It is the social process in which authority figures such as parents, professors, politicians, religious leaders, peers, and the media defines our cultural values, beliefs, ethical systems, and ultimately the way we perceive ourselves in the world. It can prevent critical thinking. A person who has not been exposed to other cultures or lifestyles might assume that their culture way of being is the only “right” way, and that anything that is not like their own is interpreted as strange, absurd, or even a threat.
Essentially, they may become judgmental and perceive their way of being “the right way”. As expected, this leads to baseless conclusions and biases against other ways of being. Once they are rationalized in the established mind, it can lead to all types of societal phobia’s that can cause harm to a great number of people. This world is varied, which makes it a complex habitat to live in. We are individually nurtured in our own specific culture and must adapt to our environment; following our traits and roots which eventually creates the person we become in society.
We can avoid cultural conditioning by being humble and grasp the reality that there are other ways of “being”. Respecting peoples’ beliefs, ideas and viewpoints and remaining with a fair mind will be a great way to overcome this challenging issue. Molinarez When asked if I personally been conditioned by sex-role expectations, I can honestly say “No I have not”. I was the youngest of six children being raised in a “broken home”, by a single independent Hispanic woman, in a Housing Authority complex.
My mother did everything she was taught to do and still was divorced. She continues to follow her heritage and beliefs stating “we need to follow our culture and upbringings to have a happy home”. In the Puerto Rican Hispanic culture, women are taught to cook at a very early age and are told, “This is what must be done to have a husband, cook, clean, and stay at home and take care of your children”. I must say I was conditioned to learn how to cook and clean but thought of it as a survival guide. If I did not learn who was going to feed me when I was hungry?
However, I veered away by understanding the “difference of living” the world offers. I made my own moral decisions and chose my own path of life. I got several tattoos, learned how to ride a motorcycle, and chose not to be a catholic. My mother never agreed with my lifestyle she always said I should have been born a “man”. Unfortunately, from no fault of her own, she is ignorant to the world of “woman can now do what they want”, because she was not given the opportunity to explore the different paths of life in her childhood.
My cultural conditioning has allowed me to be prepared for the unexpected, whether it is in a positive or negative way. At the age ten, I had to learn how to purchase everything we needed for dinner that night and bring home the right amount of change making sure no one would rob me or try kidnapping me. I turned my negative experience from living in a drug infested neighborhood, to a positive one by becoming book smart and “street smart” (The general definition of street smart is someone who is intelligent, has good common sense, knows’ Molinarez ow to handle bad situations, and has the skills necessary to function where they live, usually the “ghetto” or the streets).
I wanted to help others and make a difference so I went to school to study criminal justice. While studying I became intrigued with the Emergency Medical Service series they were giving on channel five called “Rescue 911”. I changed my studies and became certified as an EMT-emergency medical technician. I now handle extreme cases and I am able to ease the situation.
Hispanic culture views any law enforcement, firefighter or EMS work as a “man’s” occupation; once again it is because they were never exposed to the reality that anyone can do anything. Many Hispanics are old fashioned with old traditions and will never change their cultural conditioning. Some are becoming adjusted to society, especially here in the USA, experiencing frequent changes. For example, when Sonia Sotomayor became the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, it was a taste of disbelief for old fashioned Puerto Rican women.
The person I present to the world is able to analytically think and react to emergency situations, thanks to the fast paced environment I was born and raised in. I was exposed to quite a few gloomy situations, but I was also educated from them. I was able to ethnically situate myself to where I was comfortable in making my own assessment of the ambiance I was living in. It is hard to grab hold of a person’s culture because the dynamics of an individual are unique. The past, present, and future will disarrange your social and ethical views. It is up to the person to make the final conclusion on what to follow.