This posting addresses one or more of the following questions:
a. Explore a time when you felt at odds with a cultural norm or norms. Keep in mind that a norm is a set of culturally ingrained principles of correct and incorrect behaviors. Think about this in the broadest sense. Some examples would be your family background, your religion, your race/ethnicity, your size and appearance, your social class (either the one you were born into or the one you currently occupy), your age, your job, your choice of an intimate partner, your politics, where you live (now or in the past), your cultural background, etc.
b. Explore a time when you perceived someone or some group as being outside or excluded from a dominant culture.
c. Consider when you have experienced yourself as being part of a dominant culture. What conditions or "rules" allowed you to be part of the norm?
d. Can you conceive of a time or a situation in which there were ever any "benefits" of being placed in the "cultural outsider" category? Explain.
As you prepare your paper, please allow some of my personal ideas and experiences to help. Since I am probably different from you in terms of culture and background, I offer some ideas to get you started. Once you write your own ideas, please send to us for editing and feedback:
You might recollect how you were "on the edges" of the cultural norm through my various examples:
a. As you first explore a time when you felt at odds with a cultural norm or norms, you might examine how many immigrants are treated unfairly because they do not meet and display cultural norms of the dominant culture. If you are an immigrant, you might recall a time when you encountered situations where you were a "cultural outsider." For example, because of your clothes or speech, you might want to cite how people mistreated you as an "Other" when you went to school, stores, and other public places.
You might note that a personal example came from my experience in Asia, Japan in particular. Japanese business culture does not typically approve of strong displays of public emotion. Since I am a very emotional person who laughs, cries, and shouts easily when excited, happy, or sad, I violated a cultural norm there many times ...
This posting overviews dimensions of Culture, Values, and Communication.