positive Role Models
The respondent said that the person whose life has inspired him is a fellow Métis, late Louis Riel. The respondent believes that Métis people still live a life of struggle and they need to emulate Riel in order to protect their interest (Frideres & Gadacz, 2005). Riel had organized the first resistance against the Canadian government, which made him popular among the Métis aboriginal people. The respondent hopes that he would be as brave as Riel to stand up for the oppressed and fight for their rights.
Meaning of Diversity According to the Respondent
The respondent defines diversity as the existence of people with varied backgrounds. The backgrounds include religion, race, culture, gender among other differences. He also adds that the cultural diversity has been one of the main sources of Métis aboriginal people’s suffering and humiliation in Canada.
The respondent points out that moving to America has made him see cultural diversity in a different perspective. The American people appreciate cultural diversity and more effort is put in place in order to tap the best from every culture. The respondent admits that he feels more comfortable in America than in his home country.
Societal Contribution by the Métis Aboriginals
The Métis aboriginal people have been marginalized for a long time. The income gap between them and the non-aboriginal people is very wide. There are a lot of discrimination and stereotyping which makes it difficult to get a stable job and remain in this position (Frideres & Gadacz, 2005). This situation has hindered the contributions from this group to their country. However, the community remains true to their family values and members of the family from grandparents to children are valued and respected.
What the Interviewee Hopes Will Never Be Said About His Community
The respondent hopes that with time, Canadian non-aboriginal people would give up their unfounded stereotypes against the Métis aboriginal community. He wishes that aboriginal people would not be seen as rebels but as community members with equal rights as other citizens.
Evaluation of the Interviewee’s Response
After the interview, I realized that my culture and the culture of the interviewee are more diverse than I initially thought. The American culture is more of open conversations and inclusion of all members of the society (Marsden, 2006). People of my culture do not feel discriminated to an extent that acquiring a job becomes a problem. Instances of discriminations or racism are very minimal and have not affected me so far. The retired president, Barack Obama is my role model. He is an example of what a man can achieve when cultural diversity brings people together instead of dividing them. On the contrary, the interviewee’s community still feels the pressure of stereotypes. These contrasts would lead to different answers to the questions asked. Cultural differences between the two countries are reflected in the areas of practices, values, and beliefs.
I agree with the interviewee’s definition of diversity. My definition would also include a state of having various ideas among other differences. These two definitions are almost similar, however, mine is more inclusive than the interviewee’s.
Some of the elements of the interviewee’s culture that were evident during the interview included clothing, architecture, and music. His dress and the kind of music he was listening to were different from the ones dominant in the America (Marsden, 2006). The pattern of thought and assumption included the aspect of thinking that people are against an individual’s community and culture because of some reasons. The interviewee’s community has adapted to the unfavorable environment by keeping to themselves most of the time and only socializing when necessary. The interviewee was open only because he was sure that my study was meant to understand his culture and not to judge it.
There are differences in the two cultures. The interviewee displays signs of low self-esteem and prefers to look sideways when addressing another person. His self-esteem also affects his decision-making and problem-solving skills because he is never sure of achieving a positive outcome.
The Métis aboriginals have faced a lot of suffering but their response to distress is weak, pointing to the high suicide rates in their community. The history of their suffering is still reflected in present times. The American culture promotes self-confidence and self-esteem (Marsden, 2006). Yet, some cultures in Canada still feel a lot of stereotypes.
Influence of the Media
Media influences people’s views on almost everything. People are always tuned to news sources wherever they are. Through the media, we decide things we plan to do and shape our opinions on matters around us. It has impacted many aspects of my life but I have not been influenced in terms of my cultural views. The media has the power to twist people’s psychology about any aspect (De Vos, 1995). Being critical of all the media contents and the advert has helped me to avoid misjudging other people based on what I heard or seen on television.
The media has influenced me in a positive way concerning cultural diversity. Most of the news sources that I am exposed to seem to promote cultural diversity and aim at eliminating discrimination, stereotypes, and racism surrounding cultural diversity (De Vos, 1995). The tremendous advocacy for inclusive programs and media policies on non-discriminations has helped in learning the good aspects of various cultures that could have remained hidden from most of us. In this way, the media has helped in creating a connection between people of different cultures.
Regarding other issues, the media has had positive influence except for areas of politics and fashion. I have had no interest in these spheres. Consequently, what the media covers on these two areas do not change my opinion on them.
As a result, mass media has influenced my way of thinking in the areas that I am interested in, such as cultural diversity. The programs I watch and the articles I read help me enrich my knowledge about people around the world, their history, cultures, and traditions. This fact helps me become more open to people from different backgrounds.
De Vos, G. (1995). Ethnic identity: Creation, conflict, and accommodation. Rowman Altamira.
Frideres, J. S., & Gadacz, R. R. (2005). Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Contemporary conflicts. Canada: Prentice Hall.
Marsden, G. M. (2006). Fundamentalism and American culture. Oxford University Press.
Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014). Managing cultural differences. Routledge.