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Makayla Coffey

TCH 339
Campus Survey
March 30, 2014
For my fieldwork assignment I wanted to study those people around me two of
whom I know well and are some of my best friends and from one of my friends I asked
three of her family members or cousins to see the difference in opinion. Every persons
answer varied in some way depending on how the person saw themself or how they read
the question.
Looking at my two close friends, for the question on how they define culture they
had similar answers, that it is what a nation or group of people can be identified by, such
as customs, heritage, beliefs. Friend 1 into greater detail and said that the shows and the
books she reads, even though she would not like to admit it, define her culture. When it
came to the race question, friend 2 said race is a combination of cultures. The other said it
is a combination of nationality, culture, and ancestry. The later said that for race she is
white, not Caucasian because she is not from the caucus islands. The former said that for
race she is American; majors difference in response to their own race. In response to what
is ethnicity, friend 2 says it is a microcosm of culture, smaller groups of people. And for
her she would say she is Pacific Northwestern and American. Friend 1,however, says it is
the background of where one lives meaning religion, culture, and heritage. She just said
she is American. When it came to stereotyping friend 1 says it is a broad labeling of
people and culture, while friend 2 went further and says it is the prescribed way you
believe people act. Friend one said that some stereotypes are that Christians are
judgmental, and she hears this at college. Friend 2 said one stereotype is that emos are
dark, cold, and mean and this is taught in Highschool.
As for the people I did not know, and whom are related in some manner, they all
thought alike for the questions and their ideas of culture, race, ethnicity, and stereotype
were the same except for their wording. The one I want to highlight is a graduate student
who wants to be a lawyer. She said that culture is influenced by a wide variety of factors,
including family, language, values, religion, region/country of origin/residence, and that
race can play a role in culture but it is not the same as culture. For the rest of her answers
I saw a mix between the terms, like ethnicity is a concept often equated with race, but is
not always the same. People can be of the same race (ie. White/ Caucasian) but of
different ethnicitiesfrom distinct ethnic heritages. As for race it is the immutable
characteristic that encompasses a persons genetic and ethnic background. Stereotyping
according to her is a broad generalization about a certain group of people. Stereotypes are
passed along from culture, the media, other people at school, or anyone. One stereotype is
that certain ethnic groups are more likely to have higher grades than other ethnicities.
This stereotype is what Perez is referring to when he says that some believe that people
are exposed to better languages, rule-based, while others are not.
The difference I found among peoples answers is perhaps due to the unclarity our
society has about those terms. People are trying to break down race for example, discard
it so that we have no more racism. The stereotypes that people gave me shows exactly
what we do no want, that we even know what stereotypes people have, and the sad thing
is that most are learned in school. The other thing I learned from this is that people see

themselves very differently than we might see them. People associate with different
backgrounds, cultures, races, ethnicities, and that should make us even more aware that
stereotyping a person will not tell us who they are, it just looks on the outside for the
most part and generalizes that person.
Reference:
Perez, B., McCarty, T., Watahomigie, L, Torres-Guzman, M., Dien, T (eds). (2004).
Sociocultural contexts of language
and literacy, 2ndEd. NY, NY: Routledge. ISBN: 0-8058-4341-8