Q&A taken from a class discussion on Ethnic Studies at College of the Siskiyous.
Q: Given the chapter focus on both "Culture and Social Structure," what is meant by the Culture of Poverty? Which of the theories in particular do you dis/agree with and why?
A: The Culture of Poverty is defined as: A controversial viewpoint arguing that the disorganization and pathology of a lower-class culture are self-perpetuation through cultural transmission.
There is both an agreement and a disagreement. There is an agreement in that anyone immersed in a mentality and surrounded by it for long periods of time (especially at a young age) have nothing other than that Culture to believe in. Even when other cultures eventually appear it takes just as much time (sometimes) to undo what has been done. Let’s look at slavery … it was going on for thousands of years. However, let’s just look at American … there was hundreds of years of that mentality … this is not going to change overnight. People were taught that they would be taken care of if they did what they were told and then one day they were free from that whether they liked it or not (and some Slaves had good homes … not all slave owners were awful people). So now they are like displaced homemakers and this mentality takes time a lot of time for change and yet we already have a black President (this in itself is a miracle, a wonderful beautiful Miracle no matter what one believes about the politics of it … that we have crossed this kind of racial divide in such a short time can be in huge thanks to psychedelics and the discovery that we are all one, not race … One (actually less than one, but that is a whole other topic). That is the short of the agreement.
On the disagreement … that would be that nothing can hold one down; that is not meant to be held down. This means that things will move and shift and change and that no belief can ultimately hold anyone back forever. We are on the cusp of watching everything rise up. Eventually there will be no such thing as race. Culture will be explored by all not as *theirs* but as treasures, gifts … one will look at cultures and try them on … try them out … but will not own them … will not wear them as a protective wall from their neighbor but delight in the sharing of the discovery of each new one. As more and more are born without a distinct cultural heritage there will be more of an openness and willingness to not *own* where they were born, how they were raised, what the differences are … but will be born in an age of knowing at the core we are all the same … like the discovery when “Amazing Grace” was sung and the owner of the slave realized he was whipping himself through another. All will know at the core of them that it is the Sameness that looks out of the eyes … but the colors are seen differently because of the experiences of where one was born and how they were raised.
This will not happen overnight (though it could) but gradually and probably after a racial civil war, which at this point in time seems inevitable (though not necessary … truly not). So no one can actually be held down though it can be like a plant growing out of concrete to move out of the poverty (state of mind) they were raised in. Not believing what they are told about who they are, but knowing who they are at the Core will rise a different kind of people up. People that are not focused on the differences (though enjoy the beauty of them).
Lack of money does not create unhappiness as much as belief systems built up around lack of money. It takes very little to live in this world … yet if you don’t know that then you don’t see things that way. Schools could easily begin to teach their students how to be frugal … how to budget … how to buy bulk … soak beans and move away from expensive meat products … to not have everything brand new … to refurbish things … this is what showed up here for this one. If things are meant to happen they will all one need do is watch, wait and see. And begin in your own small way to not look for the differences in those you meet but what does not change (which is at the core of you: That which does not change or alter in any way), then shed that Light on those you come in contact with. Bring to each situation that which you would want to see.
Q: Explain the phenomenon of Cultural Diffusion and the differences between Convergent and Persistent Subcultures and provide your own examples of them in American society.
A: Cultural Diffusion is defined as the spread of ideas, inventions, and practices from one culture to another.
The answer to question 1 is the beginning of a Cultural Diffusion … it is spreading an idea to the many cultures of this classroom and that it will be received however it is received … yet it has now been heard and ingrained into the psyche and will do its natural work. This is a fantastic phenomenon, which appeared for this one, who now has the ability to pass this on to you. :o)
Convergent Subcultures is defined as a subgroup gradually becoming integrated into the dominant culture.
This is being seen and experienced by this one right now. It seems that there is not always a welcome reception for the idea of one giving up the beliefs in their race, who they *think* they are and where they come from. People tend to wear their beliefs like a blanket to protect them from what they fear the most (which is that they don’t know who they are, which they don’t, but only *think* they do because they have been taught they are their name, race, land, religion … but all this came much after their birth … they were not born with it … it was learned … so it is not who they are … who one is cannot be learned, only discovered). Eventually as one investigates that all the things they have been fed are good stories, but not the truth of them … then all those things will be held less tightly and more of their True Self will begin to appear. It is actually the dropping of knowledge that leads to True Wisdom. Nothing wrong with knowledge just usually most have the carriage before the horse.
Persistent Subcultures is defined as a subgroup adhering to its own way of life and resisting absorption into the dominant culture.
It is like watching soup being made … America has been called the “melting pot” but this is going on around the world now … there is nothing wrong with the cultures … any of them … there is enough culture for everyone to get whatever they want (and do) however … we are all in the one pot … and the stove is on and as we all cook together we get to see what comes out. So far things are going well … it might not seem that way because some spices (cultures) don’t seem to taste as good together as others but as the right amount of everything falls into place some flavors will dominate over others … that is just the way it is with soup and with people, but the best soup is made with love and as we don’t fight so hard to be a flavor that doesn’t make for good soup and we become a different kind of flavor that becomes more tasteful then the result is a good meal and all can eat well.
“Life is made up of two things . . . Soup and Information and both get better as you rise up." ~Dave Chappelle