Culture as Social Legacy in Mirror for Man

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In Clyde Kluckhohn's Mirror for Man, he explains the differences and similarities among the world's peoples by stating two important ideas: 1) People are similar because they have the same biological equipment and undergo similar life experiences "such as birth, helplessness, illness, old age, and death," but, 2) people are culturally different because of the way they were brought up and they may live in a different environment created by human beings, and acquire a distinct social legacy from their own people. Kluckhohn suggests that where a person lives is one of the factors that determines one's culture. In China, people have a strong dislike for milk and milk products. In the United States, a person drinks milk from the time of birth because American society has made a pattern for its people; Americans make milk a integral part of their meals because they are told it's the only way to remain healthy and develop strong bones and to avoid disease such as osteoporosis, a disease brought on by the lack of calcium (which is found in milk). Therefore, the Chinese may not understand why Americans drink milk so often, and Americans may wonder why the Chinese do not know the health benefits of milk. Kluckhohn implies that there are cultural misunderstandings between different sets of people because they are not aware that "each specific culture constitutes a kind of blueprint of all life's activities." I do support Kluckhohn's theory that culture is determined by a person's environment and their "design for living." I have been raised in Los Angeles and I have friends of varying ethnic backgrounds, languages, birth places, and cultures. My best friend came from Korea nine years ago and has assimilated to the ways of American behavior. Yet, I do not understand why Sandy remains stoic when she has a serious problem or why her parents never display public affection to her or to themselves. I asked my mother if Sandy's behavior was strange and she replied "no" because she said Sandy is from Korea where she was brought up in a different environment, where her culture taught her ethical and moral values that differ from values taught in the United States. I came to realize that although Sandy will remain in the United States for the rest of her life, she may never "give up" her Korean values or her Korean upbringing.
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