Heterogeneous cultural groups have evolved into distinct racial groups that individuals misrecognize as natural instead of a social construction. Historically, people did not primarily identify according to race, but rather ethnic group, language, and kinship. Ethnicity is the identification with an ethnic group based on language, religion, historical experience, geographic isolation, kinship or race. Race is phenotypically dissimilar groups in some sort of long-term unequal power and/or economic relationship where the dominant group justifies its position through some kind of legitimating ideology. Although, race has no biological reality, it is culturally real and operates as a principal identity at local and national levels. The United States pushes ideology of the “melting pot,” and the mixture of many different cultures and backgrounds into one nation-state. Whiteness includes a set of cultural practices that are typically unmarked and considered normative. Nation is a synonym for ethnic group therefore designated by a single culture, white culture. The understanding I have of my Guajarati ethnic identity has been highly influenced by the collection of images that have been projected onto me through my experiences of racial identity within dominant white culture of the nation, the United States. The issue lies within the cognitive gap, where white culture, or American culture is understood as normative, and these individuals hold the social, political, and economic privilege to be influential in regards to racial issues, but fail to approach them in a holistic manner that requires a person of white decent to understand something they cannot experience.
Culture includes the full range of shared and learned behaviors, value...
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... racial background to stereotypical understandings of my identity. Students and people continuously seem like they understand exactly who I am and where I come from. They feel so confident in their understanding of my identity that they will slip up and mention it. I have come to the realization through my classes and speaking with professors that have caused me to honor and understand my ethnic identity for more than what I understood it to be. I no longer look at people from the same racial group as me as if they were weird, but out of respect, and understanding of rich culture. Although, I have not experienced a sense of belonging in everyday life, I doubt this would be possible because of the dominant white culture; I will always experience a sense of otherness in everyday life. Even if I were to go to India, I would be understood as an American without a doubt.
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