Living between worlds
Most cultures differ in their beliefs and practices. If not well addressed, it would lead to difficult relationships in the working environment. Sometimes it’s not about two people from different cultures, but an individual who carries two different cultures. They are torn to where they should show their loyalty, and yet the two are quite significant in an individual's life (Diller, 2011). In this scenario, Sami is a young Arab-American Christian. It makes him a bicultural navy. He is torn between his loyalty to his white American comrades in the marines and his Arab roots.
Among other problems that Sami is likely to face is the existence of mutual distrust between Christians and Muslims which has widened their differences with time. Most of the conflicts that Sami might deal with are political tensions and divergent cultural views. Referring to Sami’s Arabic culture, it is important to note that Arabs have three sub-divisions that include the urban culture which is the Al- Hadar, the rural culture which is the Ar-Reef and the nomad culture being the Al-Badow. Important, most Arabs are conservatives and are very modest and their dress codes and customs vary from place to place and from nation to nation. For example, women are supposed to cover themselves completely in public. Some use Hijabs which only cover their hair, others use Burkabs that cover their entire body and others use niqabs to cover most of their faces. However, in western countries, both men and women dress in casual clothing.
In Sami’s setting as an American-Arab Christian, he is not restricted to any code of dressing. Most of the American Christians wear what they like and prefer but decency is highly motivated. As Such, Sami, just like any other Christian following the Christian doctrines will walk in the Christianity code of dressing and ethics which in several occasions contradicts the Islamism. As an American Christian, Sami has a choice on what churches to follow; a choice to belong to catholic or protestant Christian fellowship.
Another aspect in the life of Sami is cultural differences between the Arabs and the Americans. In regard to social matters, family is the most important value to Arabs. It is contrary to the Americans who place value only on immediate family. Family lineage and extended family are vital aspects in the Arabs cultural setting. Sami experiences enormous decision making challenges since the way of addressing issues in Islam and in Christianity vary greatly. To begin with, Islam first checks the effects of the decision they intend to make on their families. Several generations live together, where you find aged parents living with the adult children in the same house. It is very different in America as most houses only host the members of the nuclear family. Ones the children are all grown up; they leave and get their places. Most elderly people are then taken to elderly homes when they get to some age. All these are culture shocks that Sami is exposed to as an American-Arab Christian.
Privacy is a great value in the Arabic culture. Most people do not like talking of their personal life. Family issues are not supposed to be discussed with outsiders. On the other hand, Americans believe in talking out your problems just like they say, a problem shared is half solved. Sami may face such problems with his friends. He may decide not to tell them his problems or fail to share his life experiences with his friends. A misunderstanding may occur as they could think he is hiding some information from them.
There is a link between the ethnic identity and the wellbeing of an individual (Diller, 2011ss). Therefore, the bicultural marine is expected to have some effects from this situation he is in. Some people will discriminate against others based on color, race, tribe and other factors. Once it happens, an individual maybe not able to choose which culture he/she will associate themselves with.
The two cultures that make the individual may conflict in beliefs, practices and values. An individual may as well end up hating on one of their culture’s side for some reasons. They may hate the practices and beliefs of some culture. They should always try and connect with the two sides or otherwise they end up having and facing various difficulties.
Diller, Jerry V. Cultural Diversity: A Primer for the Human Services. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2011. Print.