Cultural Identity - Essay Example

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The cultural identity of a person is defined as the identity which distinguishes that person as belonging to a certain group, as expressed by patterns of behavior, language, action, manner of dressing, beliefs, norms, standards, and a particular world view as influenced by a…
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Full Cultural Identity (Inter-cultural Communications) 25 February (estimated word count = 715) The cultural identity of a person is defined as the identity which distinguishes that person as belonging to a certain group, as expressed by patterns of behavior, language, action, manner of dressing, beliefs, norms, standards, and a particular world view as influenced by a sense of belonging and adherence to the said cultural group, be it a nationality or ethnicity. An examination and knowledge of the cultural identity of the person helps to make other people understand that person better, helps to prevent prejudice and bias which can lead to the usual discrimination and labeling, which in turn can cause social exclusion from a certain group. It creates a certain stereotype that is more often not well justified or has no basis at all.
My cultural identity is shaped and influenced by an ancient cultural Chinese tradition of filial obedience based on the teachings of Confucius, a feeling of belonging and affiliation with the entire Chinese nation, including the overseas Chinese in many other countries, and it is because of the Chinese civilization being the oldest continuously existing civilization in the world today, with its unique language (the most difficult to learn and master) and system of its writing (based on characters), and pride in resurgent China after two centuries of being under Western colonial powers. There is equality among sexual genders although under the present regime, families prefer baby boys to baby girls because of its one-child per family policy to help contain its ever-increasing large population. Although the Chinese people is composed of many ethnic groups, there is only one national language, which is Mandarin, and despite its huge geographic size, China officially has only one time zone (it covers five time zones) for easier governance and administration. A Chinese person is able to connect and feel an affinity with another Chinese anywhere in the world due to this single language for communication.
I have come over to the United States of America as an international student, and one of my subjects in school is inter-cultural communications. This is the first time I experienced the concept of white privilege, in which people of the white race feel a sense of entitlement to all the good things in life, and taking these things for granted as something that is due to them (Martin 55) in a daily pattern of dominance, subordination, and privilege. It is unspoken type of privileged class, with white males looking down on the females (regardless of skin color) as sexual objects, made of weaker stuff. Most white males have a feeling of superiority that is embedded in their psyche as an invisible system, as they had been brought up inherently that way (McIntosh 31) and expect to be treated that way too while in a state of denial it exists.
My being a young female (only age 20) and an ethnic Chinese makes the white males in my circle of friends and acquaintances to not take me seriously at times, and dismissive of my ideas, thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. I ascribe this attitude to me as a sign of gender or sexual discrimination; I am being treated as the odd person out, similar to what the black women felt themselves, as something queer that needs to be treated differently (Nero 75) that is a fusion of the identities of race, gender, and sexual orientation. It is a latest form of latent discrimination that is often invisible but still felt by the person subjected to it. In other words, I have been placed at a disadvantage, which is often not very obvious or overt.
I can challenge this inequity in gender discrimination by asserting my personal rights as a member of the female gender, which forms half of all humanity. One way to change these unequal practices is to question why these patterns of behavior still persist today so those who commit discrimination are put on the spot and to let people know to accept my ethnic identity as it is (Tanno 39), because that is essentially me and something I am proud of. Further, I will point out that people in America are all created equal regardless of ethnic background, gender, social or economic class, and age (Leonard 230) as America is a free multi-ethnic society.
Works Cited
Leonard, M. F. “Struggling for identity: Multiethnic and biracial individuals in America.” Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity and communication. 4th ed. Eds. Alberto Gonzales, Martha Houston, and Victoria Chen. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury, 2004. 228-239. Print.
Martin, J. N. “Understanding whiteness in the United States.” Intercultural communication: A reader. Eds. Larry A. Samovar and Richard E. Porter. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1997. 54-63. Print.
McIntosh, Peggy. “White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack.” Independent School 49.2 (Winter 1990): 31-36. Print.
Nero, C. I. “Black queer identity, imaginative rationality, and the language of home.” Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity and communication. 4th ed. Eds. Alberto Gonzales, Martha Houston, and Victoria Chen. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury, 2004. 74-79. Print.
Tanno, D. V. “Names, narratives and the evolution of ethnic identity.” Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity and communication. 4th ed. Eds. Alberto Gonzales, Martha Houston, and Victoria Chen. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury, 2004. 38-41. Print. Read More
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