Refelction on Cynthia Hartman's Post:
The author started the post by sharing her experience living in two different communities that were very different culturaly. Moving from a very tight knit community in St. Louis, MO to and very seemingly anti-social community of Chicago IL. In MO, everyone looked out for each other as neighbors, parents and friends. They took great interest in boding as a community, making efforts to attend PTA meetings, arrange carpooling, and lending a helping hand if someone within the community fell ill or passes away. Upon mobing to Chicago, she experienced the exact opposite. No one really wanted to make any effort to even get to know each other, so of course the sense of belonging was absent. Over the course of five years, she only met a handful of her neighbors. There was no integration within the community nor was there any sharred emotional connection, key elements in having a sense of community.
I can definitely relate to Cynthia's experience in moving to a different city, with a completely different culture. However, my experience was the opposite of what she experienced. I moved from a fairly large apartment community in Orlando FL. We did attentend birthday parties and have sleep overs with friends living near by. However, there was still a fairly strong sense of individual households, rather than community. We attended great schools, got good grades, and were very well spoken, as the was the culture of our household. When I was eight years old, me and my brother moved from Orlando to South Carolina where the culture was totoally different. Every knew each other and looked out for each other. You never needed an invite to anyones house...you just showed up and that was acceptable. Walking by someone you make eye contact with (even if you don't know who they are) without saying hello was considered very disrespectful. Walking down a country road one day with my father, I noticed that every care that passed by would blow their horn and he would wave in return. I was amazed that he knew so many people. Then he explained to me that he didn't know them all...just being neighborly and saying hello. This was very strange to me. But in the end, I think it was great for me to move to a community like the one in South Carolina. I believe it made a better person and better prepared me for life on my own.
Cultural context plays a huge role in both of our experiences. Individuals are often a product of their surroundings. Close knit communites and anti-social communites produce different kinds of people. The crime rate in Chicago is very high, and as a result people may tend to be more defensive and more protective of themselves and their home. In St. Louis, they may not have the need to be as protective, making them more open to let people get close to one another and be involved in each others lives. There takes adjusting to survive in a new community culture. In the cultural diversity video "Tips To Communicating with cultural Awarenes," stated that we should be aware of eachothers differences and respect them. This proves to be quite challenging, but it can be done. If she had moved into a differnt cultural context, such as her movign from IL to SC, there would still be some adjusting to be made, but probably no problem with having a sense of belonging.
Psychology Sense of Community, 1986
Cultural Diversity- Tips to Communicating with Cultural Awareness