Three Myths About Culture

  1. It is about race. No, race is a subculture and social construct used by scientists to classify groups. There are no identified racial genes!
  2. It is static. We belong to many cultures because as we grow physically and mentally, our culture change. At each stage of development, we are a mixture of different personas: family and friends, community, organizations (school, church, and work), and societal experiences. Each of us is multi-cultural.
  3. I have no culture. That is the biggest misconception of all. Everyone has a culture! We are inherently multi-cultural. It is the lack of social capital, the exclusion, and the inequities leading to disparities in education, health and economic opportunities that are not only wrong but also detrimental to creativity and innovation.

So, what is culture? It is not genetic; we are not born with it. We acquire a good portion of it during the early childhood years by modeling our surroundings.

Let’s do an exercise.   Think of five things that define you right now.

  1. I am Jamaican…although; most would say I am Jah-American.
  2. I am a mother.
  3. I am passionate about social issues.
  4. I am a Black woman.
  5. I am a retired physician. 

Each of the above has their own culture. Last year, I was a student. Eight years ago, I would have said I was in love. I could easily have included my hobbies and interests, which are always changing (I am curious). All of the above and more, define culture which determines one’s identity, views, and decisions.

Culture is who you are as an individual, a family, a community, an organization and a society.  You decide your culture.