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Understanding cultural and ethnic identity of United States - Essay Example

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Culture is people's way of life. It denotes what a people value and abides to as normal. It is that complex whole of a people's collective experience in life. It includes religion, political, economical, ethics, social and aesthetic. …
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Understanding cultural and ethnic identity of United States
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Download file to see previous pages Culture is people's way of life. It denotes what a people value and abides to as normal. It is that complex whole of a people's collective experience in life. It includes religion, political, economical, ethics, social and aesthetic. 'It is the sentiments of belonging or connection to ones larger culture as in case with U.S minority ethnic groups mixing their ethnic oriented values with some of the larger US cultural values' (p94). A people's culture can have strong or weak cultural salience.Cultural identity is something larger than ethnic identity; it relates the culture of one group in relation to the culture of another group especially when one group is dominant. Strong cultural salience reflects weak cultural identity and the opposite applies.Ting-Toomey defines ethnicity as an inheritance where members of a particular group perceive each other as emotionally bounded by a common set of traditional, worldviews, history, and heritage. (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2005).It is difficulty to trace ones ethnic origin especially where one is from parents of multiple ethnic backgrounds. This can go back to great grandparents who had mixed ethnic heritage. Group membership among communities defines social identity along the ethnic cultural boundaries( Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2005).The issue of ethnic and cultural identity has been a dominant and salient issue of many minority ethnic groups for along time...
This dictated the way and how far they could practice their ethnicity and culture. Their cultures and ethnicity became threaten by this dominant culture and therefore minority community became more ethnic and cultural aware of their origin as people '...from somewhere... ' (p94)
In order to understand the significance of an individual's ethnicity, it is imperative to understand the ethnic value content and ethnic salience of that person's ethnic identity salience in particular. A closer look at different ethnic backgrounds of American people, we can identify a European or a Latin, Asian and Native American by looking at the salient aspect of individualism and collectiveness. A European will tend to exhibit individualist tendencies whereas Asian, Latino and Native American will have in-group orientation thus collectiveness. Strange enough African -American will tend to blend both collectivism and individualism for the purpose of survival and adaptation.
(Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2005).
The adaptability process of minority groups in America can be analyzed along a number of factors on the ground. First the social economic situations of the host culture: America is mythically known as 'land of great opportunities'. Therefore, immigrants were welcomed by the host culture, as there were a lot to share since the economy was doing well. This could not be the case where the host culture is experiencing economical hardship. The host would become hostile to the immigrant and this means very difficult for the newcomers to settle and adapt to new cultural environment ( Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2005).
In addition, consciously or unconsciously, the host culture may have a preconceived definition of the immigrant as part of their bigger human family or aliens or visitors. This ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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