One of my favorite ways to teach culture is with this diagram:
What is particularly intriguing to me is how it shows how culture can grow more stressful when you get past the ‘fun parts’ like food, dancing, and dress. In intercultural relationships, simply talking about some of the rules guiding the unspoken and unconscious rules of culture brings a new level of awareness in understanding how to relate to one another. When I use this in my classes with predominately white students, it always fascinates them to realize how differences in culture run deep even in their own families. These conversations often begin like this:
“In my dad’s family, it’s like this, but my mom’s family is completely different.”
And then they start to chuckle and it dawns on them that they, too, come from a diverse family culture and begin to identify with how might foreigners feel navigating a new land. I have all sorts of stories about how the deeper layers of culture play out – some funny, some sobering – that I may share more about as time goes on. In the meantime, do any of these strike a chord for you? What unspoken or unconscious cultural rules have caused more intense emotional loads in your life?