“Symbolic very diverse. Symbolic interaction allows us to

“Symbolic interactionism has always
maintained an intimate stance towards the everyday life world, and its
concerns, and languages.” (Kotarbo, 2014) As a young girl growing up in a mixed
household, symbolic function has sure affected me daily. Both sides of my
family are very diverse. Symbolic interaction allows us to understand contract
how the social order and social change are shaped.

Symbolic
function has affected by my ethnicity in many ways. On my paternal side, my
father is 50% white and 50% Samoan. His mother being full Samoan and his father
being full white. My father mainly grew up around his Samoan side of the
family. His father came from a small family and wasn’t into their culture that
much. His mother came from a huge family. She was very proud of her culture and
embraced it. She made sure her own family knew their culture. On my maternal
side, my mother is 100% Mexican which means her both parents are full as well.
My mother is third generation Mexican-American. This side of my family has not
had ties with Mexico since about the early 1900s. My grandmother and
great-grandmother never cared to carry on and embrace their Hispanic culture. My
mother was raised the same way. Half of my life, I lived in a Mexican
neighborhood and grew up with Hispanics. I have best friends who are full
Mexican and can speak/understand Spanish. Being around them, I have felt out of
place. It never bothered me until I started to get older. I have attended their
family parties, church events, etc. and they embrace their Hispanic culture. It
has hit me that I am 50% Mexican and I know nothing about my culture. I should
know. Strangers will ask me “You’re Mexican but you don’t know Spanish?” all
the time. “Other indicators of cultural retention-use of Spanish names for
children, traditional gender attitudes, listening to traditional music, and
celebrating traditional holidays-also declined from immigrant to the fourth
generation. (Telles and Ortiz, 2008) I wasn’t raised to know any traditions. I
come from a family where they are uninterested to know little things of their
culture. My father had mentioned growing up with kids around his age at the time,
he was never accepted to hangout with any of them. He was never accepted
because he wasn’t full Samoan. I feel I can relate because although I am mostly
Mexican, I feel that I am not accepted in ways. It has made me uncomfortable. Although
I am unfamiliar with it all, I am respectful towards it all.

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Symbolic
interaction has affected me through work. I work at Buford Elementary School
located in Lennox, California. According to the California Deportment of
Education Lennox, California has a percent of 88.3% students who are Hispanic
or Latino. Also 43% of students are English learners. There are times when
parents/guardians would like to communicate with me and we can’t. I can’t
communicate because I can’t speak nor understand Spanish. I will have to ask one
of co-workers if they can interpret. I can’t have a one and one social
interaction with Spanish-speaking parents/guardians. With me being around their
child for half of the day, I want to be able to small talk and tell them how
their child was doing, if their was any trouble, etc. Symbolic interactionism
sees face-to-face interactionism as the mold of everything in society in
general. Through interactionism that’s when we create meaningful social
reality. Some students will have Spanish homework along with their English. I
can only help them English. It’s a big disadvantage of not speaking Spanish. I
shouldn’t blame my family members for not teaching me how to speak/understand
Spanish. I should change that and try to learn for myself. Learning Spanish would
be very beneficial to me in ways.

Symbolic
interactionism has affected me through my gender. Gender refers to the
physical, behavioral, and personality traits that a group considers to be
normal, right, and good for its male and female members. (Ferris and Stein,
2016) Gender roles can be carried traditionally and personally. Women in my
family are traditionally socialized. Gender roles are taught from at a young
age and continue into adulthood. For example, my paternal grandmother would
always expect me to have a role to doing chores, since I was a girl growing up.
I would be expected to take over to clean the dishes if she seen one of my
brothers or dad doing it. My grandmother saw men as having the power and
privilege over all. She believed that men went to work to finically support the
family and the women would take care of the rest of the responsibilities. Traditionally
she grew up to knowing that, so she carried that on to her sons. I believe it
had to with culture values. She had no daughters, just three sons. She made her
sons have responsibilities such as to clean. When they had wives of their own,
her sons didn’t have to take on that responsibility that they were taught. When
it came to her granddaughters she expected them to clean up after men, cook, do
laundry, etc. But at the same time take care of the children. There was no
50/50 of spouses working together. I would often times get upset that my
grandmother would expect me to wash dishes for my brothers and they wouldn’t
have to do anything. Boys and girls are obviously treated differently. This
takes away from a woman being able to have freedom. If a man didn’t agree on
something then you were still supposed to listen to him. Women are treated less
by society. It is a similar situation with my maternal grandmother, when she was
got married to my grandfather, her father-in-law basically gave her rules to
follow. She wasn’t able to look outside, she couldn’t wear pants, she was
expected to clean, cook, etc. for my grandfather. My grandmother said she was
in disbelief that they followed by that. The same great grandfather who gave my
grandmother rules, gave his wife rules also. I didn’t get to meet her but I
heard from stories that she was very quiet and meek. Her husband gave her a
list of rules to follow. She followed by them and didn’t question his
authority. She was afraid of him. She hardly went outside and hardly spoke.
Although, my grandmother was shocked by those rules she still followed by them.
She thought as a wife those are responsibilities you have to follow in order to
make the family dynamic successful. As years went on she stopped listening to
what people have told her to do. Growing up she has given me small on talks on
not letting anyone control me. It has affected me because I’ve seen men control
women in my family. With gender inequality problems on both sides of my family
it has affected me to have an expectation to follow the same rules. I am
respectful to my elders but I will not follow those gender roles. Gender roles
can also emotionally hurt people. I’ve seen women and men in my emotionally
drained. Once someone is controlling you it’s hard to break that habit from
keep continuing. You feel used when anyone is controlling your life by telling
you what you can and can’t do. I’ve seen men guilt trip woman when they try to
do something for themselves, when they have a break from children and
responsibilities. They think you’re selfish for doing anything else but taking
care of the family. When I have a family, I will be able to change the roles. I
believe everyone should be treated equally even despite your gender. All
depends how you were raised. “Parents began socializing children at birth.” (Ferris
and Stein, 2016) It’s your choice if you want to change it or continue what you
were taught. I believe gender roles today are different. Most women and men are
not afraid to speak about their differences. The women’s movement is social
change of achievement of sexual equality in many ways. Now that it is 2018, I
don’t see gender stereotypes that often. Things are happening that weren’t
happening years ago. For example, women can vote, women can be able to be the
financial supporter of the family, men are taking care of their children, there
are unisex clothes, boys play with Barbie dolls, girls play trucks, boys and
girls are able to have the same interest, etc.In
conclusion, Symbolic interaction allows us to understand contract how the
social order and social change are shaped. Social interactionism has affected
my life through ethnicity, my job, and gender. It has all shaped to who I am
today. I can learn through these traditions and barriers. It has all taught me
to be a better person and to treat others equally. 

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