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Four Resources for Exploring Culture

February 29, 2024

Culture is described in the dictionary as “the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group.”

Here are a few elements that make up my culture. 

  • I am a white, middle-class, heterosexual woman who is married and lives in a predominantly white community. 
  • I come from a European heritage, primarily from Germany, Denmark, and some other countries thrown in for a bit of spice. 
  • I grew up in a rural Minnesota farming community where everyone was related to everyone else. 
  • I speak English, I am Christian, and I have a Master’s degree in Education. 
  • Our family has traditions, such as gatherings on Christmas and Easter, where we share foods from our European heritage. 

What are Cultural Factors? 

Cultural factors pertain to a group’s beliefs, values, and practices. The factors can encompass language, religion, customs, and traditions. These elements are passed down from generation to generation and contribute to defining a society. (

I have described some factors that comprise my culture, gender, language, sexual identity, customs, traditions, and religion.

In May 2020, the murder of George Floyd occurred in Minneapolis, Minnesota—my home state—the state of Minnesota Nice. Minnesotans are white Scandinavian folks that eat lefsa and bring hotdishes to potlucks at the church. The event did not fit my perceived image of Minnesota culture. There was something I needed to explore and get curious about that was not within my worldview.

I started exploring through reading, listening, and conversing with others with a similar identity. This type of group is called an affinity group. An affinity group is formed with people of similar races, shared values, common interests, or identities. The group gathers to find connection, support, and inspiration. The affinity group I joined was to learn more about the perspectives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

Over the last two years, we have read numerous books, listened to podcasts, and watched documentaries to better understand the perspectives and life experiences of BIPOC folk. I have learned so much, and the best part is the conversations. I have confronted my biases, stereotypes, and assumptions made about BIPOC and folks of different cultures than mine. 

I talk about my journey to help you on your journey. Here are a few questions to reflect upon as we move into the next month,

  1. What are the factors that make up your culture?
  2. What assumptions do you hold about people different than me? If you want to explore your implicit biases, here is a link to the Harvard Project Implicit:
  3. What are you curious about?
  4. What do you feel uncomfortable about?
  5. What kind of world would you like to live in? What would be different?

I have several resources that you can check out to help you along your journey.

Resources for Adults: 

One of the key principles of trauma-informed practices is to help schools and organizations address the cultural stereotypes and biases that we hold so that we can move into the power of connection and be responsive to the needs of our students and clients. When we create space for deep learning and reflection, the work of moving past cultural stereotypes and biases can begin.

Wildewood Learning partners with schools, organizations, leaders, and individuals to help professionals integrate trauma-sensitive strategies and resiliency skills to create an environment where everyone can thrive.