COM 263 Culture and Perception Paper – Rough Draft Paper
Culture & Perception Paper-Rough Draft
Each individual, on a conscious or subconscious level, categorizes individuals and groups into identities. Whether these identities are genuine varies from one individual to another based on one’s collective cultural knowledge. The knowledge comes mainly from three different areas: personal experience, mass media, and scholarly studies. Instead of understanding or considering the accurate depiction of an individual’s cultural identity, many people make assumptions about different cultures, leading to false representations and stereotypes common in the mass media (Zervas & Papadopoulos, 2019). The proliferation of modern technology and mass media in American has led to better communication and connection among various cultures, but this has also led to an increment in inaccurate representation, which may cause harm to a culture’s identity (Anagnostou, 2015). As such, this paper describes the cultural identity of Greek Americans and compares and contrasts the symbolic representation of this culture in the media channels and academic research. In its final section, the paper evaluates the role of mass media channels in intercultural communication, especially perception and interactions.
Cultural Identity of Greek Americans
A group of people’s unique and exceptional cultural identity displays itself through different aspects that include language, patterns of communication, values, and norms, language, religious activities, and architecture and art as well as relational roles and societal systems. Greek Americans are Americans whose full ancestry is Greek. Estimates show that Greek Americans are among the small racial minorities in the increasingly diverse American society. Over 1.4 million American s are of Greek descent. Many Greek Americans live in urban areas with the city of New York having the highest concentration, followed by Boston and Chicago.
The migration of Greeks from their home country into the U.S. started in after the Greek Revolution of 1821, and many survivors were brought here by American missionaries. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire and Turks had a significant influence on Greeks back home, leading to massive immigration to the U.S. The Immigration Act of 1921 and 1924 led to quota system and limited the number of Greek migrants to the U.S. Despite these limitations, more Greeks would come to the country as professionals and increase the population (Zervas & Papadopoulos, 2019). Today, few negative stereotypes exist and persist against the Greeks. While initially, they would want to assimilate and acculturate, many have opted to primary their cultural identity through symbolic representation as manifested in the communication, language, values and norms, and behavioral patterns.
Greek Americans share the American work ethic and desire for success. Greek Americans are considered as hardworking and family-focused ethnic minorities. They are also perceived to possess a “Zorba” or the spirit and love of life (Zervas, 2020). The Greek Americans value their traditions, including being members of the Greek Orthodox church as they build churches where they live for worship. Greek Americans have an assortment of traditional beliefs and customs as well as superstitions to ensure success and keep evil and misfortune away. Old ideas exist in some communities in the county (Anagnostou, 2015). For instance, belief in the “evil eye” is still robust and supports by the Greek Orthodox church. Many take precautions against the evil eye, including putting on garlic and making the sign of the cross behind the year of a child with soot or dirt.
Birth, marriage, and death constitute the primary essential sacramental services of the Greek Orthodox Church. These celebrations and observations are also characterized by particular Greek American customs and social traditions. Greek Americans may speak the English language fluently and love and speak the Greek language (Anagnostou, 2015). Greek is a conservative language and continues to retain its original integrity. Further, Greek Americans name their children after their grandparents, implying that the family plays a significant role in their development and social interactions. Cousins are like siblings and always the best friends. In many cases, Greek Americans do not allow their children to eat school food, as eating times are family moments of sharing. Greek American children attend the Greek school at the church despite the regular schools.
Greetings and other common expressions among the Greek Americans include saying no and yes, thank you and formal greetings (Valamontes, 2018). Greek orthodox follow the Christian traditions that involve observing and marking critical events of the Christian faith, like the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Greeks have the concept of philotimo or love of honor” that entails developing a sense of personal pride, honor, and obligation to family and community by knowing and following what is right and wrong. The concept of philotimo regulates and shapes an individual’s relationship as a member of both family and community since their acts and decisions affect the whole family and community. Therefore, Greek Americans believe in maintaining personal and family honor (Koinoglou, 2019). Greek Americans also have a strong attachment to the family as required by the church. The ideal family is still patriarchy, where the man as husband and father is a pivotal authority figure and the woman a wife and mother. Greek Americans value children, and many parents sacrifice to see that they accomplish their goals. Greeks adore weddings as part of life.
Comparing and Contrasting Symbolic Representations of Greek Americans
Media channels play a critical role in representing the symbolic features of a culture. In many instances, a group’s cultural traditions can be influenced positively or negatively based on the media representation of those involved. Research findings show the cultural variations that occur with time as a cultural group migrates may vary from familiar traditions. The portrayal of a group and its culture in a diverse society by media channels has significant effects on its overall well-being and development and the maintenance of their cultural identity (Koinoglou, 2019). In this case, the portrayal of Greek Americans by media channels, especially the U.S. media and academic research findings, has been consistent over time with few variations, if any.
Media channels portray Greek Americans as a highly dynamic community that believes in the American dream and success. The media displays Greek American culture as highly conservative and focused on keeping its cultural identity. However, Greek Americans continue to integrate and play a significant role in the success and development of their cultural diversity in the country. The media channels and research findings all agree that the integration of Greek Americans into the American culture is unique and cautious as the ethnic minority is more focused on maintaining their identity and aspiring to be part of the greater American society.
Both research findings and media channels display the symbolic representation of the Greek American culture as highly conservative, where the family remains a core aspect of all interactions. Family values and roles between men and women are spelled out among the Greek Americans. Women are regarded as the keepers of traditional events and folk customs like dances, songs, and important religious ceremonies like weddings and baptism.
Conversely, the media channels and research findings differ in the symbolic representation of women’s roles among Greek Americans. While the media channels display a new and changing part of the Greek American woman, research findings show the conflict that the Greek women born and raised in America face (Zervas, 2019). The conflict of conforming to the traditional view of their roles and the modern aspects leads to the difference in symbolic representation of the Greek American culture between research findings and media channels. Some of the modern aspects of the Greek American Women include the practices such as maintenance of the family values and intercultural activities. Some of the modern practices include participation in the political and activities and community organization to try and enhance the activities of the minority groups in the United States of America. Some of the aspects of the modern woman and their roles in the United States include facilitation of the community members to adhere to the cultural activities.
Again, the media channels advance that many Greek Americans are attaining better positions in American public circles, for instance, in politics (Valamontes, 2018). However, research findings do not demonstrate the increasing political opportunities for Greek Americans but the cultural conflicts between the ethnic majority and the minorities in the country. Studies show that while immigrant families initially transported many cultural and social traditions from various parts of Greece (Anagnostou, 2015). However, with time, these practices have changed to conform or align with the unique needs of Greeks in America. The transformation has resulted in an interesting Greek American mixture of customs, traditions, and rituals that comprise Greek culture, American culture, and the Greek Orthodox Church (Zervas, 2020). On its part, media has consistently shown by these symbolic representations may not reflect either of the Greek or American traditions but a new and unique cultural orientation among Greeks in America.
Role of Mass Media Channels in Intercultural Communication
Intercultural communication entails communication among representatives from diverse cultures where there is direct contact among people and indirect communication forms comprising language, speech, media, and electronic communication. Mass media entails a different way of media channels that have a broadened reach in society. These include television, radio, the Internet, and social networking sites. Mass media promotes intercultural communication by shaping the opinions and values of certain groups and cultures in society (Seyfi & Güven, 2016). For instance, The U.S. media shapes popular culture and even cultural stereotypes among minorities and majority races. Therefore, how one interacts with different minority and majority races in the country is influenced by what the mass media portrays and propagates against such societies.
How Greek Americans are affected by their Portrayals and the
Impacts on Intercultural Communication
Greek Americans are often affected by their portrayals. Their cultural perception makes them unique among other races. The cultural practices including religion and other cultural activities makes Greek Americans unique among the American races (Tzanelli, 2004). The speech, language customs, traditions, and rituals makes their interpretations more unique. As a result, their unique perceptions are shaped by the cultural and traditional values. Greek Americans are therefore affected by their portrayals. The Greek Americans portrayals enhances the intercultural communication. Given that they are assimilated by other races and tribes from different countries. The strong adherence to the traditions and family values attracts other people’s interest, making it easier to facilitate intercultural communication. There are many examples that could be used to shoe the Greek Americans portrayals and the intercultural consequences in communication processes. Television shows and movies are some of the examples that could be used to explain the Greek American portray in promoting and enhancing the intercultural activities (Tzanelli, 2004). From the information provided, the TV show, “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” provides an example of the intercultural portrayals of the Greek American communities.
The mass media also shapes how people communicate and interact based on cultural cues. The press also uses educational programs aired on cultural diversity and the need to respect those differences’ cultural values. Mass media affects intercultural perceptions and interactions (Shuter, 2017). Perceptions that people form are founded on what they view and stereotypes shared by the majority, as portrayed by the mass media. Perceptions develop into stereotypes, and many use them to influence how they interact with others. For instance, negative perceptions and stereotypes reduce interactions, whereas positive perceptions increase and embed interactions and positivity about specific cultures.
The cultural effects of migration and integration into a diverse society are based on cultural and ethnic groups’ sustenance of their cultural norms and values. Greek Americans are a distinct minority in the country with unique cultural values and standards founded on their history and their immigration to the U.S. As demonstrated, symbolic representations of culture differ in a diverse society, and many cultural minority groups find it challenging to maintain their cultural identity in a multicultural setting.
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