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Breaking the Silence

for Students at Baruch College, ANT1001 TV24A Sp 2010


Rev. 5/27/2010
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TABLE OF CONTENTS (alphabetical order by tag)

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Also see Appendix: Lessons from our Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, p. 42-49.

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DEDICATED TO STUDENTS

This is a book for you, written by you. Bet you didn’t know you wrote a book, huh? Well, as
a student you have stress, work, families, ideas, complaints, revelations, experiences, and a number of
teachers that you are constantly thinking about. All of this has been hidden inside that head of yours dying to
be heard. That’s why students just like you are breaking their silence!

Here are 28 accounts of students SPEAKING UP about what really matters to them. By sharing personal and
unique stories and connecting them to key anthropological concepts from our textbook Mirror for Humanity
by Conrad Kottak (7th ed.), we reveal cultural similarities and connections about being students that are often
take for granted not only by us, but definitely by most teachers. We want to inspire students (as well as
faculty) to transform their view of who Baruch College is and what college can be about. We have something
to say.

We hope you relate to these stories like we did. Read them in any order you choose. Begin to speak up about
what matters to you to your cohort. Start a book in your class and share it with your college/university. By
simply speaking up in a collective way, we believe a small group of students anywhere can transform higher
education everywhere.

How do you make college an adventure rather than just a requirement for the future?
BREAK THE SILENCE.

Honor
Respect
To faculty: This is a highly recommended text for any course. Empower students to be heard.
Trust
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What are you dying to say to your teachers
that you have never said before?

Why should I have to spend 10 minutes w/ my Texas Instrument to calculate something that
excel can do in 2 minutes?

Teach me something I could use and stop babbling about nonsense. Just because you're
standing in front of us doesn't mean that we're learning anything from you.

Well, I would ask SOME of my teachers: "How will the BullSh@*#t that you teach be applied
in real life and help me support my family in the future, huh?"

Many people disrespect you as teachers but I really appreciate all the hard work that goes
into what you do.

Please try to be a little less intimidating!

STOP GOING BY THE BOOK! WE DON’T LEARN ANYTHING IF WE LEARN THROUGH A


TEXTBOOK. WE ARE NEW YORKERS, WE ARE SOCIAL AND WE LEARN THROUGH
EACH OTHER, SO ADAPT OR GO WORK ON A FARM. TY

I exist and my ideas matter.

Stop giving the workload...teach more in class.... I'm doing a lot more than just school.

"Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is
not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable
condition for the quest for human completion." (Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed 1968, 47).

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\ What Students SAY WOULD MAKE A This e-book is a collaborative auto-ethnography examining
what is of interest to a small community of students in an

DIFFERENCE IN COLLEGE Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course. The textbook


for our course is Mirror for Humanity by Conrad Kottak (7th
ed.) and contextualizes the essays or materials on each page.

Ethnography is a key activity that defines cultural


Data from 44 responses collected with a Google Docs Anonymous Survey conducted
April-May 2010. We started with members of our class and a random network of friends and students. anthropology. Traditionally, ethnographers lived in small
Despite a small response, we got a glimpse into some useful ethnographic data. communities studying local behavior, beliefs, customs, social
life, economic activities, politics, and religion (Walcott 2008
quoted in Kottak 2009, 13). We did the same with our
classroom culture.
• It would be a big relief if attendance was not taken in class.
We could show up at our own discretion, with the exception A LITTLE ABOUT BARUCH: Baruch has been recognized as
the most ethnically diverse campus in the nation by both
of exams & finals. U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review more
times than any other college in the United States. Located at
• Feeling more like adults with a 24th and Lexington Avenue in New York City, 160 countries
are represented in our undergraduate student body of 13,330.
few extra hours a week to cope with
stress. Diversity in my Spring 2010 ANT1001 course is visible but
rarely heard. The 27 students collectively speak Punjabi,
Hindi, Russian, Spanish, Hebrew, Cantonese, Mandarin,
• Humor. French, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesian, Arabic, Italian, Malayalam,
Portuguese, and Sinhalese fluently besides English.

• A professor that will take the time ONE DAY after class, a Mexican student sent me this email:
“A friend of mine and his father were just killed yesterday; my
to make it clear that it is grandfather used to live there. I feel fear for my mother.”
okay to make mistakes. Lecturing on top of such matters contributes to boredom,
absenteeism, feeling like you are surviving school; it masks
what really matters to adult-learners. This e-book is about
• I don't enjoy most of my classes because the professors have engaging what matters to them.
not one clue what my name is. I imagine a college classroom as a collaborative space where
each and every person pursues what is of interest or matters
• They give out grades but not one word of encouragement. to them no matter what I teach. A liberal arts education in the
21st century is offering leadership training for mothers, fathers,
A simple "good job" would have made all the difference to me. CEOs, wage laborers, all as global citizens. Let’s start saying
we teach young adults rather than subjects.
• Nothing. I don't come to school to enjoy class. I dedicate this collaboration to the emergent transformation of
higher education in the liberal arts. The great students you’ll
hear from have become consumers of their own productivity
• Topics relevant to my life and pursuits. and it’s our job to listen and empower that.
Welcome to SPEAK! (Breaking the Silence).

Kyra D. Gaunt, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Black


Studies and Music at Baruch College, co-editor of SPEAK!

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A cow that is given a name generates more milk than a cow that’s treated as
an anonymous member of the herd. The very act of naming transforms.
Based on Newcastle University research according to Rob Brenzy quoted in Margolis 2009

"When you control a [student's] thinking you do not have to worry


about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or
go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do
not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being
told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his
special benefit. His education makes it necessary"

Carter G. Woodson, The Miseducation of the Negro, 1933

Honor
Respect
Trust
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IMPACT
Last fall in 2009, my first presentation in Public Speaking required me to I am Bima Saridjo and I speak
choose a quote, interpret it and discuss its relevance to my personal life. for the daring, hopeful, and
The quote I chose was: compassionate.

There is no such thing as a self made man. - Stendahl

After giving my interpretation of the quote, I spoke of my father, who I


believe has the most impact on my character and personality.

I’m sure many of us have been in a situation where our traits and
qualities are compared to others. I was never compared to my parents. My
father was a diplomat, and my mother was active in a philanthropic
organization within my father’s bureau. Both of my parents were rarely home,
and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Although I didn’t spend much time with
my parents I’ve always admired my father’s character.

Who is my father? Well, my father has a history of living on the


dangerous side. When he was 16, he created an organization in his village to CULTURAL COLONIALISM: within
protest the growth of communism in Indonesia. During the communist purge in a nation or empire, domination by
one ethnic group or nationality and
1966, the PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia, the Communist Party of Indonesia) its culture/ ideology over others—
aimed to murder every leader of the rebellion in every village, including my e.g., the dominance of Russian
dad when he was a teen. By his early 20s, he became a diplomat. However, people, language, and culture in the
former Soviet Union or Ivy League
he was considered a threat because unlike his colleagues, he refused into college grads on the Supreme Court.
submit to corruption.
COMMUNISM: spelled with a
My father has been a target of assassination and false allegations by capital C; prevailed in the Soviet
Union (USSR) from 1917 to 1991.
men from our own nation. He is not Gandhi nor Nelson Mandela. In fact, he is Communist systems were
far from it. But he stood up for what is right and just. Every time a person authoritarian (promoting obedience
battles tyranny, hope lingers in the air, and my father was a catalyst of hope. to authority rather than individual
freedom), and many were totalitarian
(banning rival parties and demanding
Hope keeps humanity alive. And it is very contagious. total submission of the individual
to the state).

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我是如何学习英文 Learning English
In the U.S. we call a teacher Ms. or Mr. in grade school and “Professor” in college. I am Mei-Ling Chen and I
In Chinese schools, it is forbidden to call a teacher’s name. You may call any speak for honor and respect for
teacher 老师, “lao-shi” but never their name. If you speak their name you are Chinese students, native
speakers, and immigrants.
breaking the rules and you will get punished. The teacher will call your parents and
let them know about your disrespect of the elders.

Girls and boys are seated together for greater harmony. Each desk has two
drawers where we put our books and we have to change our seat every week. In
the U.S. a student will always sit in the chair that they choose on the first day. My
seat is always beside another Chinese student, because I feel safe there.

In China, students have to show respect to the teacher and Chinese teachers are
stricter and more serious than most U.S. teachers. It remind me of a traditional
Chinese idiom: “I eat more salt than you had with rice," which means the elders are
always right. They know more than those who are younger. As a result, students
only listen and are not expected to give opinions. That is why many Chinese
students in America do not speak in class.

In Chinese schools, a group of about 4 people clean the classroom together. We INDIGENIZED: modified to fit the
call that cleaning group the “zhi-ri-sheng.” They have to reset the chairs and the local culture.
desks, close the windows, throw out the garbage, and erase the board [a
HIDDEN TRANSCRIPT: as used by
sustainable classroom]. The key to the room will be kept by the one who is most James Scott, the critique of power by
responsible, and that person has to come to the class before everybody else. The the oppressed that goes on offstage—
purpose of all this is to practice diligence. In the U.S., students do not have to do in private—where the power holders
this kind of work. A maintenance staff is hired at a low wages to clean classrooms. can't see it.

PUBLIC TRANSCRIPT: cf. James


In the U.S., many professors give students a grade without any comment. Scott, the open, public interactions
Sometimes they do not return our papers. If I do not understand where I made between dominators and oppressed—
mistakes, I will never learn right from wrong. Curiously, many Chinese students the outer shell of power relations.
must learn more about English than their professors learn about Chinese. If
English speakers understood more about the Chinese language, it would not only
serve students but make for more powerful communication around each subject.
Excerpted from The Audacity of Humanity e-book
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Excerpted from What Matters Now
9
Blind Passion
k I am Esther Kogan and I speak
for the observant, curious, and
imaginitive.
When I was about 13 years old, I had the pleasure of visiting Italy with
my mother and sister. My sister, a student of art history at the time, toured us
through many of the museums and churches hosting some of Italy’s oldest and
most beautiful works of art and representations of the culture of Italy.

My most memorable experience was from our visit to the Galleria


Borghese in Rome. Walking through and admiring this palace-like gallery filled
with some of the worlds most precious and appreciated treasures, my mother
and I stopped to adore the statue of “Apollo and Daphne” which was guarded
by ropes and security. At the same moment, a guard unhinged one of the
ropes to allow a young blind boy and his mother to approach the statue. The
boys’ hands were led by his mothers across every surface of the statue as she
whispered in his ear.
I turned to look at my mother whose
ANTHROPOLOGY AND
eyes were filled with tears. I asked her why E D U C AT I O N : a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l
she was crying and she said the moment research in classrooms, homes, and
was beautifully overwhelming. This boy’s neighborhoods, viewing students as
total cultural creatures whose
blindness was not a factor that disabled or enculturation and attitudes toward
limited him from seeing and experiencing education belong to a larger context
the world. From that moment, I realized I that includes family, peers, and
society.
wanted to experience everything I can in
this lifetime. To touch, taste, smell, feel
almost anything I can. I promised myself
nothing would limit me from expanding my
horizons far and wide, exploring this world
and all its wondrous creations and growing
boundary less.
Image by BusyBrain at zazzle.ca

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Dealing with Life
Never did listen to what my parents told me as a teenager. You could call me a
I am Bishoy Ayoub from Egypt
rebel. Frankly, I didn’t care what they thought about me. I did the bare minimum at
school and I stayed out until dawn sometimes. I did what I wanted and liked what I did, and I speak for the eager,
but on January 17, 2005, the game changed. faithful, and brave.

I was up by Liberty Ave that cold winter morning. It was negative three degrees
and I had just drank half a bottle of liquor and was about half way through a blunt that I
rolled up with my own product. I was over there picking up five ounces of marijuana. It
was about 10 o’ clock and I was drunk, high, and playing handball with some friends
when I got a call from two guys wanting to buy an ounce. So I told them where I was
and waited. When they got there, I got the ounce ready and was about to hand it over.
As I made the move, three cops showed up in an unmarked car. I was caught red-
handed. I remember thinking about my mom at that single moment. I had no shirt on and
was getting that cold steel cuffed on my wrists but I didn’t think about my fate. I thought
about breaking my mother's heart. After struggling to come here with my father and
wanting to see me have a better life than they did, I was well on my way to dealing with
the courts on drug charges.
CULTURE: Clifford Geertz defined
I was on my way to the precinct and all I could think about was how I was about to culture as ideas based on cultural
be disowned. For that one moment in my young life, I felt alone. There was no one to learning and symbols, and he
turn too. I figured that my parents would just give me the cold shoulder for a few weeks. characterizes cultures as "control
That was the least of my problems. I was well into my 10th hour sitting in a cell when I mechanisms" or "programs" that
govern behavior. Culture is learned
gave my sister a call. She informed me that my mother had been hospitalized due to a through direct instruction as well as
heart attack. I don’t remember ever crying for my mom until that day. There I was, a observation, experience, interaction
thirteen year-old sitting in a cell filled with grown men and I cried ‘til my eyes were dry. with others, and conscious and
unconscious behavior modification.
When I finally made bail, things were never the same with my parents. They were RITES OF PASSAGE: Culturally
disappointed in me and I was ashamed of myself. That didn’t matter though, the story defined activities associated with the
stood told and would be remembered. Till this day, I never did apologize. She wouldn’t transition from one place or stage of
let me. I think that was her way of punishing me. I always considered this trial to be a life to another. Rebellion is a cultural
rite of passage among many
blemish in my life. I was a disloyal son. I couldn’t really express my regret for what I did American born and assimilated
that day, so I’ll leave you with this. I am in college now and I am a candidate for a immigrant youth.
finance degree. My mother and I go out every first Sunday of every month and I love
her. Although our trust may never be the same, we work on it every time we speak. I am
the rebel.
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SHARE THIS. JOIN SPEAK! on Facebook.

SPEAK! is part of an ongoing riff following the free e-book What Matters Now by marketing blogger Seth
Godin. In December 2009 Seth wrote, “Now, more than ever, we need to shake things up.” He brought seventy
big thinkers together to share one idea for you to think about as we headed into 2010. Godin blogged that “it
might be fun to make up your own riff and post it on your blog or [Facebook] profile as well. It's a good exercise.
You can find an easy to use version on Scribd as well and from wepapers. Please share.”

After being published in a women’s version for International Women’s Day, our professor Kyra Gaunt, who is also
a TED Fellow, curated a riff with 39 authors from 5 continents called The Audacity of Humanity released on 3
April 2010. Her book has been viewed by over 6000 people to date. She thought we could reach people with our
own audacity. She says, “college should be about people not books.”

So this is our riff. Our experiment. In the middle of this project one of us asked how writing about what matters to
us individually had anything to do with Baruch College. Our editor Malcolm Johnson replied emphatically,
“We are Baruch College!” ‘Nuff said.

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cGettin’’Paid
I am Pavneet Singh and
Growing up in India, I was one of those kids who got pampered and was loved I speak for the seniors who
and spoiled. I got everything I wanted without asking for it. I never felt the need for are glad it’s over.
money or asked for it. Ever since I could remember I have been helping with the
family business. I was working since I could see over the counter, for free of course.
Even when I moved to America, it was the same, I was working for my family helping
them out in the business. Thinking back I still remember my high school days, after
school instead of hanging out with my friends, I would go straight to my family owned
stores. I always complained about never having enough money to spend because I
never got paid for the hours I put in. Even when I was 18 I would have to ask for
money to go out or just to have in my pocket. Most of my friends around my age were
already driving and working, I was working but for free. My friends would mock me
about working for free calling it my social work. Although I would get an allowance or
money if I ever needed, it never felt special. I never felt that I had the appreciation for
the hours I put in.

It was a normal Tuesday; I was working for the new T-mobile store that my GENERALIZED RECIPROCITY:
family had set up, it had been a long day working to make the customers and my principle that characterizes exchanges
between closely related individuals. As
family happy. Business was good and sales were better. Other employees working at social distance increases, reciprocity
the store got paid that day and I was still without a paycheck. After closing up for the becomes balanced and finally negative.
day my uncle handed me an envelope and gave me a hug saying he was proud of
me. It came as a surprise because my uncle never done that in the past so this was MULTICULTURALISM: the view of
cultural diversity in a country as
something I will always remember. I didn't know what the envelope had until I got something good and desirable; a
home and opened it, I was surprise to see it amount of the money it had. I still multicultural society socializes
remember I had butterflies in my stomach because it had a note in it along with the individuals not only into the dominant
money. I still remember reading the note and my name in it along with the words (national) culture, but also into an
ethnic culture.
“PAYCHECK”

It was a great feeling something I would keep close to my heart. Looking back
now I feel like I never got paid, I was getting my hands on experience which will last a
life time. Although having the experience along with the paycheck is still a better
deal. :-)

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Fallar no es una opcion =
(Failing is not an option)
I am Hillary Herrera and I
speak for the disciplined,
passionate and quiet who are Students have forgotten the importance of following their passions. I was one of
dying to speak up. I am an those who decided on a major for the wrong reasons. While prestige comes with
international student whose studying here in the States, wealth comes with a business degree in the Dominican
dream is to travel around the Republic. I arrived at Baruch in 2008 with a full scholarship in finance. My parents
world. I love listening and wanted me to study business so I wouldn’t suffer like they did, but my true passion
learning from the experiences has always been psychology.
of others.
I wanted everything to be perfect, but I had culture shock and I wanted to go
home. Learning a new culture was difficult. But I studied extremely hard and I loved
math, so I thought I was doing well. As soon as the semester was over, I went back
home.

I still remember the day. It was three in the morning. I got online. I don’t even
know for what reason. Then I checked my grade and I saw the F. I started crying and
everyone in the house woke up. I spent the entire night crying. I didn’t sleep until
6am. Later on, my Pa came to me and said, “No le digas esto a nadie. Quiero que
todos piensen que te va bien en tus estudios. Por lo tanto, mantenlo en
secreto.” (http://translate.google.com/#es|en|). The next semester, no matter how
hard I tried, my grades were still low.
ADAPTATION: the process by which
organisms cope with environmental I decided it was time to give up and I went back home at the end of the term. I
stresses.
was going to stay there to start over. But at the end of my break I decided to give it
ETHNIC GROUP: group distinguished one last try—follow my passion for the first time no matter what others said and I
by cultural similarities (shared among changed my major to psychology. Now I can say I’m following the right path even
members of that group) and though some people are not happy with my decision. Psychology is what I am going
differences (between that group and
others); ethnic group members share
to do for the rest of my life and I’m doing incredibly well in my classes.
beliefs, values, habits, customs, and
norms, and a common language,
religion, history, geography, kinship,
and/or race.

14
c
Rehab
Drug abuse is prevalent in impoverished neighborhoods, but drug abusers also live in middle
class, and extremely wealthy, upper class neighborhoods. “Office Work and the Crack I am Ian O’Hanlon and I speak
Alternative” by Philippe Bourgois (McCurdy and Spradley, 2007) reminded me of the drug for the Eastchester kids who
problems that exist in Westchester, New York. Westchester is a very diverse county and some strive for success.
areas are extremely wealthy, while others are poor. Most people would not associate many of
Westchester’s millionaires with less fortunate, and often homeless, people. However, certain
people in all the socioeconomic strata are drug addicts. I live in a town in Westchester called
Eastchester, which has fairly wealthy neighborhoods, but also has a terrible drug problem. In
the past sixteen months, two friends of mine passed away due to drug overdoses, and
unfortunately widespread teen drug usage still exists.

Eastchester drug users are willing to pay a lot of money for their drugs, which is incentive
for other people to sell drugs. These dealers spend hundreds of dollars to either acquire drugs,
or ways to produce drugs in order to sell them to make a profit (Kottak 211, “capital”). Bourgois
states, “Why should these young men and women take the subway downtown to work minimum Alan Zale for The New York Times
wage jobs…in downtown offices when they can usually earn more, at least in the short run, by
selling drugs on the street corner in front of their apartment or schoolyard” (Bourgois, 21).
Eastchester kids are not so different from the Puerto Rican subjects of “Office Work and the
Crack Alternative” in that they choose to sell drugs instead of laboring for wages (Kottak 216, CAPITAL: wealth or resources
“Working Class”). Many kids in Eastchester work typical minimum wage jobs; however, there invested in business, with the intent
are many who overlook the repercussions of selling drugs to make large profits. For example, I of producing a profit.
know a nineteen year old cocaine dealer who recently paid for himself and his girlfriend to go to
Greece, a trip that most nineteen year olds cannot afford. WORKING CLASS (or
PROLETARIAT): those who must sell
their labor to survive; the antithesis of
The United States of America is one of the most powerful nations in the world with a strong the bourgeoisie in Marx's class
economy and high standard of living (Kottak 212, “Core”). It is unfortunate that a powerful, analysis.
wealthy nation like America has such a large shadow economy which promotes crime and
violence. However, according to David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention DIFFERENTIAL ACCESS: unequal
and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, “Big national trends in crime are much access to resources; basic attribute
more powerfully influenced by things like drug epidemics…than they are by the of chiefdoms and states. Super-
ordinates have favored access to
economy” (Gorman 2010). Bourgois asserts that the younger generations in Harlem become such resources, while the access of
drug dealers to make money without a lot of work. I think that even though Eastchester kids subordinates is limited by super-
have more money on average than those in Harlem, America’s capitalist society compels ordinates.
people to try to make as much money as possible, and many people will do this in the easiest
way possible. As a result, more people commit crimes, and society suffers. Perhaps the
government should spend more money on drug rehabilitation centers in hope that less drug
abuse will yield less crime.
15
Do The Math
I am Daisy Mendez and I speak
for those who have always lived
I must stay true to myself, to who I am and to what I believe in. Now under others expectations and
that I am in college my world is different. In high school, I always had want to break free. I am an
impeccable grades and now in college it’s as if my world had flipped independent, stubborn, hopeful
upside down and I experienced culture shock. Most of my professors Mexican-American.
don’t know my name. Because I commute and I have a part-time job Let me be me!
there really isn’t much time for interaction with others. In my first semester
at Baruch I failed a class, but not just any class, I failed MATH! Math is
my thing! Math is what my career is based on because that is my passion.
How could I have failed a math class? I had NEVER failed a class and
now I fail a college class? Something was wrong!

I felt lost and disappointed and questioned my abilities. Everyone in


my family expects me to be this important person and be perfect, you
know, never do wrong. I mean there I am going into college thinking I am
this great learner and that it all just comes naturally to me, and I failed a
class. WTF?! Thankfully I was able to retake the class and passed it. It
made me realize that I can do it and that I still loved math but things were
just different now. I spoke with a few students who had been at Baruch SYMBOL: something, verbal or non-
verbal, that arbitrarily and by
and they passed down their knowledge. Teachers no longer “babied” us convention stands for something else,
and I learned that I needed to put forth more effort. I realized I was still with which
the same determined, passionate, math loving student. I just needed to it has no necessary or
natural connection.
remind myself of who I was and start to study harder (which by the way, I
never did in high school! Study!? For what?!). I wasn’t going to let a failing HEGEMONY: as used by
grade determine who I am. Because Daisy Mendez is no failure, no siree! Antonio Gramsci, a stratified social
order in which subordinates comply
with domination by internalizing its
values and accepting
Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars its "naturalness."
-- Les Brown

16
!
!
I’d like to be acknowledged.
I am first generation in my family !
!
I would like to be to attend college and hopefully I’d like to be acknowledged for just
acknowledged. graduate. being here. Just because I'm
I had many odds against me, undecided doesn't mean I'm stupid or
but I made it and I am very that I'll fail at life.
proud of myself.

17
cA.D.D. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder at the age of ten. Ever since I can
remember, I was given a tiny white pill to help me focus on my schoolwork. At the beginning, it I am Bari Resnick and I speak
worked like a charm. I found myself able to sit still, concentrate and do well in all my classes. It for the ambitious, creative
was an amazing thing. As I started to get older, taking one pill turned into taking two pills, then
and practical.
three pills, and more. The original dosage no longer worked. By adding more medication it helped
with my concentration level but new problems arose. Two of the side effects of Ritalin are
headaches and irritability. So I was given another pill to decrease the severity of my headaches
and irritability. Balancing the doses of these medicines was difficult and frustrating for me and my
family.

By the time I was eighteen and off to college in Tuscon, Arizona, I was taking at least 4
pills a day to help me get through my work. Freshman year was difficult, as it is for so many
students, but I was doing alright. Then I was faced with a devastating experience. I was
assaulted. It was the most heartbreaking and traumatic experience I have ever faced in my life. I
didn’t believe that it happened to me. I tried to be strong but when I returned to Tuscon for finals I
was a complete mess and my grades reflected it. I started experiencing panic attacks. A doctor in
Tucson gave me an anti-anxiety pill, which not only added to my frustrating pill regimen; it was
also extremely addictive. Although it seemed to help me face my assault and what happened to
me, a pill isn’t a permanent fix. I knew that one day I would have to face all the trauma without the ILLNESS: an emic condition of poor
health felt by individual.
pills. After being on the medication for 6 months, I was extremely addicted.
DISEASE: an etic or scientifically
The mistake I made, and made my whole life, was to not face my problems, but to take identified health threat caused by a
a pill for them instead. The following semester I lost 25 pounds and I don’t think I skipped a day bacterium, virus, fungus, parasite,
without taking my medications. I used to get mad at the stupidest things and freak out on people. or other pathogen.
My two best friends contacted my parents. They were scared. When I found out, I refused to
speak to them. I was in complete denial like most addicts. Everyone around me was scared for EMIC: the research strategy that
focuses on native explanations and
my life and I thought THEY were being crazy. criteria of significance.
Around finals, I locked myself in my room for a week. I knew I was addicted to my ETIC: the research strategy that
medication and it was changing the person I was. I missed the old outgoing and talkative me. emphasizes the observer's rather
After finals, I refused to go back to Tuscon. This was the best decision I have ever made. Deep than the natives' explanations,
down I knew it was because I wanted to get better. I wanted to be the Bari Resnick everyone categories, and criteria of significance.
always knew and loved. Now, I am 5 months clean from all my medications. It was the hardest
and most challenging thing I ever had to do, but I did it and I am proud I did.

I am facing school at Baruch without medication for the first time since I was 10 years
old. It's really hard but it's worth it. I have my old life back with the support of everyone around
me. Now, anything is possible.
18
Becoming a Champion
I am Jeffrey Chera and I
Everyone on earth wants to feel like their life is worthwhile, sensible, and speak for my Orthodox Jewish
meaningful. Everyone also has goals set before them that they want to achieve. faith, for music and sports, for
Accomplishment is one of the significant feelings a person can attain. When waking up late and being
someone finally reaches a goal they set for themselves, it puts life in perspective accomplished.
and makes it worthwhile. My older brother Raymond, an accomplished person, is a
26-year-old graduate from Rutgers University. He is married with a child and has his
own business. When I asked him what his most accomplished moment was he said,
“My most accomplished moment was when I opened up my first store, because all
my schooling and everything I learnt in the past finally became a reality.”

In high school, sports meant a lot to me but in the beginning I was never able
to participate in winning a championship. This came as an extreme disappointment
to me because my high school is known for its winning feats. Finally, my senior year
came and I promised myself I wasn’t going to leave high school without posting a
championship banner on the walls of the gym.

In basketball, I had a great season but we fell short of making the


championship game, losing to one of our rival schools on our home court,
nonetheless. This came as an extreme disappointment to me, because I was afraid I
wasn’t going to accomplish my goal.
WEALTH: all a person's material
Then spring came around and I participated in baseball, a sport we were not assets, including income, land, and
really known for winning. In fact, it is the only sport in which my high school never other types of property; the basis of
won a championship. Our season kicked off with a bad loss, however I stayed economic status.
optimistic. After that loss my team and I won every single game including the POWER: the ability to exercise one's
championship. After the championship I felt as if my 4 years of playing high school will over others—to do what one
sports was for something. wants; the basis of political status.

People have different ways of feeling accomplished. For my brother it was PRESTIGE: esteem, respect, or
approval for acts, deeds, or qualities
opening his business. For me, it was winning a championship. One big part of considered exemplary; the basis of
accomplishing a goal is to stay optimistic. Vince Lombardi said it best “The greatest social status.
accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall.”
Accomplishment is something that is hard to obtain, but every person should try, and (Theories of Max Weber)
if they keep failing, try harder. That’s what accomplishment means to me.
19
COMING OF AGE
There are many things that matter to me in life, and this is exactly why it is hard to pinpoint a
I am Grigoriy Rehm
single aspect. I think that as people get older a lot of things become more important to them as
their view of the world changes. I am turning twenty in June 2010 and all the little things that and I speak for the bright,
used to seem meaningless are suddenly starting to matter. concerned and misguided.

One of the main things that matters without question is my family. My parents are originally
from Moscow, Russia. Shortly after having me, they moved to the United States in the early 90’s
and made a new life for themselves. My father was unemployed for a couple of years but
eventually found work as a general contractor. My mother found work as a computer
programmer in Manhattan. Although we have fallouts at times, it still doesn’t change the fact
that I want my parents to be happy and proud of me. They’ve always cared a great deal about
my education and did their best to make sure that I thrived in school. My mother and father
have always had high hopes for me. The last thing I ever want to do is disappoint them (like I
have been lately), because all they want is for me to have a better life than they did.

This brings me to another aspect of life that greatly matters to me and that is success. When
I say success, I also mean wealth. A majority of people claim that they want to be successful,
but give very vague definitions of what success actually means to them. I am one of those
people; however, one thing I do know about what success means to me and that it is being well-
off financially. To be specific, “well-off” means being a multi-millionaire. In the year 2010, it isn’t
enough to be just a millionaire anymore. The point I am trying to make is that I want to be in a
financial situation where I can have most of the things I want and not have to live paycheck to AGENCY: the active role that
individuals play in interpreting, using,
paycheck. making, and remaking culture.

When I was a child, I wanted to be a lawyer, because I saw a lot of movies where the actors CULTURE IS SHARED: Culture is
who played the lawyers in the movie made it seem like a fun job. Later on in life, after finding transmitted in society; it is an attribute
out the specifics of the job and how long it actually takes to become one, I decided that I no not of individuals per se, but of
longer wanted to be a lawyer. Now that that dream is shattered, I am trying to find my next path individuals as members of groups.
to success and it seems much harder than I ever thought it would be. The reality is that you can Enculturation tends to unify people by
chase something your whole life and when you finally get it, whatever it is that you got can providing them with shared beliefs,
disappear in a second. values, memories, and expectations.

My parents worked hard their whole lives hoping that one day it will pay off and here they Parents become agents in the
are at the ages of 47, unemployed due to the recession. So whether I do it through Baruch enculturation of their children, just as
their parents were for them.
College, or take an alternate route, as long as I end up where I want to be, I will be satisfied and
take it from there because nothing in this life is guaranteed.

20
The First Fuck-Up
I was the first-born, the first-fuck up. Compared to my siblings who are 7-9 years younger, I was
an angel. I never defied my parents even down to the college and degree I was to choose. I am Tara Harrison and I speak
Everything was chosen for me. I felt as though I was never allowed an opinion. I was raised to for the ambitious & imaginative
respect my parents so I never questioned anything. How foolish of me. Now I have been at Baruch Irish Americans.
for six years working and paying for a degree that I don’t want. I am here as if I am still 6 years old,
because I was told to be here.

When I met my husband 7 years ago, we were inseparable. It was only two years ago that we
started dating and that shook my parents. I never introduced or shared my relationship with them. My
relationship with Rory was such an important part of my life not as a boyfriend or future husband, but
as something that I stood for. My family was upset not because they didn't like Rory. It was because
things weren't done the way they wanted. My dream wedding with family did a complete 180. I
wanted it to be just Rory and I. I didn’t want people around. I didn’t want a dress. And lastly, I didn’t
want a wedding the way my parents wanted it.

I was given an ultimatum. If I said “I Do,” I would no longer have the only family I knew. Why
were my parents doing this to me? Why couldn’t they be happy that I was happy?

On April 15, 2009, I said “I Do,” and I will never regret that day. For once in my life, I did what
mattered to me and what I wanted). But I paid a price. I was cut off from my parents, even from my
own siblings. Taking my little brothers and sister away was a stab to the chest. Was I being childish?
Was it really worth it? All these sorts of questions entered my head, but I did nothing about it because
I didn’t know what to do. I no longer had my parents' guidance and for once I had to do this on my
own. How ironic.

It took a 3,500-mile trip back to my hometown Dublin, Ireland and a few hard knocks from my
Grandmother to realize how selfish and stubborn I actually was. I knew I hurt my parents, but I didn’t
realize the extent to which I hurt them. It had nothing to do with school. It had nothing to do with a
wedding. It had nothing to do with DOING what I was told. For the past year, I've been realizing, I
was just throwing a tantrum like a 6 year old.

My grandmother explained a few things to me. Things I never knew. My parents came from FAMILY OF ORIENTATION: nuclear
Ireland when they were only 18 for the summer of ‘85. My father and mother had just met and before family in which one is born and grows
they knew it, I was on the way. up.

I am beginning to see the bigger picture as an adult. Parents aren’t always wrong. My parents FAMILY OF PROCREATION: nuclear
pushed me to go to college because they didn’t have that opportunity. My life was the most important family established when one marries
thing to them. My parents wanted me to have a wedding they were involved in. My father wanted to and has children.
proudly walk me down the isle and I stole that from him. My mother wanted me to have a wedding
because she never had one. I selfishly stole that from my parents but I will never regret my fuck up.
For I would have never TRULY appreciated my parents and everything they have strived for, for me.

So if you ask what matters now, what matters to me is my fuck ups & my family.
21
Un-USED
BOOKS There are 15,700 students at Baruch as of Fall
2009. If the students in this survey are
representative of the average student body,
then unused textbooks could be costing 20% of
the student body something like $400,000 -
700,000/semester for a loss of up to
$200/person.

Another 18% may be spending $450,000 or


more per semester for a loss of over
$250 or more per person.

Thatʼs a lotta a cheddar. With those losses


you could pay for 400-600 NY State
residents to attend Baruch College full-
time for one semester ($2,300/semester
FT).

Data collected from a Google Docs Anonymous Survey (44 respondents) conducted
April-May 2010. We started with members of our class and a random network of friends and students.

22
TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS
When I think of what really matters to me, what makes me happy, what got me I am Jonathan Sabal and
through the struggles of everyday life, I think of my music, the music that I love. I think of I speak for the “Refugees,”
the one band that speaks to me and the songbook of my life. That band is Tom Petty and
“The Rebels,” and the
The Heartbreakers.
“Last DJs” in the world.
Whenever I tell people I’m a Heartbreakers fan, they seem confused. How can a 19-
year-old love an adult contemporary band that has been rocking for the past 30 years? I’ll
tell them to listen to American Girl, the second single from Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers' self-titled debut album in 1977. Whenever I hear that first riff, everything is
okay. Nothing else matters in the world. I am at peace. Their music speaks about a simpler
time, when Rock N’ Roll was at its peak.

The Heartbreakers began as a band that was influenced by Bo Diddley, the Beatles
and Bob Dylan but they weren’t considered an old wave band. They were considered part
of the punk rock wave along with the Sex Pistols, the Patti Smith Group, and The
Ramones. Even though they wouldn’t fit that description today, they still had the short
punchy songs with a little hint of anger. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would continue to
rock on.

Though simple and straightforward, every song Tom Petty has written has
significance behind it. He can’t stand when songwriters sit down and say they wrote a song
about dogs. Tom Petty said it isn’t that easy. He sits down and allows the words to come to
him. He creates some of the most amazing lyrics I ever heard. Johnny Depp said it best
about their music: it was smart, even if you didn’t know it at the time. That’s Tom Petty and ANTIMODERNISM: the rejection of
the Heartbreakers’ music—smart. the modern in favor of what is
perceived as an earlier, purer, and
better way of life; based on
When I ask people who Tom Petty is and I get blank stares. Maybe they will say he disillusionment with industrialization,
did "Free Fallin’" (1989) or by chance they’ll say he did "Refugee" (1980). It makes me globalization, and developments in
frustrated that this band is not appreciated the way they should be. People recognize their science, technology, and consumption
music, but they just can’t put the name of the band with the song. Still, I appreciate their patterns
music and so do millions of others out there in the world.

I’m so tired of being tired


Sure as night will follow day
Most things I worry about
Never happen anyway
"Crawling Back to You"

23
Race for Change
I am Malcolm Johnson and I
speak for the misunderstood,
ambitious and the impatient. What am I passionate about? That question is so wonderful, because it makes
me think about things that I get emotional about. I think one thing that I have strong
feelings for is the plight of people, African-Americans to be exact. I understand that we
are not the only ethnic or social group on this earth facing hardships, but sometimes it
sure seems like we are. We seem to be second if not third class citizens in a society
that would not be if it weren’t for us; from the way people that look like me are
portrayed in the media to the looks and occasional mistreatment I receive because of
my skin color. It is not just because I’m African-American, I am also judged because of
the traditions and subcultures I choose to associate myself with.

It’s a catch 22 when I sit and talk with someone and they express their shock that
I am so articulate and knowledgeable. I want to feel appreciation for the recognition of
my intelligence, but I also feel disgust because it should not be seen as a
phenomenon. A lot of my peers have accepted the status quo society has placed on
them; though many of them are extremely intelligent, they follow this artificial standard
RACE, like ethnicity, is a cultural about themselves.
category rather than a biological
reality. Separate "races" derive from My passion would be to change the self-destructive mentality that sometimes we
contrasts perceived and perpetuated all have as a result of what is feed to us. Have people ask questions they have never
in particular societies, rather than asked before, question why things are like this or that and most importantly look within
from our DNA. Only cultural
constructions of race are possible, them without fear and ask who I am and what do I truly want? I believe that once we
though the average person can truly begin to search who we are, we can see that there are no boundaries and we
conceptualizes "race" in biological can accomplish whatever we’d like. It would be amazing if more people reach their
terms. dreams, rather than follow a laid track.
ACHIEVED STATUS: social status
that comes through talents, actions, I want to provide media that can influence people to ask more questions, begin
efforts, activities, and to help people see themselves in a new light and combat some of the negative images
accomplishments, rather than we receive. I want to reach my full potential, I want to have no fear of succeeding and I
ascription. want to be more than just a stereotype in the eyes of others. And I want the same for
ASCRIBED STATUS: social status my peers and everyone for that matter.
(e.g., race or gender) that people
have little or no choice about
occupying.
24
The HAPPINESS
I am Megan Byrne and I speak
for peace, change and smiles. Project ;i
I love you and you are special.
I created a happiness website as a counter-offer for my final ethnographic
project in this course. I invited people to send me a photograph that makes them
happy. I've received a number of unsolicited stories. I didn't tell anyone to send me
an explanation with their picture, but they wanted to share their happiness which in
return made me happy! : )
The next page is one of the first pictures sent to me and the very first photo
that helped me realize my own ethnocentric cultural lens were very real. In the five
seconds that it took to look at the photograph, I thought my happiness project was to
forever be taken as a joke. Here was a friend pretending to eat a parakeet, thinking
it was funny. I thought I would get maybe two more pictures out of the thirty I asked
for. Great. What a bad day!
Less than a minute after sending the photo, I got message from him. The bird
was a pet that recently passed away and this picture “warms my heart,” as he put it.
I judged a beautiful memory my friend chose to share while degrading my entire
project within a two-minute period. Isn’t it funny how a person can share something
so special to them and we completely miss it? (see “cultural relativism” p. 40). The
human race is so dramatic! Life gives us things to smile about each and every day
COMMUNITAS: intense community
and we miss them, referring to an entire 24-hour day as “bad” or “ruined.” I look at
spirit, a feeling of great social this picture almost every day now, reminding myself that every situation is not
solidarity, equality, and perfect, but every day is and has “good” in it.
togetherness; characteristic of I now have over fifty pictures from people that shared their happiness; some
people experiencing liminality
together.
funny, some sentimental, all unique and perfect to the person they came from. So, if
you take anything from this story let it be this: FIND. YOUR. HAPPY. Stress gets
ETHNOCENTRISM: the tendency overwhelming and causes us to radiate negativity, but don’t let it take your smile. If it
to view one's own culture as best does, you might take someone else’s and not even realize it.
and to judge the behavior and
beliefs of culturally different people
by one's own standards. I want more people to send pictures. If anyone's interested in taking some
time to think about what you love feel free to email a photograph. Next, the photo.

25
26
Season Tickets I am Matt Augen
and I speak for the annoyed,
the ambitious and the abused
Mezzanine Level, Section 3, Row G, Seat 8 Met fans. Just trying to take
enough accounting courses to
I spent over 150 Sunday afternoons at Shea Stadium with my grandfather. My qualify for the CPA.
first game was Game 6 of the 1986 World Series when my mom was seven and a
half months pregnant and blew off a Lamaze class. Every Sunday Mets’ home
game, I traveled to Flushing with my grandfather. When I was ten, grandpa fought
two other guys to get my first foul ball and we waited outside the clubhouse for two
hours after the game to get Butch Huskey’s signature. I went to every playoff game
in 2000 and Grandpa got me on the train at 5:00 AM to make sure I got to school on
time in New Jersey. My grandpa had season tickets for 36 years until 2005 when I
left for school and we couldn’t be there most Sundays.

My grandfather was the most reliable and important person in my life. When
my parents got a divorce and made life hell, he gave me a safe place to land and
forget about my problems. He welcomed me into his home so I could go to
Stuyvesant High School and went to every one of my football games in high school
and college, even when that meant driving seven hours to Albany and back. He
taught me all the back roads in Brooklyn and Queens to avoid traffic. He would take
me for sushi on my birthday even when he couldn’t stand the sight of raw fish. I
learned how important family is and about forgiveness from him. I also got my size
from him thankfully. (My father’s a short man at 5’8, the bastard.) He was the chief of RITUALS: convey information about
our clan and kept my mother’s side of my family together. the participants and their traditions,
and translate enduring messages,
Grandpa Garvey passed away in February of 2009. I don’t handle death well, values, and sentiments into action.
especially the Catholic traditions. His death hit me hard and almost caused me to
Rituals are inherently social, and by
fail my last semester at RPI. Adjusting to life without him is still difficult because he participating in them, performers
was the rock in my life no matter what I did or where I was. He was my best friend signal that they accept a common
while keeping me on the right path. I would always hear it when he thought I was social and moral order.
making the wrong decision. I try to live up to his standards and principles for life
because I believe in them. Family first, work hard and be happy.

27
WORDSMITH
I am Troyster Joseph and I
speak for the seekers and the
misunderstood. I like listening
to music, daydreaming and
relaxing.

STYLE SHIFTS: variations in speech


or communication in different
contexts.

SOCIOLINGUISTICS: study of
relationships between social and
linguistic variation; study of language
in its social context.

Collage created with Wordle.net

Doing a word collage is an easy


and fun way to release ideas or
words you feel are important or
hold some type of value. I felt
I feel that this word collage gave me an opportunity to break away from the relieved and challenged while
conventional methods of expressing oneself through writing. Sometimes, I feel that writing doing the collage. I was not
constricts you mentally in a way that prevents you from properly letting your ideas flow out of constricted or hesitant, because I
you freely, without hesitation. While creating the word collage, I realized that the collage itself knew the words written by me are
could be used a tool by students who find it difficult to brainstorm ideas for an essay or any my own. The keywords I chose for
other type of written assignment. The collage is an easy way to let your ideas flow out of you my collage, are in some ways a
without any hesitation. representation of my existence,
c h a r a c t e r, h o p e s , d r e a m s ,
When writing a paper, you worry about whether or not your choice of punctuation or aspirations and expectations as a
use of vocabulary is good enough, not for yourself, but good enough for the teacher. When young Black, African-American,
you begin to think this way you restrict yourself from writing freely and expressing the ideas Haitian-American, American,
you feel are important to you. Rather you end up writing an essay based on the expectations student, older brother and a son.
of the teacher, what the teachers themselves feel is important for the essay.

28
Sports Mgmt I am Mitchell Roy and I speak
for myself whose passion is
sports and for those who are
This may sound frivolous to others, especially to those who don’t know me obsessed with what they love.
well but sports are of great interest to me. My first and biggest passion is sports.
Sports are something I have been involved in since I was young child. They were a
big deal in my household because my brother, father, and mother were all avid fans
and participants.

This love of sports was not just limited to being physically involved in
competition. I was always intrigued by the managerial side of things. Evaluating and
assembling talent is an art form like painting abstract art. In my mind, there is no
difference. Whether it’s putting together a championship caliber football team or
scouting the next great welterweight boxer, there is something truly amazing about
seeing the potential in someone and helping to show it to the masses. This is true
for other things in life but sports makes this real to me. It’s shows me things in a
way that makes sense to me and in a way that matters. My dad knew this when I
was young and taught me math via football terminology, using first downs in football
to teach me addition and subtraction.

Like any other art form, there is the component of hubris involved. Everyone CORE VALUES: key, basic, or central
likes to say “look what I made or did or created” but besides that, there is true values that integrate a culture and
fulfillment felt by this accomplishment. I am fortunate enough to have a brother who help distinguish it from others.
has created his own sports management firm and is attempting to establish himself MAGIC: use of supernatural
in the industry. I have already been exposed to knowledge that many others with techniques to accomplish specific
similar aspirations have not. It matters to me in so many different ways that I myself aims.
am continually amazed every day.
MODE OF PRODUCTION: way of
organizing production—a set of social
I just know that it’s what I want to do and what I will do. I’ve always known relations through which labor is
that I would be involved in this art. deployed to wrest energy from nature
by means of tools, skills, and
knowledge.

29
Resisting Categories
Fill in the blanks.
44 anonymous responses collected from a Google Docs Anonymous Survey conducted
April-May 2010. We started with our class and a random network of friends and anonymous students.

"On a census form I would mark that I am _______________,


but personally or culturally I identify myself as _________________".

I am Latino, but personally I identify myself as unique.

I am Black, but personally I identify myself as Haitian American.

I am Brazilian, but personally I identify myself as a super brazilian.

I am Asian, but personally I identify myself as Black.

I am Asian, but personally I identify myself as white.

I am Asian, but personally I identify myself a person.

Baruch Fall 2009, Office of Inst. Research and Program Assessment


30
CHOICE
I am Iryna Kouratnik and I
; c
speak for the aware, concerned
and courageous.
As a little girl, living in Lviv, Ukraine, I often told my mother that I am going
to marry a black man. “Chocolates” I called them whenever I saw a group of
African students in my city. Whether it simply was my curiosity or somehow I
was rejecting the accepted notion that one should choose a partner within
“one’s own kind” – I had made my choice then.

In 1993 my father left to go the United States and six years later my family
and I followed. I was about to turn 18 years old. I met Julius at the age of 19,
while getting acculturated to New York. I broke the rules and the rejection
began. My father’s view of a “perfect future” for his daughter crumbled once he
saw Julius. “He’s black!!!” were my father’s words. There was so much more to
his “blackness” than just skin color – I was doomed and there was no light at
the end of the tunnel. He thought I was destined to get pregnant and be left
alone with a black baby, not being able to attend college, and to become an
ACCULTURATION: the exchange of embarrassment to the family.
cultural features that results when
groups come into continuous firsthand
contact; the original cultural patterns I’m in college now, no child – still with Julius. The stereotypical ideas of my
of either or both groups may be father were meaningless to me. It hurt to have to go through so much fighting
altered, but the groups remain but the more we argued the closer I became with Julius. I’ve been with Julius
distinct.
for almost nine years now. My father’s acceptance of Julius and I as a unit
EXOGAMY: mating or marriage followed after all the arguments and my refusal to conform to his rules and
outside one's kin group; Said to be a ideals. I am proud of my dad for letting go of his stereotypes and allowing me
cultural universal [except when skin
color is involved among other traits]. to build my own values in life. After all, it is my life – so the choice is mine.

RACE: an ethnic group assumed to You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.
have a biological basis; a social
construct that seems natural but is                                     -- Ray Bradbury
arbitrarily based on phenotypical
traits.

31
CASTE I am Mir, Nokhaiz and I
speak for the inspired, the
I belong to a middle class, Pakistani family but my parents provided me with ambitious, and the practical.
something I didn’t imagine. Being the youngest one among my siblings, I was least
interested in my studies and in working. I was a lazy dumb ass, sleeping 14 hours a day,
hanging out with friends. All I wanted was a luxurious life but still I love my family a lot. I
can’t live without them. My life changed on May 8, 2009, when I arrived at JFK airport
holding a bunch of papers about my identification, about my past. I didn't know what was
going to happen next. But I was determined and confident to conquer this new world.

I was told to beware of very white colored people who always think that a guy from
Pakistan is a terrorist or extremist. After 3 hours of screening and verification at U.S.
Customs, I came out of the lobby holding my luggage, trying to smell the new air of this
“Land of Opportunities.” Surrounded by very white and very dark people I felt odd and for
REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli
the first time I noticed that all whites are not American or European. Some are Russian,
some are Spanish, and some are Irish. Within two weeks I made up my mind--I have to
grow up. I am an adult now. I had to show my family that I can do something extraordinary. ETHNOCENTRISM: the tendency to
After all, I am the son of Mir. view one's own culture as best and to
judge the behavior and beliefs of
Mir is a caste in Pakistan, whose descendants are from the Kashmir Valley of pure culturally different people by one's own
blood. Kashmiris are considered intelligent and hard working (which I was not). My father standards.
was called Mir in his society, so it was my wish to be called Mir and I could only prove that
VILLAGE HEAD: The village head
by working hard. It was a big day for me when I got a job on my own and my parents were cannot issue orders, nor can he force
arriving the same day. Instead of bringing them flowers I would surprise them with my or coerce people to do things. Rather,
news--I start working soon and I am not the same Nokhaiz. My manager told me 'we the village head must lead by example;
cannot call you Nokhaiz. It is too difficult.' So she gave me a name tag for Mir. I was he can only persuade, harangue, try to
excited that I would be called by my father’s name. It was honor for me. influence people to do things, and act
as a mediator in disputes, but he has
As I came home I got a call from my brother that my father had a heart attack and no authority to back his decision or
impose punishments.
he is no longer in this world. For three days I cried like a baby. I didn’t eat a thing. I didn’t
talk to anyone. I had lost one of the most important persons of my life. Suddenly, I looked URBAN ANTHROPOLOGY: the
at my name tag and I started understanding that God had given me a chance to stand in anthropological study of life in and
my father's shoes, take on his name, his status to prove that I am hard worker and a around world cities, including urban
devoted man, like him. From that day on, I changed. I was a trouble maker and now I am social problems, differences between
trouble taker, going from hardly working to working hard. Before, I use to give up in the urban and other environments, and
adaptation to city life.
worst situations, but now I stand up against them.

32
Undivided Attention
"There is an old Chinese saying: [屎坑 刀−无张利] Many broadswords abandoned on I am Peizhi Feng and I speak for
the misunderstood people, the
the dunghill but none of them has a keen edge. The old saying means that when we try to do too grown-up but not yet mature
many tasks at once, and none of the tasks will be finished beautifully. Just like the greedy students and our colorful lives
blacksmith who cannot forge a single excellent sword while forging too many swords at once.
under the same sky.
In my childhood, my mom always accused me with this saying when I was trying to
become a "brilliant child"--having dinner, reading textbook, and watching cartoon simultaneously.
I finished my homework with many mistakes, and I couldn't enjoy dinner nor the cartoon. I know
that everyone has faced this situation at one time or another in their lives. You have a college
assignment due tomorrow, but your favorite documentary is on tonight. While you compromise
your time to do both, your mother calls and decides to have a long conversation with you about
your priorities. How well can you finish your work, enjoy the show, and satisfy your child-missing
mother? Or you might choose to sleep less to have more time to do what people in the U.S. call
having your cake and eating it too, but you will be in low spirits in school and at work the next
day.

We are college students, we are adults, and we are multi-taskers. Multitasking sounds like
a good idea, but most college students are not successful at it. We do so many things at once,
but most of us cannot manage to do just one task well.

Chinese culture admires undivided attention. No matter what you are doing, you are
http://cliffandolivia.com/blog/?p=1380
required to direct all your attention on that particular task. Once in my sociology class, my
professor asked about the American stereotype of Chinese students. The students answered
that the Chinese were considered smarter. It seemed to be a myth that most of the Chinese do
well in the class, but I think the truth is that Chinese students pay more attention in class than
many other students. Have you ever had eight classes a day for five days a week? I have ENCULTURATION: the social
studied under this stressful condition since primary school; so have other students in China. process by which culture is learned
There is rarely a chance for students to review the textbook to get through the knowledge after and transmitted across the
class, so they have to pay great attention to what the teacher has taught in class and to generations.
understand it at the same time. When I come to America, I can maintain my concentration in
FOCAL VOCABULARY: a set of
class even if the lecture and the teacher are boring. No phone messages, games, parties, good words and distinctions that are
friends, dating, weather, shopping, and sport events (These are what I see many of American particularly important to certain
students doing.) Only my studies are on my mind. There is no major difference in human brains groups (those with particular foci of
for studying and working but the difference lies in how we behave. experience or activity), such as types
of snow to Eskimos or skiers.
College is a stage leading children as young adults into the great world. We can learn to
succeed in our position as a students, but not in multitasking. That has a limit.
33
FOCUSED
I am John Virom Lumbera and
I speak for the athletes, artists When I was young, both of my parents went to the States for work while me and my siblings were
and observers. raised by my grandparents for 10 years in the Philippines. Although my grandparents guided and
loved us, there were moments where we really missed our parents. Every time I saw how my
aunts and uncles spent time with my cousins, I really got jealous of how happy I would be if our
family was complete too--laughing, eating meals together, going to watch a movie, helping us with
our homework. In addition, being separated from my parents put me in a difficult position. I was
the only guy. I had to look after my 3 sisters and I was only 8 when my parents left us. Every time
my dad called and asked about my sisters I couldn't just say “maybe” or “I don't know.” I thought
to myself, I can't lie or make up a reason. I had to know exactly what my sisters were up to.
Imagine the obligation, the burden, that put on they shoulders of an 8 year old boy.

When I entered high school I joined the men's volleyball team. It was like another challenge
was given to me. How would I handle my studies, practice AND the responsibility of my sisters?
Every decision I made had to be precise so it wouldn't be out of balance with my time and focus
for each one of my priorities. On weekdays, I had school from 7:25am to 4:30pm. Then volleyball
practice after school. So I got home around 8pm everyday. Most of my homework was done
during my breaks between each class so I could rest at night and bond with my sisters and
relatives. Saturdays I had practice again for the whole day and then on Sundays me and my
siblings went out to eat and watch movies.

In October 2007, my mom informed us that we were going to be living with them in New York.
I know I should feel grateful and overjoyed, but to be honest, I don't know what it felt like to have
parents around telling me what to do, face to face. During my first year of living with them, I tried
ENCULTURATION: the social to understand every decision they made for me even though it was against my will. I knew that
process by which culture is learned they had more experience in life and were used to the lifestyle here. After spending almost two
and transmitted across the years in college at Baruch, I slowly assimilated to life here in NY. But every time my parents
generations.
advised me about something I found it hard to swallow and sometimes I argued with them,
DIASPORA: the offspring of an area especially when I already knew what to do.
who have spread to many lands.
Even though I didn't have a chance to experience a "normal" childhood, I learned how
to be a responsible person and became a positive thinker to ease the stress of my everyday life.
As the result, I can proudly say that since kindergarten I have never failed a course and I now
know what being with my parents feels like. Now I can say that what matters to me is that no
matter how hard life gets, I can get through it if I just keep my mind on the right track.

34
Prejudice
I was born in Washington State and lived there until I was six years old. My
I am Katie Cannell and I speak
mother is from Hong Kong and moved to the states about six years before she
for the inquisitive, stubborn-
married my father, who is from Oregon. We lived in Ellensburg (population: 15,000;
minded, and spirited. I love
9,000 of them college students at Central Washington University) and she was the
exploring New York City and
only Chinese person in town. Looking back, I have so much respect for the
reliving my childhood outdoors.
discomfort she must have faced living in a sea of people who shared no
resemblance with her and couldn't speak her native tongue. She never mentions it,
but I'm sure she faced prejudice in a town that was that small and conservative.
Society makes it very difficult for people to assimilate if they are a little different from
the cultural norm. My mother has taught me to always be headstrong and that it is
possible to acclimate to uncomfortable situations. Her situation is so much more
extreme than anything I have faced, but it gives me hope that I, too, will have the
inner strength to face the hurdles created by society.

Over the summer my sister and I went to a village in Sichuan, China to teach
English to children for a couple weeks. While we were there, we noticed that all the
village people had flags of Mao. We asked the students what they thought of Mao
Zedong, China’s first Communist leader and the founder of the People’s Republic of
China and Hu Jintao, China’s current leader, and they all replied, "We love him. He
has done so much for us." After our teaching assignment, we took a 36-hour train Tacoma's "Anti-Chinese Movement," 1679
ride to Shanghai. On the train, there are 6 beds to a compartment. We shared a
compartment with a Chinese man who spoke very good English. He had attended
PREJUDICE: devaluing (looking
graduate school in New York twenty years ago. He later told us that he was at the down on) a group because of its
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 but had left a couple days before the actual assumed behavior, values,
massacre happened. This was so hard for me to grasp. He was the only person we capabilities, or attributes.
had met so far on the trip who saw the Chinese government from a different
DISCRIMINATION: policies and
perspective and understood that it wasn't necessarily helping the people. I thought I practices that harm a group and its
learned the difference between those with exposure to outside information and the members.
“less educated” village people. It made me realize people may have no choice but to
accept the government's word. CULTURE IS ALL-ENCOMPASSING:
The anthropological concept of culture
encompasses all aspects of human
I realize the same thing is probably happening right underneath my nose. This group behavior. All people are
experience taught me to appreciate that I do have access to information, but it also cultured, not just those who are
taught me that I can’t always accept everything at face value. formally educated.

35
•Uncertainty I am Richardson Antoine and I
From a very young age, my parents have repeatedly told me about the importance speak for the pragmatic, the
of a college education. I suppose this was primarily out of a sense of regret, since apprehensive, and second-
neither my mom nor my dad finished college. They blamed all their failures of their adult generation immigrants.
years on their decision to drop out of college. As one can reasonably expect, I’m under
a great deal of pressure to graduate from college. While my parents mean well, I can’t
help but wonder whether they are misguided.

Back in their day, a bachelor degree really was the ticket to a higher-paying career.
Nowadays, everybody and their mother are getting bachelor’s degrees. According to the
US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, the graduating class of
1980-1981 received 935,140 bachelor’s degrees.The class of 2007-2008 received
1,563,000 bachelor’s degrees, and that number is projected to increase in the years to
come. With so many more people getting degrees, not to mention the current recession,
a college degree just isn’t worth as much as it used to be. Marty Nemko, a career and
education expert who has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, has stated
“that piece of paper [bachelor’s degree] no longer means very much, and employers
know that. Everybody’s got it, so it’s watered down.”  

      In a way, my parents are right, in that I will almost certainly need a post-
secondary education if I wish to make good money. However, I feel as if they don’t LEVELING MECHANISMS: customs
understand that a degree doesn’t promise one a good job. The companies surveyed by and social actions that operate to
the National Association for Colleges and Employers indicated they were planning to reduce differences in wealth and thus
hire 22% fewer grads from the class of 2009 than they did from the class of 2008. I can to bring standouts in line with
community norms.
almost imagine my parents’ disappointment when they find out that I might not get a job
in spite of my degree because of the sheer number of qualified individuals. In an MARKET PRINCIPLE: profit-oriented
attempt to prevent this from happening to me, I chose to attend Baruch College, a principle of exchange that dominates
public business school with tuition so cheap that I will never have to worry about student in states, particularly industrial states.
loans, and picked an accounting major, considered by many to have excellent job Goods and services are bought and
prospects. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics even states that accountants sold, and values are determined by
supply and demand.
and auditors are expected to experience much faster than average employment growth
from 2008 to 2018, and I still don’t feel secure. All I can do at this point is to keep
stumbling along, rack up those internships, and hope that I hit the career jackpot.

36
37
Unruly c
I've been trying to stay on task, doing my work to avoid stress. That is my goal
everyday, but something goes wrong. My mother tried to stop me from even going to school I am Guneet Kaur and I speak
today. She begged me to tell her what's wrong. My brother persuaded her to let me go. I cried for the uncertain, relationships,
on the subway to school. I tried not to but the tears wouldn’t stop. It seems like nothing and change. I can't wait to find
matters to me anymore, like the hidden rules of society have made my life hell. a solution for my uncertainties.
In India as a child, I went to two boarding schools. I attended my first boarding school
in first grade and second grade. I was just a kid and being away from my mom was hard. I
cried a lot in the beginning. Then there was my fear of ghosts and strict teachers. My first
year I got very sick because my fear of Bloody Mary and being homesick made me cry
constantly. I had a fever, my body temperature was 105 °F. They say if you have a
temperature of 108 °F you can die. The second year I got the chicken pox.

Life was stressful enough as a child but now it's the cultural clash of being a 20 year-
old Sikh woman in America going back and forth between America and India. Once I became
a permanent resident, I put all my efforts into doing well and in high school, I became
valedictorian.

When I started at Baruch, falling in love was last thing on my mind. This came with its
own problems—the rules of religion and gender. I am Sikh and my boyfriend is Muslim. My
family practices the tradition of arranged marriage. Sikhism seemed to grow out of our
fighting Muslims for the right to practice the faith. Religion, in my thinking, divides mankind.
Having a religion is not bad but it shouldn’t hold us back from our desires, from who we love. RELIGION: is a cultural universal,
although different societies
Wasn't Religion created to give people hope and a sense of direction in uncertain times and conceptualize divinity, supernatural
circumstances? I don’t believe in Religion anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God. But entities, and ultimate realities very
people don't follow religions to a "t," we pick and choose the rules we follow. differently. It can be used as a means
of social control and as a leveling
Every since my parents found out about my Muslim boyfriend, there has been this mechanism in many societies. To
divide between us. I don't follow their beliefs and that hurts them. If they let me do whatever I ensure proper behavior, religions offer
want, there would be no respect within our religious community, and respect is important. I rewards and punishments, and many
prescribe a code of ethics and
feel like an outcast because I have different view than my culture. morality.
So, I still have a lot to figure out. Everything I want and believed in is up in the air. The
only thing I want now is freedom. At some point in life, we all look for this freedom. ETHNICITY: identification with, and
feeling part of, an ethnic group, and
There’s a saying in my religion, आ"श $ हा'सल कर, - िलए आप को खो 'दया 5. I order to
exclusion from certain other groups
because of this affiliation.
gain you have to lose. My goal is to get trough this hardship and gain long-term happiness.
38
Denial
I have more memories with my grandmother in the early years of my life, than I have with my
parents. My parents were constantly working at their grocery store. They were motivated to succeed I am Samuel Lee and I speak
after they immigrated from South Korea to the United States. I had an objection. I was so young. I for forgiveness, generosity and
could not understand why I only saw my parents one hour a day. I viewed myself as an invisible kid,
pushed aside by my parent’s grocery store. When my parents came home every night, the smell of
the power of language.
groceries triggered my jealousy. It was my grandmother who put me to bed and when I had trouble
sleeping, it was my grandmother who soothed me.

My grandmother was not blood-related. She was an old lady who had lived with my family for
many years. She followed us to the United States. She took care, fed, and dressed me every day
while also having to do most of the house chores. In New York City, she might be called a “nanny” or
“au pair.” I followed her everywhere she went. I felt secure around her. We went to fish markets,
supermarkets, the laundromat, and sometimes stopped by the convenient store when I begged her to
buy me a Power Ranger action figure.

She always had a dollar in hand in the afternoon. She knew the ice cream truck made its daily
stop in front of our house. When its song soared through the neighborhood, she was the first person
out the front door. I ate my favorite chocolate ice cream on the front porch while she smiled in
satisfaction. She tried very hard to be a second mother to me. I had a difficult time accepting it.

Years went by and nothing had changed. I grew frustrated and began to see myself changing. I
was no longer the joyful and active little boy I used to be. I stopped following my grandmother around
and resented her efforts in trying to act as my mother. “You are not my mother!”, I screamed out of
frustration after she complained of how dirty my room was. I began to spill words that I knew I would
regret. I stormed out of the house, slammed the door, only to pause when I heard the sounds of her
weeping through the kitchen window. I looked inside and saw an old lady who seemed to have lost FAMILY: a group of people (e.g.,
everything she owned. She covered both eyes with her tear-soaked hands and sat motionless for parents, children, siblings,
several hours. grandparents, grandchildren, uncles,
aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins,
A couple of months had passed when I woke to an unusually quiet morning. I was struck with the spouses, siblings-in-law, parents-in-
news; my grandmother had left for Korea. Sure, she had traveled to Korea many times before, but law, children-in-law) who are
this time I was hit with feelings of guilt and remorse that I would never see her again. considered to be related in some way,
for example, by "blood" (common
My mother gave me a letter that she had left. In it were words that summarized her love for me. ancestry or descent) or marriage.
The memory of my regretful words were nowhere to be found. Rather, the letter symbolized our good
times. My tears dripped on the letter I was holding as I realized it could well have been her last words. LIFE HISTORY: of a cultural
consultant; provides a personal
Five years after she left, I was given the news she had passed away. I always knew that cultural portrait of existence or change
that day would come. However, I did not cry as much as I expected. Maybe it was because the letter in a culture.
she left gave me comfort. Or it could be that even to this day I am in denial of her existence.

39
cServing Honesty
I am Radha Ramoutar and
I speak for the practical,
fun-loving, and graceful. I
I grew up in a conservative Indo-Guyanese household where my family does not believe
in dating. First you get married, and then you get to go on dates. I remember it like it was love my family.
yesterday, it was my 19th birthday. I was home relaxing with my family when our doorbell
rang; it was a flower delivery. I was freaking out, I knew who it was from but my parents had
no idea, or so I thought.

How do I tell my parents that I have a boyfriend? I did not know where to start explaining
but I had to start from somewhere. There were two possible reactions: my parents would
either be upset and they would not let me out of their sight anymore, or they would
understand and everything would be fine. It was one of the most uncomfortable
conversations I have ever had with my parents (particularly my mom). Even though we were
in the same room, I could not gather the courage to say a word. I sent my mom an e-mail
explaining everything. After my mom read the e-mail, her response was "I knew all along."

She started telling me about every time she knew I lied in the past and snuck out to be
with my boyfriend, she's even seen us together. She expressed how disappointed she was
in me for lying to her for so long. As scared as I was, I felt somewhat relieved. After I spoke
with my mom, she told my dad everything. He was not fond of the idea of his daughter(s)
having boyfriend(s); my sister and myself. I did not blame him, it was definitely a culture
shock from what he was used to and what he was now faced with. For me to continue being PATRILOCALITY: customary residence
with the husband's relatives after
in a relationship, I had to promise my parents that I would not do anything stupid and I would marriage, so that children grow up in
graduate from college. their father's community.

My mom decided it would be a great idea to have dinner and get to know my boyfriend BRIDEWEALTH: a customary gift
better. My dad did not want to go; he still has not accepted the fact that I have a boyfriend. before, at, or after marriage from the
Also, I was afraid of how awkward it would have been. After many cancellations, the dinner- husband and his kin to the wife and her
date was finally here. My entire family begged my dad to go and he finally agreed. At the kin; see also progeny price.
dinner table, it was a bit silent in the beginning but as time progressed, my dad and my
boyfriend hardly even noticed there were other people there. This entire event has definitely
changed the relationship I have with my parents. In the past, I was always afraid of being
honest and open with them. Now, we have a much better relationship, I even go to my
mother for advice (something I would have never have done in the past).

40
A Senior Moment
"You're late, again!" This is what I heard when I walked into his class. Being punctual
has always been issue for especially when going to class. No matter how hard I tried, I was I am Pavneet Singh and
late. When the Spring 2010 semester rolled around, I decided to take some late classes, I speak for the seniors who
thinking getting to them on time would be nice-and-easy but this semester was no exception are glad it’s over.
to my lack of punctuality. To add salt to the wound, one of my professors marked you absent
when you were just one minute late. I despised him for doing that and a lot of my peers think
I'm right.

Out of doing this Speak project, I decided to have a word my professor to find out
why he wants to make life even more miserable than it already is.

As we walked from the 7th to 11th floor, I asked what he thinks about students who
come to class late. He said it shows they are irresponsible, that they don't care for their own,
the other students' and the professor’s time. Then I asked why he incorporates such a strict
tardy policy. His response was that it’s important for students to be on time. It creates a
better student and a better learning environment. Then I asked, “Don’t you think that living in
NYC, where most students have to take the train or several trains to get to class, that having
such a strict tardy policy is unfair?” His immediate response, to paraphrase, was “NO! Life is
uncertain and if a student is late once, I can understand and ignore it. If the behavior
continues than it’s not the train's fault, it’s the student. That’s when a student needs to plan Double Droste Clock by ©2008
David C. Pearson, M.D. 
their trip and day better.” My last question was: "What are you hoping to achieve when you
decided what you wanted to use this tardy policy?" The professor said, paraphrasing again,
“If students start to focus on punctuality, they will develop a personality that will help them in
the future. Ethics should be important because they help build a foundation for their future.” CULTURAL RELATIVISM: the position
that the values and standards of
cultures differ and deserve respect.
This informal interview with him had a big impact on me. It changed my point view Anthropology is characterized by
about ethics. Hearing how passionate this professor was about teaching and building a methodological rather than
foundation for students, I felt a moral duty towards him and the class for the first time. Ethics moral relativism:
have always been important to me but being on time was something I never thought was a
big deal. Since the interview I’ve been trying to be early, not just in his class but every other In order to understand another culture
place I need to be. This was not all that I learned from him. I also found out that this fully, anthropologists try to understand
its members' beliefs and motivations.
professor has been teaching since 1952. He’s 82 years old and he enjoys teaching so much
that the word "retirement" isn’t in his vocabulary. He shared with me how one of his Methodological relativism does not
colleagues died while teaching his class. My professor thought it was a great way to go out. preclude making moral judgments
This guy really loves what he's doing. I had walked into the interview with a grudge for this or taking action.
professor and his tardy policy. I walked out with more respect for him, an appreciation for his
policies, and a new relationship to being on time.

41
Play Your Game !
I am Esteben “Pedro” Rosas and
I speak for the stolen blood in
the fight for my people and the
"Put the chess pieces in order and plan your game, its time for you to stop dust in my hands.
fucking around." That is what my dad said on the phone at the beginning of the
spring semester 2010. Born in Mexico, since the age of 6 I‘ve traveled from Mexico
to the US, Canada, Korea, and France. My parents expect me to do certain things
but they are no longer part of my plans. I’ve grown far apart from them. They don’t
even ask me about school anymore. What does all this mean? I don’t know yet but I
do know is that it will blossom into something of its own. My dad wants me to be
reliable and have a good job. He wants me to have a life like the one he does full of
benefits and stability, but what is stability? Waiting to pay off your mortgage? Not
me. I do have a piggybank. I’m not a slacker. I just don’t want to play that game.

New York City has been my home for the past 2 years and I cannot deny that
this city is all about workaholics, partying, prejudice--love or hate, and appearances
—bohemian or preppy. Often what overwhelms me and distracts me from my
success as a student. I get confused about what to do next. Perhaps it's the lack of
structure in college. But everyday while riding my bicycle to school, I admire every
single detail that I pass on my way—the trees, the wind, the sea, even the same RITES OF PASSAGE
person sleeping on a bench—and it gets me thinking about how great my day is have three phases:
going to be. These little things are the ones that are most valuable to me. All the
things we see have a lesson of their own. Professor Gaunt said, “There is always Separation—when participants
withdraw from the group and begin
something to contribute and something to learn from.” moving from one place or status to
another.
With thousands of possibilities, there are also an infinite amount of risky
conclusions. As a result, uncertainty remains for the future. To my lovely classmates Liminality—the period between
and to the student body, what I can say is simple: to give and be true to what matters states, during which the participants
have left one place or state but have
to you is the game we all want to play. Even though my chess game is not complete, not yet entered or joined the next.
I know how I want to play the game and so do you.
Incorporation—when participants
reenter society with a new status,
having completed the rite.

42
APPENDIX: Lessons from our
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

“Something happens to the myths of motherhood


when, in a land of terrible scarcity, infants die of
mortal neglect. Nancy Scheper-Hughes argues for
a ‘political economy of the emotions’ that replaces
poetics with pragmatism” (New Internationalist,
1994). Our class read her mini-ethnography titled
“Mother’s Love: Death Without Weeping” in
McCurdy and Spradley’s Conformity and Conflict
reader (2007).

When reading both Kottak’s Mirror for Humanity (2009) and the essays in Conformity & Conflict (2007), I learned
that my culture is not the only one out there. Now I knew there were other cultures, but I never thought about it. I
lived inside my little upper-middle class suburbanite bubble and nothing else. I didn’t need to think of the
“outside” world. I had never been outside of the U.S.. Once I started to read each of these books, it opened up
my eyes; not every place in the world has a 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom house.

In fairness, most of the world doesn’t have these types of houses. After reading these books, it allowed me to
stop looking at the world through lenses that I made, and begin to view it from tons of different lenses. I don’t
think it would have been possible without reading so many of the amazing stories in these books. -- Jon Sabal

EACH STUDENT WAS ASSIGNED TO PARTICIPATE IN A GROUP ORAL PRESENTATION BASED ON


CHAPTER TOPICS SUCH AS FAMILY, THE WORLD ECONOMIC SYSTEM AND GLOBAL ISSUES TODAY.
EACH WAS ASKED TO EXAMINE THEIR OWN CULTURAL BACKGROUND. THE FOLLOWING PAGES
ARE SAMPLES OF THEIR SLIDES.

43
RELIGION: Religion is a cultural
universal, although different societies
conceptualize divinity, supernatural
entities, and ultimate realities very
differently.

One perspective is that it focuses on


bodies of people who gather together
regularly for worship, and who accept a
set of doctrines involving the relationship
between the individual and divinity, the
supernatural, or whatever is taken to be
the ultimate nature of reality

Slide on vodou from Richardson


Antoine’s part of group oral presentation
on chapter 9: “Religion” in Kottak’s Mirror
for Humanity, 7th ed.

44
STEREOTYPES: Fixed ideas—often
unfavorable—about what members of a
group are like.

The fictional character Natalia


Romanova, also known as the Black
Widow or Чёрная вдова, 'Chyornaya
vdova' (first appearing in the comic book
Tales of Suspense #52), was born in
Stalingrad, Russia during the Cold War.

Marvel Comics created her character to


be a Russian black operations agent who
would go up against America’s heroes.
The story was that the Russian
government trained her from a very
young age and deployed false memories
in her head so that she would remain
loyal to their cause. It was a stereotype
of the Russian government and
Communism. The Black Widow would
later defect to the U.S in 1970, the height
of the Cold War, and would later join the
Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D to help against
the fight against communism. This is a
more modern image of the Black Widow.

Slide from Jon Sabal as part of a group


oral presentation on chapter 10: “The
World System and Colonialization” in
Kottak’s Mirror for Humanity, 7th ed.
showing transmission of communist
stereotypes and preconceptions through
popular culture

45
CULTURE: Traditions and customs that
govern behavior and beliefs; distinctly
human; transmitted through learning.

CULTURE MAY BE ADAPTIVE:


Although humans continue to adapt
biologically, reliance on social and
cultural means of adaptation has
increased during human evolution and
plays a crucial role.

Slide from Mitchell Roy’s part of group


oral presentation on chapter 10: “The
World System and Colonialization” in
Kottak’s Mirror for Humanity, 7th ed. on
the retentions from the era of slavery on
African American food culture.

46
CLIMATE CHANGE: Scientists prefer
the term “climate change” to “global
warming.” The former points out that,
beyond rising temperatures, there have
been changes in sea levels, precipitation,
storms, and ecosystems effects.

The precise effects of climate change on


regional weather patterns have yet to be
determined. While global warming may
benefit those living in higher latitudes,
many more people worldwide probably
will be harmed.

Slide from Iryna Kouratnik’s part of group


oral presentation on chapter 13: “Global
Issues Today” in Kottak’s Mirror for
Humanity, 7th ed.

47
ECOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY:
Anthropology always has been concerned
with how environmental forces influence
humans and how human activities affect
the biosphere and the Earth itself.

The 1950s-1970s witnessed the
emergence of ecological anthropology,
which focused on how cultural beliefs and
practices helped human populations
adapt to their environments, and how
people used elements of their culture to
maintain their ecosystems.

Ancient Chinese saying--“the earth


gives birth, but the sky feeds us.” The sky
here means the climate, such as the
temperature and rain, which helps grow
plants and crops in traditional cultivation.
Used for at least twenty-five thousand
years, the Chinese established an emic
system, the “twenty-four fortnightly
periods,” to guide the process of
cultivation each year.

The twenty-four fortnightly periods told


peasants when each season came--the
rainy period or the cold. These indications
helped them plan when to prepare the
seeds, to loosen the soil, to sow seeds, to
irrigate, and to harvest different kinds of
crops.

However, these twenty-four fortnightly


periods have been challenged by global
climate change in recent decades. The
peasants cannot determine well the best
season for planting winter wheat, for
example, an important crop in the
northern part of China.

Slide from Peizhi Feng’s part of group oral


presentation on chapter 13: “Global
Issues Today” in Kottak’s Mirror for
Humanity, 7th ed.
48
GENDER: Gender roles and
stratification have varied widely across
cultures and through history.

Gender is flexible and varies with


cultural, social, political, and
economic factors.

The variability of gender in time and


space suggests that it will
continue to change.

Slide from Stevan Rosas’s part of group


oral presentation on chapter 7:
“Gemder” in Kottak’s Mirror for
Humanity, 7th ed. on the retentions
from the era of slavery on African
American food culture.

49
Credits:
Co-Editors & Production by Malcolm
Johnson, Esther Kogan, Megan Byrne,
Katie Cannell, Bishoy Ayoub, Troyster
Joseph, and Hillary Herrera. Managing
Director: Kyra Gaunt.

Book title conceived by Bishoy Ayoub

Cover art by "Uncertainty" by Ana


Cisneros Ana is a children’s book
animator and graduate of UDEM de
Monterrey Mexico. She is a friend of
Steván Rosas.

Cover Graphics by Steván Rosas and


Kyra Gaunt

Dedication by Megan Byrne and Kyra


Gaunt

Marketing by Daisy Mendez and


Malcolm Johnson
Acknowledgements:
Thank YOU for reading! We also want to thank the TEDsters and other inspiring visitors to our course including:

Josh Klein and Bill Jensen (authors of Hacking Work)

Honor Anya Kamenetz of Fast Company (author of DIY-U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs and the Coming Transformation of
Higher Education),

Respect Deanna Zandt (author of Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking)

Dora Maynard (of The Maynard Institute)

Trust Also thanks to Lisa Fraser and The Ticker for reporting on our project in May 2010.
P.S. We miss you Lisa Odie.

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