After learning about culture in general in the past unit we learned specifically about American culture for this unit. There are many little actions that Americans take throughout a typical day that exemplify American culture.
In Kohl's The Values Americans Live By it explains the cultural values of America and compares them to values from other cultures around the world. Some of the big American cultural values are materialism and efficiency. These cultural values explained what things determine success within American culture. For a person who lives in America they are more likely to have a strong desire for things they can buy whereas other cultures deem spiritual things more important. An American would feel happier when they have lots of wealth to buy expensive products because they have been taught that buying things is important by American culture. I have noticed myself that I value efficiency very high. I am always trying to find the quickest way to finish work in school or projects I get at work. I know I am willing to take shortcuts if it means finishing the assignment faster. I know I think like this because all of American culture values efficiency and the more efficient you are the more things you can get done. Another thought process is the quicker you get work done the more time you get to enjoy other things or relax. I am always thinking how to be faster as an American, yet if I was in another culture I would think more idealistically and about the meaning of what I am doing not how to do it the fastest.
Other strong American cultural values, individualism and competition are highlighted in the video I Am which we watched in class this unit. In the video a Hollywood director has an injury and starts to realize how he is affected by American culture. The video goes over American culture and how he would like to change the problems that exist. People living in American culture are taught at young ages that being independent is strong and being dependent is weak. This leads to people working to only better themselves and not others around them. A person in America would prefer to work alone than to cooperate in a group. Another cultural value is competition. I know that at my school there is always a competition with other students over grades in similar classes. Always being compared to other students has made a difference in how I feel about a certain class. Some class I don't have bad grades, but I want them to be better because I know people who are doing better than me. Another big example of the competition is whenever I take a test or write a paper. The first thing I do in my class when we get the grade back is ask other people in my class what they got on the test or essay and compare myself to them.