“English Only” Laws & Service Learning Update

“English Only” Laws

Diversity and inclusion is vital to the American experiment.  Having an official language for an area is important.  I have been to several cities all across the the United States.  From what I have observed, the way that our country currently approaches language is pretty good.  I lived in an area in California for a while where the signs were both in English and Mandarin.   In areas where there is a high concentration of ESL folks or people who prefer to speak a language other than English it is appropriate for signs to be bilingual.  It is important, however to have an official language as well.   Some regions of the U.S. have attempted to pass “anti-bilingual” laws.  It is ignorant to expect all people to only speak the official language of a region, or even speak it at all.   When it comes to operating a business it is important to have signs or employees that are in/speak the language of the region.


Service Learning

I have not started my service learning yet.  I was hoping to talk to a couple of the folks in the class and jump in on one of the ideas that have been presented discussed. I really like Ella’s idea of self image boosting.  I hope to either work with her or do something similar.

Chapters 3 & 4

In chapter 3 we learn about cognitive complexity and knowledge.  This is a huge part of my life.  I often time feel like I am hyper-aware of how I am being perceived.  In chapter 3 we learn that it is just as important to understand how our strengths and weaknesses are perceived as it is to understand those same strengths and weaknesses in the first place.  When I communicate with people who may be from a different culture, I try to pay attention to how my lack of knowledge about them might affect our communication.  Sometimes I feel like I try too hard and the other person might feel like I am patronizing them.  I see this a lot in other people too.  One of my best friends is from Utah and a recently out gay man.  It is interesting to me that when we are hanging out and we meet new people together, almost the instant the new person finds out my friend is gay they try to “casually” work into the conversation someone they know that is gay.  My friend is nice and polite to the individuals, but when we are alone we sort of laugh together at the fact that that person wanted so badly to be perceived as an ally that they try to “gay drop” (a term my friend uses) a friend into the conversation.


In Chapter 4 the main thing that I kept thinking about was the lens through which I view the world.  I know that my experiences have shaped the way at which I perceive the things happening around me.  For example, If I had no idea what sporting events where.  If all I had ever seen in my life was hunting, war, and survival, watching a game of rugby would be super confusing.  If I had no concept of recreation, and I happened to see a giant man go sprinting full tilt and tackle another man, I would think that they were in some sort of battle to the death.  Since my lens includes experiences I have had cues such as uniforms, the ball, the pitch on which they were playing, and the crowd tell me that they are there to have fun and compete.  

I was unable to attend class on the day we watched Babakiueria.  I watched it online and thought it was a funny, but telling satire on some of the documentaries I have seen in the past.  It helps me, as a white, middle-class, male understand to some degree what some minorities might feel like.  I have always thought of myself as educated and inclusive, but I know I am naive in many places as well.  It is interesting to look at “my culture” through a different lens.   Many of the things that we think of as “normal” could be completely bizarre to an outsider.

Me, Myself, and Chapters 1&2


My name is Eric Erickson.  I am a 25 year old husband, outdoor enthusiast, concertgoer, conversationalist, Mormon,h specialized interest in backpacking, mountain biking, snowboarding, fishing, and rock climbing.  I try to care for our environment as much as possible and I believe that a life outdoors is a life well lived.   I grew up here in the Wasatch Mountains.   I currently work for Recreation Equipment Incorporated (REI) where I help outfit, educate, and inspire people to play in and respect our public lands. 

All my life I have enjoyed meeting new people with different sets of beliefs and values.  I am excited by the opportunity to take this class and learn more about different types of people and cultures.

Chapter 1:

Chapter 1 has some interesting insights pertaining to self assessment.  It is important to understand my own cultural characteristics in order to understand others.  If I can recognize some generalizations or stereotypes that others might have regarding me, then I might think twice before making assumptions about other people and their beliefs.  It is just as important to understand the false things people might believe about me as it is to understand the true things.   One of my favorite phrases I’ve heard is, “facts are facts, but perception is reality.”  What this means to me is that something might be one way, but if I perceive it another way that is my reality until my perception is changed.  In a cultural application, if I assume one thing about another person, in my mind that person has that characteristic until I perceive a different thing.  It is so important for us to seek knowledge before making assumptions.

Chapter 2:
 The main thing that stuck out to me in chapter 2 is how different cultures view man’s relationship with nature.  Growing up in Utah I was taught to respect the land and leave places the same or better than I found them.  In the majority of mainstream Western Culture, it is believed that nature is dominated by man and we are to control and use the land.  I had the opportunity to grow up with some very close friends from the Navajo Nation.  I love the way that they respect Mother Earth.  It is important to understand their relationship with nature when communicating with them as to not offend them and close off further communication.