Test your knowledge of American values!

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Test your knowledge of American values!

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1. It is your first day at a new job and the president of your company introduces himself as Joe.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Informality
  • Directness
Incorrect.Correct! Americans tend to be informal. People are less likely to use titles and often refer to people by their first names. While some might perceive this as disrespectful, it is not generally intended to be. The informality is heavily influenced by Americans’ value of equality. The way Americans dress and greet others is generally more informal than other countries. By offering his first name, the president of the company is acting informally with his employees.
2. Aisha comes from a family that owns a small restaurant in their town. Members of her family have run the restaurant for a few generations. All of her neighbors expect that she will begin running it when she gets out of school, but she has always wanted to be an actress. Her parents recognize her talent and help her pursue her goals wholeheartedly.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Nationalism
  • Individualism
Incorrect.Correct! American individualistic culture allows and encourages people to create their own lifestyles that they hope will lead to happiness and accomplishments. Stories of success from people who forged their own path are celebrated: Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, and Oprah Winfrey, to name a few. Americans take pride in being individual thinkers and feel less obligation to conform to societal norms and expectations. By pursuing her dream, Aisha is expressing her individualism.
3. A student disagrees with her professor about a point he makes during a lecture. The student argues her points with him in front of the entire class. Instead of being irritated, the professor encourages her to speak her mind and even seems delighted by their debate.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Meritocracy
  • Directness
Incorrect.Correct! Americans often value direct dialogue, feedback, and authenticity over concerns of relationship hierarchy. Americans prefer a straightforward and direct approach to communication and this exchange demonstrates an appreciation for directness.
4. You arrive at an interview 20 minutes late due to a traffic jam. Nevertheless, you are a strong candidate and have all the skills to meet the job requirement with many years of experience. But you are still very concerned you won’t get the job due to your late arrival.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Effective Use of Time
  • Informality
Incorrect.Correct! Americans, in relation to other cultures, are obsessed with time. Time is closely controlled and measured and should be “planned” and “used wisely.” Being late for a meeting or interview is viewed as disrespectful. As someone interviewing for a job, if you were to arrive late without letting the interviewer know, you would have good reason to worry about your prospects. This scenario displays the emphasis Americans place on the importance of time and using it effectively.
5. Janet loves to shop and spends a lot of time at stores. Soon, her house is too full to hold all her purchases, so she rents a storage unit to store all of the belongings she’s purchased and accumulated over the years.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Consumerism
  • Innovation
Incorrect.Correct! Americans love to own things. They value material wealth and sometimes equate better quality of life with having more material possessions. One sign of how much “stuff” people are buying and holding on to is the rapid proliferation of self-storage facilities throughout the country. Janet’s actions are very common and reflect the emphasis Americans place on consumerism.
6. For decades people shopped and acquired goods by going to stores and buying items off the shelf. Then, in the late 1990s, an American company started selling books online. It soon expanded its model and began to sell other products online and now has sales numbers in the billions of dollars. This company’s model has changed the face of retail dramatically.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Innovation
  • Individualism
Incorrect.Correct! American culture is known for its disruptive innovation in industries, from electronic commerce and cable television, to the technology sector. The American culture fosters entrepreneurship and risk-taking, embracing change. Americans’ positive association with change and progress exemplifies a “future orientation,” looking ahead for better things to come. Changing the face of traditional retail is considered a valuable innovation. This method of shopping has been adopted by many people throughout the United States and the world.
7. Jorge’s parents immigrate to the United States, where they raise him and his two siblings. As they grow up, Jorge’s siblings graduate high school and immediately begin working. They both choose work over college in order to help support the family. On the other hand, Jorge desires an education. He pushes himself throughout high school, and eventually lands a scholarship to attend college. He becomes the first member of his family to attend and graduate from a university.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Meritocracy
  • Equality
Incorrect.Correct! Inherent within the American Dream is an affirmation of meritocracy, which allows for upward socioeconomic mobility based on one’s efforts, accomplishments, and talents. Jorge’s trajectory shows the increased mobility that people in the United States value, as his prospects for employment will likely be broadened by his education and lack of debt.
8. Natasha moves to the United States in her early twenties and later becomes a U.S. citizen. Years later, she gets elected to political office where she proudly serves her community.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Effective Use of Time
  • Equality
Incorrect.Correct! Equality is the belief that all humans are created equal and are equal in value. Americans cherish the value of equality and pride themselves on being an egalitarian society, even if in reality it is not always the case. The equality value means regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation, a person will have the same opportunities as others to have a fair life. This scenario shows a woman and immigrant voted into public office, which emphasizes the American value of equality.
9. Sam’s parents are getting older and need more and more support. But Sam just got an amazing job offer on the other side of the country. He decides to accept the position to further his career, despite their protests.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Independence
  • Directness
Incorrect.Correct! Americans tend to value independence and self-determination more than group harmony. Americans place importance on the role of the individual in shaping his or her own identity and destiny through choices, abilities, and efforts. Sam’s actions emphasize this notion of independence.
10. You are going out to dinner with a bunch of friends. Some want to go the local café and others to a new restaurant that just opened. To make the final decision, the group decides to take a vote. The majority want to go to the new restaurant, so that is where everyone eats.
Which American value does this scenario reflect?
  • Independence
  • Democracy
Incorrect.Correct! The United States enjoys a democratic form of government. The ideals of democracy can also extend to the workplace or to gatherings of friends; when a group cannot decide what to do, someone could say, “Let’s take a vote. Majority wins.” This scenario emphasizes the value Americans place upon democracy, even in their everyday activities.
CONTINUE
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Perfect score! You know your American values!

For more information on American values, review section 02 – Culture: Understanding Your Own Culture.

You know your American values pretty well! Good work!

For more information on American values, review section 02 – Culture: Understanding Your Own Culture.

Not bad, but there is always room to learn more.

For more information on American values, review section 02 – Culture: Understanding Your Own Culture.

Hmmm, better brush up on your American values.

For more information on American values, review section 02 – Culture: Understanding Your Own Culture.

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