Essay on Culture Is A Difficult Concept

Essay on Culture Is A Difficult Concept

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Culture is a difficult concept to put into words. “Traditionally anthropologists have used the term culture to refer to a way of life - traditions and customs - transmitted through learning” (Kottak, et al. 2008: p.11). Children inherit their culture, as well as social norms and ethics, through a process called enculturation. Enculturation, in essence, determines who a person will become, because culture defines who a person is. More specifically, “Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs arts, morals, laws, customs, and any other capabilities or habits acquired by man as a member of society” (Taylor, 1971/1951: p. 1). In modern society, our traditions and customs come from a variety of different sources. Television, radio, print media, and interpersonal interaction all collectively teach a person how society expects them to behave; however, the world if full of different people who all have inherently distinct cultures. These distinct differences in culture force people to find a way to deal with their differences in a way that is beneficial to a diverse population; America has a highly diverse population, so naturally it has always had difficulty finding a strategy to successfully manage differences.
The first approach to mediate cultural differences among a diverse population, such as America, is colorblindness. Colorblindness, at its core, is an approach where people are not categorized by the color of their skin. This approach attempts to eliminate racism within a population, because if we eliminate race, we can all assimilate into one all encompassing culture. However, rather than eliminating prejudice among races, and bringing them together, colorblindness strips people of their unique culture. In a ...


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...odern day American society through the use of affirmative action, designed to create equal opportunity for success across all cultures. The progress was slow but sure. These movements intend to fight systematic oppression, and create world where all cultures can succeed, because success can be shared among one large diverse population. He concludes “A polycultural humanism, for this tradition is a 'practical index ' that sets in motion the processes that might in time produce a humanity that is indeed in some way equal,” meaning if we view the world in this manner, focusing on the commonalities, and accepting the power that difference provides while embracing our common histories, we can foster a community that is not only stronger but entirely equal. I believe that this quote alone exemplifies why the polyculturalism approach is best for managing American diversity.

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