Culture and Identity

I am now playing catch up from the last couple of months! Enjoy!

In one of my classes a few months ago, we talked about culture and identity and how society influences this. We then talked about how this relates to the deaf society. I found this lecture fascinating and I just had to share my thoughts on it!

So what is culture?

According to the dictionary, culture is “the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.”

Culture is learned and is separate from biology. It is shared and transmitted via language. It indicates ideas, assumptions, values, procedures, norms and is the basis for everything we do.

On a basic level, different ethnic groups and the norms of the ethnic groups. For example, the Hispanic culture or even Asian culture has a certain set of rules that is normal to them. For the rest of the population, these may seem weird as it is a culture that we are not a part of.

When I look at my culture, I think of the values that are really important to me. One of the biggest things I value is my relationships with my family and friends. They are my backbone and drive everything I do. I work hard to invest in these relationships and keep them healthy and fruitful. I strive to keep connections so I can network. I dream of getting married and having a family and passing down the importance of relationships to them.

Another one of my biggest cultural norms growing up was the act of thanking people. My mom instilled in me that you write a thank-you card every time someone does you a favor and treat them with little fun treats. For me, I know that I can always bribe people with food, so that is my go to along with a thank-you card! I have done Trader Joes thank-you bags with fun goodies from there. I have also done jars with Hershey Kisses and glued thank-you posts its to the bottom.

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When I look at the number of different cultures that I am a part of, I am so blessed to have so many connections and groups I am a part of. Below is just a small list outside of my family:

  • Teachers of the Deaf – We talk about ears, cochlear implants, hearing aids, language, speech, and so on. We understand each other and the different terms that we use in our profession.
  • CCHAT Alumni – I am a part of this group of students who went to CCHAT. We talk about what it is like to have hearing loss and share our experiences from the school with our favorite teachers and speech therapists.
  • Church Groups – I am a part of this group of Christians who believe in the LORD and all things that he does (I am not preaching). We understand the value of church and the influence it has in our life.

This is just a small list. Some others that come up on the top of my head are GFU Alumni, Wash U Alumni, Cochlear Implant Peeps, Hearing Aid Peeps, Teachers, Tennis, and so on.

Many people form their identities based on the culture(s) they are a part of.

So, what is identity?

According to the dictionary, identity is how individuals or groups see and define themselves and how other define them.

Identity is often formed through a socialization process and is influenced by family, friends, education and so on. In some instances, it can be a personal choice, but not to the full extent as people see you a certain way.

Personally, I identify myself in several different ways.

I look at myself as a “normal” person who is a teacher for children with hearing loss. I am a tennis player, hiker and a family person.

I don’t look at myself as deaf and I don’t look at myself that way because I was raised in this hearing world. I have very few deaf friends and seeing them was not my everyday norm. I was raised going to school with my neighbors, so I see myself as “normal”, whatever that means.

My identity will continue to evolve as I grow and change as I embark new challenges. This is true for anyone. I am sure I will change when I get married, change jobs, start a family and so on. It is constantly evolving.

So what is your identity? What cultures are you a part of?

Give it a little thought and reflect!

Happy Thursday!

Krista 🙂

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