Saba Safdar’s TedTalk Video Analysis Communications Response Paper Watch this video and then respond to the following prompts:
Prompts (please respond writing a min. of 500 words in total):
(1) What are your overall thoughts of Saba Safdar’s TED Talk?
(2) Where do your views of culture come from? How do you know this? Think honestly and deeply about this question.
(3) What are a few of the reasons why foreigners view the culture of the United States differently than those born and raised within the United States?
For these next two questions, you will need to conduct additional research to find the answers. Be sure to cite your sources (include these references at the end of the document ).
(4) What does individualism vs. collectivism mean? And, where does the United States rank on this cultural dimension?
(5) What are the pros and cons of individualism for the culture of the United States?
Once you have responded to the prompts above, write a 4 sentence response to each of the students in the attachment. So 5 in total. See attachment 1) Andrea Flores
1. If I am being completely honest, Saba Safdar’s TED Talk was very hard to understand for
me because of her strong accent. I was also thrown off by the title, I thought she would talk
about different cultures more but she focused on humor and touched based on cultural
communication and interpretation but not much on culture itself. I really tried listening and
depicting what she was saying but it was tough. If I am being honest, again, one of the worst
Ted Talk’s I have ever watched, I didn’t enjoy it. Overall, I think she tried explaining how
humor can be interpreted in different cultures, for example, in individualist and collectivist
ones, and from the beginning I appreciate her saying that we were obviously not going to
learn everything there is to learn about culture.
2. My views of culture come from my family. My entire family is from Central America, El
Salvador. I know this because growing up there was certain things that were okay with my
friends parents but not mine. For example, I was never allowed to sleepover a friend’s
house, paint my nails, dye my hair, or wear makeup until I turned 17. Aka, not until I
graduated highschool. For my friends, it was weird that my parents were this strict. I was
also raised to have respect for everyone, to greet everyone in the room, say “please” and
“thank you” as often as needed, clean up after myself everywhere I go, and more. I know this
is a cultural thing because a lot of my friends who didn’t come from Hispanic families didn’t
feel the moral obligation to do all the things I was raised to do.
3. Piggybacking off my last statement, foreigners view the US differently from those born
here because they are raised with different manners. I saw it more when I was younger than
I do now, but a lot of people weren’t used to having manners as simple as saying “please”
and “thank you.” Other countries are also a lot more conservative than the US. For example,
gay marriage isn’t a thing nationwide, exposing body parts is frowned upon, multi-colored
hair, and so on. Some countries, even though they know this is the land of opportunities,
laugh at us, for being “too sensitive,” “too easy-going,” and so on.
4. “There are two basic ways of understanding the relationship between individuals in a
group. The first way is individualism, which states that each individual is acting on his or
her own, making their own choices, and to the extent they interact with the rest of the
group, it’s as individuals. Collectivism is the second way, and it views the group as the
primary entity, with the individuals lost along the way.” Collectivism, based on this
definition itself, implies that no individual has their own identity. I, as most people,
acknowledge that the US is strongly based on individualism. We are encouraged to work,
study, learn for our own good, but at the same time, we understand the importance of
working with others, just not sacrificing ourselves for others; which makes sense in a
5. The pros are that we can think and depend on ourselves for our success. The cons are that
we can sometimes feel like we think we can solve everything ourselves too… When in reality,
we need someone, whether it is our family, our friends, or a significant other, we need
someone to push us through, and for many, that’s a hard pill to swallow.
2) Mahreejo Resolme
1) After listening to Saba Safdar’s TED Talk, I can agree with her that the way we
communicate does vary depending on our culture and our exposure to socialization. I
did take a class in prior semesters that discussed about how culture affects the way
one communicates. I do admire the way she put a focus between humor and insults,
which she continues to relate it to culture and communication. She showed the
audience a short clip of a news reporter attempting to make a joke to Dalai Lama. I
find it interesting that the context in a joke or an insult can easily be lost if the receiver
of the message isn’t from a similar culture as the sender. If I ever visit a foreign
country in the future, I may need to think twice before making a joke.
2) My views of culture may have first came directly from my parents. My parents’ teachings, values,
and standards were most likely the first exposure that I experience that may have shaped how I think.
I consider my parents to be my first agents of socialization, which creates a sense culture of how I
believe things function in society. Later in life, I would say that my views of culture may have
expanded due to school, peer groups, and media. Because my parents raised me with a strong filter in
Filipino-American culture while growing up, I unconsciously do actions that resonates to what I was
taught when I was young. Furthermore, when I am with my friends or meeting someone new at
school, I don’t feel out of place when i’m talking to them. In other words, I was indirectly taught by
my environment and its norms of how to interact with people who have a similar culture to me.
3) Every country or region have different cultures than others. There’s a significant amount of
reasons why one culture would view another culture differently. The way a group of people think or
do certain actions may be due to history, economy, styles of communication, and/or differences in
Hofstede’s cultural dimension model. Hofstede’s cultural dimension model includes power distance,
individualistic versus collectivistic, masculinity versus femininity, uncertainty avoidance, time
orientation, and indulgence versus restraint. People who were born or raised in the United States
gathered a sense of culture that other Americans can relate to, unlike foreigners who weren’t raised
or born in the US. In addition, the way a person was taught may be entirely different to another
culture. These differences have a significant impact to an individual’s view to another culture.
Overall, culture is a way of life for a group of people who live in a related community. Foreigners
may not see the United States’ culture eye-to-eye because they can’t relate to its customs or norms.
(4) According to Intercultural Communication in Context, the authors notes that individualism
emphasizes on the individual or self while collectivism focuses on a group or community oriental
mindset (108-109). For instance, individualism are able to make decisions for themselves, while
collectivism may need to consult or consider their associated group to the decision (Hofstede:
Individualism/Collectivism). I was taught in previous classes that the United States has a high
association to an individualistic culture.
(5) The Pros of individualism in the United States is that a person is able to work harder, in order
to gain achievements and rewards. For instance, many employers in the United States would
make sure that the potential job candidate possesses certain qualifications of education and skill
in order to acquire the position. Employers would lean more on merit instead of noticing that the
candidate has connections within the company. In addition, individualism means that a person is
able to have a private life, as a opposed to traits in a collectivistic culture. The cons to
individualism is that there’s a possibility of having a smaller social support network and possibly
lower emotional competence (Scott, et, al. 2004). Since individualistic cultures rely on oneself,
people from this culture may not always seek for family and friends for help (Scott, et. al, 2004).
This motivation may lead to a person having difficulty managing one’s emotional level (Scott, et.
3) Alondra Prado
1. My overall thought about the TED Talk video by Saba Safdar is that words mean different
things in each cultural. This is something that we have experienced in my own cultural
where some jokes in Spanish may not translate well in English. Some things that we find
funny or offensive may not translate the same in other cultures. So we have to be careful
about what we find funny when surrounded by others in different cultures. 2. My views of
culture come from my Mexican family and my American culture comes from what I was
taught throughout school. Growing up in a first generation Mexican home there were many
traditions that my parents held tight that would not be as important in American culture.
There were lots of clashes as we grew up because their understanding of what life was
suppose to be was different in America. We growing up did not have the same limitations as
they did when they migrated here. 3. I feel that people look at the US as the American dream
where there are endless possibilities. They also may think about Americans as people that
take freedom for granted. Those born outside of the US seem to be more appreciative of
what the opportunities that come with being here because they know what it is like not to
have them. 4. According to The Objective Standard’s article called Individualism vs
Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice states the difference between individualism and
collectivism is that one is focused on the self and their own interest rather than that of the
group that they’re apart of. Individualism is center on self. The article continues to state that
in a collectivist society the self is fiction. According to this definition, the United States
would be heavily individualistic society. 5. Some pros to being in an individualism culture is
that freedom to do what you want for you. You are able to be more independent and not
necessarily worry about others besides yourself. The cons are that many people may feel
alone. There is no sense of community or support system.
4) Alison Yang
discussion board 4
(1)Overall, I found the TED Talk to be both informative and entertaining. I really
appreciated how she was able to keep her speech insightful while still cracking jokes.
The part where she notes that although a joke here might be funny to us, it could be
quite offensive to some people of other cultures. Her talk helped me better understand
the difference between collectivistic and individualistic cultures.
(2)I think that my views of culture come from a lot of different aspects throughout my
life. I think the biggest influence on my perception of culture comes from my family and
the way I was raised because ultimately, my parents and family members are the ones
who raised me and first taught me about culture. Another influence on my views of
culture comes from where I lived. I grew up in New Jersey, where the culture is surely
very different from that in Texas, for example, or a different country. Where I grew up
specifically, there were a lot of Italian influences so I think that helped me perceive
Italian culture. Having friends of different cultures is another place where my views of
culture come from because I have friends of different cultures that surround me
everyday. I know this because perceptions of culture aren’t something that is innate and
it doesn’t just come from one place.
(3)I think that a main reason why foreigners view culture in the united states as being
different than those born and raised in the unites states is because they haven’t had the
experience of it. Every country’s culture is different and it is hard to get a grasp of a
culture you haven’t experienced or immersed yourself in. The United States is very
unique from other cultures in the sense that we have a lot of freedom, which is
something that a lot of cultures cannot relate to. For those born and raised in the United
States, they are so used to the way things work that they don’t think twice about it. From
an outsider’s perspective, it can be hard to understand the way things work.
(4)According to an article published on psychologicalscience.org, individualist cultures “tend to conceive of
people as self-directed and autonomous, and they tend to prioritize independence and uniqueness as cultural values”
(Luo). Collectivist cultures, on the other hand, see connections of people ad being part of a more ambiguous social
context, meaning that they emphasize familial relationships, social conformity and interdependence.
(5) The pros of individualism for culture in the United States are that people tend to
focus on themselves, and they prioritize their own personal goals and achievements.
Individualistic cultures focus on the personal happiness of its members. On the opposite
side, there are some significant disadvantages. For example, in a culture where
everyone is so focused on themselves, it can lead people to be too selfish and unwilling
to contribute to the group for the benefit of the culture as a whole. This can lead to a
lack of support or even mental health issues.
Luo, Dehong. “Individualistic Practices and Values Increasing Around the
World.” Association for Psychological
5) Beck Svensson
Week 6 Discussion
I enjoyed Saba Safdar’s TED Talk. I think her cultural experience due to being both Canadian and Iranian gives her
an incredible perspective on how different cultures operate. In particular, I really liked her analysis of American
culture as individualistic as opposed to collectivist cultures around the world. I agree with her that our history as a
country plays a large role in defining how we operate culturally in the present. Lastly, I appreciated her comments
on jokes across cultures.
My views on culture come from my upbringing as well as my experiences. As the kid in a Swedish-American family
where half my family lives in Europe, I was raised with a very open perspective on the world. I have been able to
learn what it is like to be exposed to multiple cultures and, thus, have never understood why people will attack
others for being from a different place. My experiences have also allowed me to learn a lot about culture.
Specifically, my time at SDSU and traveling abroad has given me the most insight into cultural understanding
because of the opportunity to speak with and ask questions about cultures I am not familiar with.
I do not have a total understanding to answer this but I would suggest that America as a core capitalist nation has a
lot to do with our unique culture. Due to the dog-eat-dog mentality of our economic engine, I believe we are inclined
to live individualistic lives as opposed to collectivist. Additionally, as America is a country of immigrants, I believe
that we are unique in the fact that we have so many different cultures within our borders. When you compare the
cultural demographics of the United States to more homogenous nations such as those in Scandinavia or the
Netherlands, it would make sense that our culture is foreign to them.
According to Harry Triandis, “In collectivist cultures this detachment is minimal; people think of themselves as
parts of their collectives and in most situations subordinate their personal goals to those of their collectives. People s
social behavior is a consequence of norms, duties, and obligations” (Triandis xiii). In individualistic cultures,
however, “people are more detached from their collectives. They feel autonomous, and their social behavior
maximizes enjoyment and depends on interpersonal contracts. If the goals of the collective do not match their
personal goals, they think it is “obvious” that their personal goals have precedence” (xiii). The United States would
be considered individualistic because of the idea that one’s personal goals drive their priorities and define the life
that they live.
There are many pros and cons to the individualistic emphasis on American culture. Successful American’s are often
affluent and thrive socially as they network with other, likeminded, individuals. While everyone is pursuing their
own goals, they will often group together in pursuit of their personal agenda. I would say the major con to this
culture is the lack of unity within the United States and our personal lives. There are many instances where people
lose friends due to a change in goals or a better opportunity. This, I believe, is much less common in a collectivist
society where healthy relationships are needed for the success of the community.
Triandis, Harry C. Individualism & Collectivism. Westview Press, 1995.
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