1. encourage further dialogue and discussion
2. encourage your classmate to think about other aspects of the topic
3. ask a relevant, meaningful question to better assist with your understanding
4. compare and/or contrast your responses
Inherently Good or Bad?
Considering the definitions of good and bad are different for every culture, I believe that people are generally products of their upbringing and influenced by societal norms. For example, I cannot say that eating a certain species of animal is inherently bad when the majority of the people in an area consume the animal routinely. What Americans view as good or bad is not always in line with what other nations view as good or bad. Our belief that someone is good or bad is influenced in part by our spiritual and religious beliefs but also a host of others. I do not believe people are either good or bad. I think we have intentions and actions that sometimes do not go as we plan but to say there is an inherently good or bad genetic predisposition is contestable and founded in cultural morality instead of empirical evidence. If people could be born good or bad I think we would see a lot more children who do terrible things (because good behavior is mostly overlooked). We would have more child murderers and children who accost others as well as steal, etc., whereas their good counterparts would just be seen as regular conforming children and the same goes for adults (Halbur & Halbur, 2015).
My Cultural Background
My cultural background is southern American. I am a Caucasian male from south Louisiana and I only ever identified with other southern white people because that is all I have ever known. I actually do not really even know how else to say it because the only cultural tie I feel is with other southern white people, which can be broken any minute due to my not caring about what culture I may or may not be associated with (and is likely due to ignorance on my part as well).
Culture and Beliefs
Both my mother’s family and my father’s family are littered with racists so let me get that out of the way first. I think growing up alongside two racist families taught me that just because you love your family does not mean you have to ascribe to their racial and prejudicial ideologies. I learned from a very young age that certain racial epithets would be spoken in my family openly and without any recourse whereas specific four letter curse words were forbidden to utter. The blatant disregard for one type of human being versus another never grew on me so the racism was cut off with me but then again I am already a sort of black sheep in my family. To answer the question more specifically, I think my background has strengthened my regard for other people and people different than me. I believe that everyone should be treated as equals because it is not as though we are from different planets, we all share the same ancestors and can do nothing about our skin color or where we grew up. We can only do something about our own ways of thinking and ensure that it is not harmful to others.
My values begin with the regular values. I think certain freedoms are important like the freedom of speech and religion. I think we should not murder each other. I think being cruel to animals speaks volumes about what type of psychosis an individual may have. I value education highly and think everyone should be able to attend primary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions without being severely financially indebted. I think our money system is corrupt and economically biased and unequal on a number of fronts but primarily between men and women (the value in this instance is economic equality in nature). I value the right to decide what is best for our own bodies without governmental interference within reason. I value the Golden Rule sans masochism. I value technological advancements. I value personal space and personal hygiene. Finally, I suppose I could continue for quite a while but I will end by saying I value the power of laughter and try to elicit laughter from people at every opportunity.
Intersection of Culture and Values
One of my favorite poems is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. In the poem he discusses being a traveler in a forest and coming upon two paths. One is well worn and visually often used while the other is overgrown and wont for attention. Like Frost, I feel that I have taken that less often traveled road because the intersection of my culture and values lies in turmoil and struggle (Frost, 2016). I have usually taken the long way around things so that I get the most out of the experience. For instance, I am still in college at the age of twenty-nine. I feel like because I do not share a cultural background that I can be proud of really my values have been shaped by my diligent rerouting of my life. I could have just taken the simple path and become a nurse like my mother and many other family members, but I decided I wanted something more. So the intersection of my culture and values is my tireless search for education and my wanting to be a better person than I was yesterday.
Halbur, D. A., & Halbur, K. V. (2015). Developing Your Theoretical Orientation in Counseling and Psychotherapy (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Frost, R. (2016). The Road Not Taken. Retrieved November 3, 2016, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/core-poems/detail/44272