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Cultural Differences Paper “Driving Miss Daisy” Essay

There are many ways that the movie “Driving Miss Daisy” portrays cultural issues. There are a number of scenes in the film in which different cultural issues are described and in which racial issues are prominent. It is important to note that the movie is set in 1948 in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Edward Hall there is a reality that everyone lives in that is a particular reality as there are a number of reasons for which this occurs but mainly it is because we are looking through our own reality as though it were a screen. There are a number of cultural issues that are dealt with in the film, “Driving Miss Daisy” and through this film and looking at Edward Hall’s beliefs on the issue there a number of examples that can be noted.

According to Geert Hofstede’s there are five dimensions of cultural patterns. These dimensions are most commonly used in international business but can be adapted to everyday life situations as well. These five patterns include the following: (1) low vs. high power distance (the way that those who are in power interact, meaning between those who are on the low end of the spectrum and have little power to those who are on the high end of the spectrum and have a lot of power), (2) individualism vs.

collectivism (this is the extent to which one is able to stand up for himself or expects others around him or those who are part of his group to stand up for him), (3) masculinity vs femininity (this is the association with traits that are generally thought to be gender biased), (4) uncertainty avoidance (when someone tries their hardest to avoid any uncertainty and takes special precautions in order to do so), and (5) long vs short term orientation (this is the standard by which something is measured as in whether or not it is in the long term or in the short term).

Each of these areas can be explored through the movie, “Driving Miss Daisy. ” Cultural Identity— Each person has the ability to have an identity. The different social groups, structures and classes that each person fits in with and feels a connection to is an example of their cultural identity. This identity makes each person whom they are and continues to give each person a reason to look for a particular group or a particular culture with which to identify. In the beginning of the movie as Daisy is refusing a driver this is again because of a screen that she is seeing herself through.

She believes that if she has a driver that she should be embarrassed. This is because she thinks that there is either going to be a problem where others think of her as very wealthy or they will know her embarrassment of being too old to drive. In this aspect of the film, Daisy is fighting hard against being associated as being part of the aging crowd or so it could be examined through Hall’s theory. This is also an example of Hofstede’s ideas on uncertainty avoidance. This is because Daisy is so uncertain of what will happen when she loses her power to drive.

This would mean that she would not be able to come and go as she pleases and that she would not be able to just jump in her car and drive and see friends or to go to the store to grab that last forgotten item. In a way this is so much more important in this situation than it is with other issues as the aging process is one that is hard enough without all of the added dilemmas and problems. So the idea that Daisy is having such a hard time with the aging process should not be a surprise to those who are around them.

Another area of culture that is seen in this movie is the culture of the aging. Through Hall’s theory Daisy thinks that she is okay to drive at the beginning of the movie but her son is sure that she needs a driver and that she is not going to be able to drive on her own as there were too many problems with her driving in the past and she was unable to keep her driver’s license. Towards the end of the movie her driver has aged and is no longer able to drive either which makes for an interesting plot as he attempts to take taxi cabs to visit her while she is in the nursing home.

While she is in the nursing home it is noted in the movie through character dialogue that Daisy has good days and bad days and when she is having bad days it is hard to connect with her. This could be a way of being able to look at the orientation of the individual as looked at by Hofstede. As Daisy is having problems with losing her identity and losing her ability to communicate as well as she used to she is having a harder time with her orientation and being able to be oriented to the present rather than issues from the past. Cultural Bias— A cultural bias is where one culture is favored over another.

Therefore the culture that is favored has an advantage in all areas where concerned. This is because there are a number of different areas in which the culture with the advantage is able to take advantage of the situations and make things easier for their cultural or their beliefs and harder on those whom they disagree or can not connect with. In one scene Daisy truly begins to see the racism that has been around her. She is being taken by Hoke to her brother’s party in Mobile, Alabama. While she is on the trip with Hoke she begins to realize how differently people view him and how he is treated just because he is African American.

This is something that she has previously been blind to as she was a very open and accepting individual. Again this is an example of how Hall’s theory has affected Daisy as she has been looking at things from a different perspective than before. This overt racism is a part of the ideas that have been passed down from generation to generation. This is an example of what Hofstede referred to as low vs high power as the racial issues are typically interacted between those who are in low or high power at the time. In this way the lower power race is the African Americans while the higher powered race is the white Americans.

Another area of the movie that explores racial issues looks at the many problems that Daisy has faced herself being a Jew. She also realizes at one point, after her synagogue is bombed that she is treated differently too. Through the relationships and beliefs in the movie many different issues involving racism are explored. This movie is able to look at cultural issues and serious issues with racial injustice from a different perspective than other films have done as it was from two different view points, both who were being prejudiced against but in different ways.

Again this has been looked at a few different times in the movies and it is again a power struggle between those who have less power and those who have more power. Cultural Patterns— There are many different cultural patterns that can be seen in the movie, “Driving Miss Daisy. ” These patterns include that there are a number of different areas in which there are ways that the cultural identity of a person is considered to be either a negative or a positive trait. The problem is that there is off a miscommunication and a lack of connection between the two.

There were a lot of scenes in the movie where there were times when the characters were involved in areas that were necessary for interactions. Verbal and Non-verbal Intercultural Communication— Throughout the movie, “Driving Miss Daisy” there is a number of different areas of communication. There are times when the communication is done through spoken dialogue while other times the communication is in a look or gesture that is done between two different characters. Each of these type of communication play an important role in the overall communication process and in how a character is able to communicate with another in one way or another.

One example of Hall’s theory is the interaction between Miss Daisy and her driver, Hoke Colburn. She believes that she is better than him and that she should be able to have him do what she wishes. This is because the story takes place at a time when African Americans were only known to be servants or slaves to white Americans. Through her screen or her perspectives as they were taught to her, Daisy has been taught in her culture and during this time period that she is above these other citizens and that they are not equal to her.

This is a common misconception among many individuals when cultural issues are concerned as there is often a time period where the individual has feelings or thoughts on a subject purely based on what they have learned. After some time however Daisy’s mind is changed about Hoke and she believes him to be a true friend to her, she even tells him that he is her best friend. There was another scene in the movie where an Alabama state trooper sees the two of them driving off together and he states “An old nigger and an old Jew woman takin’ off down the road together…that is one sorry sight!

” This just goes to show the overall perceptions of reality in particular areas (the area in the South where Daisy is from) and the time period that they are living in. Through communication it can also be obvious which parts of the communication are through a group effort or group opinion and which ones are that of an individual. This is shown in many areas where racism is occurring in the movie. For example when the synagogue was attacked it was a sign that there was a group of individuals who did not like the idea of being a Jew.

Hofstede’s theory would look at these issues and why there were times when this racism was prevalent on an individual basis and there were times when it was based on a group basis or a group effort. Conclusion— In conclusion the movie, “Driving Miss Daisy” touched on a lot of cultural issues having to do with age and race. This movie is about a growing relationship between an elderly woman and her driver and their amazing bond that they have which helps them to each see and understand a number of things about themselves, their culture, their heritage, and the overall connection between a social group.


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