Culture can be defined as a set of learned beliefs, values, norms and materials goods shared by group people. It includes everything that an individual adopts from a group in the process of living from infancy to old age. In the U. S and anywhere in the world, culture guides the social interactions between members of a society and influences the personal beliefs and values that shape an individual perception of their own environment (William E. T and Joseph H. 2005). Generally, cultural variations in many societies are as a result of class, ancestral, and religion disparities.
William kufuor a middle aged man from the neighborhood but who subscribes to different cultural from most of the inhabitants of Miami was selected for an interview. He was supposed to reveal his beliefs values and norms concerning many situations in the U. S. The selected person is 35 years of age and his parents are immigrants from western Africa who migrated to the U. S in the early 1950’s and settled in Miami. He is a married man and works as an assistance professor in Chicago state university. His spouse is from Hispanic community who are also not Native Americans.
The couple is blessed with two beautiful children aged between 5 years and 8 years. Although William was born and brought up in the U. S, he seems to incline so much towards African culture than the American culture. Kufuor as he is well known confesses to be a Christian and goes to church every Sunday together with his wife and children. His beliefs are that there exists a supreme creature called God who created all of us that and who is provider of everything. William seems to be very concern about body contact and personal space between him and other people especially those of the opposite sex.
During the interview session he did keep a distance between me and him and whenever I tried to move closer he looked so much surprised. William like most American keeps an open space in between himself and his conversation partner. When offering greetings, Kufuor makes sure that there is minimal body contact and is most of the time he is very comfortable with a simple handshake as opposed to a hug or a kiss unless one is a very close relative and who is of the same sex except his wife only. This was evidenced when he moved away and offered a offered a handshake instead when a tried to hug him.
William was believed to be one of the alienated African American, who may have discarded their ancestral beliefs and replaced them with the American beliefs. This was because he was born in America, grew, schooled and associated with Native Americans but after the interviews, it was against the expectations of the researcher since, he behaved like a typical African in his own country of origin. However, at home with his family the most used language was English, which was well spoken, written and conversed by all family members although William spoke fluent French.
William said that it was because his wife was from a different culture which was Hispanic and that she was only fluent in English made them use English as the only language at home. William kufuor also takes the father and husband role and provides for everything to the family members, this did not mean that the wife did not contribute towards the family income. At home however unlike many Africans, William could cook for the family and perform many household chores that demanded his attention but mostly it was the wife who performed those household chores.
When asked why he was liberal on issue concerning household chores since most people of the African culture believed that the kitchen was a place meant for women, William admitted that it was the country’s social structure that had influenced his way of doing things. He confessed that he had been influenced by his educational attainment, income and occupation. Thompson W. E and Joseph V. H (2005), Adams, J. Q. ; Pearlie S. A (2001) agree with Kufuor that it is not possible to understand people’s behaviour without assessing their social class since the social position possesses a great influence on almost all our feelings.
They further agree that one’s religious beliefs are influenced by the social class, political affiliation, the foods he/she eats, clothes worn and associations. Kufuor beliefs that most of the diseases that are taking the lives of many in the world today are lifestyle related and are only avoided by behavioral change. He argues that the communicable and non communicable diseases are mainly as a result of unhealthy eating behaviors. However, the African culture upholds traditional medicines and concoctions which they belief are effective in the treatment of ailments than the modern medicine provided in hospitals.
But kufuor admitted that he had deviated from those beliefs because of the education and exposure that he had acquired. The health care workers especially the nurses should treat people of this culture with a lot of love and care as well as emphasize with them so that they can change their perception towards healthcare facilities, since also these people prefer their indigenous foods as delicacies the nurses should provide them with the same but encourage them to diversify their intake so as to reduce the chances of getting deficiencies of some nutrients.
The entire interview was lively since we communicated and understood each other very well using the American English. But however some necessary information was not revealed by interviewee this may be because he was not prepared well during the introduction so as to create a rapport end be able extract as much information as possible from the interviewee. Kufuor beliefs that most of the diseases that are causing havoc in the world today are as a result of what we eat, drink and think. He therefore argues that their solution not only lies in medication provided in the hospital but also in behavioral change among the affected.
This involves minding what one eats and how he/she relates with the surrounding communities. Similary,kufuor feels that the hospital staff should also take a leading role in advising their clients both in-patient and out-patient about prevention measures of the common ailments. Reference: Thompson, William, Joseph hickey (2005). Society in focus. The culture of United States. Boston, M. A Pearson Adams, J. Q. ; Pearlie strother – Adams (2001): Dealing with diversity Chicago, LL Kendall/hunt publishing company.