On September 24, 2009 our International Public Relations class had the pleasure of bringing in Dr. Sun-A Lee to speak about being a South Korean living in America. Dr. Lee spoke about diversity in the world, different cultures, ethnocentrism, racism, stereotypes, and prejudices. The lecture was very informative but also very humorous. Dr. Lee was by far the most entertaining professor I have had the opportunity to listen to. Her jokes were witty and light-hearted.
It was such a great experience to learn so much from Dr. Lee. She really pointed out some interesting facts that I would like to share.
For instance, did you know that immigration in the United States during the 1900’s consisted of 85% Europeans, 1% Asian, 1% Latin American, and 13% other? Well neither did I until Dr. Lee taught us Thursday. In 2004 however the numbers were quite different with 54% of immigrants being from Latin America, 25% were from Asia, 14% Europe, and 7% other.
Dr. Lee gave some compelling stats about global diversity. She informed us that there are 6.8 billion people in the world. Of those 6.8 billion people, only 5% are from North America. The rest are made up of 60.4% Asians, 14.5% Africans, 10.9% Europeans, 8% South American, and 0.5% Oceanians. We also learned that a little bit more than half of the world is made up of women (51%) and less than half men (49%). Seventy percent of the world are non-caucasian and 20% of the world are illiterate. Only 1% of the world has a college education which is extremely hard for me to grasp while even less then 1% own computers. The most depressing part of the lecture was learning that 50% of the world’s population suffer from malnutrition.
After talking a little bit more about the different numbers and statistics Dr. Lee turned the lecture over to how we view each others culture and what it means to be ethnocentric, racist, and prejudice. She made some very valid points about ethnocentrism and how we are all guilty of the act. We can be ethnocentric and not even realize it because it is so common. For example, scowling at what someone else chooses to eat is being ethnocentric.
The class enjoyed discussing the differences in cultures across the world with Dr. Lee as well as the different cultures in America. It was neat to hear what others thought about each other and the predispositions everyone held of one another’s culture.
The lecture presented by Dr. Lee was insightful, informative, and fun. Her humor kept everyone alert and participating during the various discussions. I left class with a better knowledge of diversity in our world and in a better mood.